is this Project about
Active Network refers
to a set of concepts which aim to make wide area systems more flexible. The original
Active Network proposal (Tennenhouse) envisaged achieving the flexibility by embedding
programs in packets. The proposal has now led to the emergence of a world-wide community
working on a much broader range of technologies which are still loosely described as
"Active Networks". This community is characterised by the fact that all members
are explicitly considering/requiring "in service change" of software.
The technologies under consideration include;
There are close parallels with the older programmable network proposals (e.g. OpenSIG - Columbia and Cambridge Universities)
In all of the above approaches customisation is envisaged to be performed by small programs created/injected by clients (users, domain management or programs acting on their behalf) and distributed to "active nodes" of the network (not all nodes need to be "active"). Functionality can be distributed in advance or on demand, using either "inband" or "outband" mechanisms.
The benefits claimed for the Active Network ideas include easy upgrade of router capabilities, particularly multicast, better support for mobility, rapid introduction of new services, QoS support, flexible means of partitioning, flexible charging mechanisms and improved management abilities.
The Active Network concept will affect resources, which are not currently regarded as configurable. The consequences of these ideas are therefore potentially extremely significant, especially when considering the network services provided to the customers.
Some of the ideas seem to be very practical and will be likely to have implementations in a relatively short term (e.g. improvement of the proxy and firewall efficiency), and appear to be supported by some equipment vendors. Other ideas are more speculative in nature (client code injected into the network in a IP-packet).
ObjectivesThe main objectives of this Study are to:
The project presented a paper at IWAN'99, The proceedings is available as Springer Verlag Lecture Notres in Computer Science, no. 1653
The Project also proposed a follow-on activity - the CASPIAN project.