An Architecture for Active Networking
Calvert, Kenneth L.
Zegura, Ellen W.
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Active networking offers a change in the usual network paradigm: from passive carrier of bits to a more general computation engine. The implementation of such a change is likely to enable radical new applications that cannot be foreseen today. Large-scale deployment, however, involves significant challenges in interoperability, security, and scalability. In this paper we define an active networking architecture in which user control the invocation of pre-defined, network-based functions through control information in packet headers. After defining our active networking architecture, we consider a problem (namely, network congestion) that may benefit in the near-term from active networking, and thus may help justify migration to this new paradigm. Given an architecture allowing applications to exercise some control over network processing, the bandwidth allocated to each application's packets can be reduced in a manner that is tailored to the application, rather than being applied generically. Our results show that the ability to gracefully adapt to congestion makes a good case for active networking.