From active networks to cognitive networks
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From Active Networks to Cognitive Networks. Manolis Sifalakis [email protected] University of Lancaster. Overview. The Vision: Cognitive Networks (a long term aim) Motivation: Case scenario(s) Structure Fundamental requirements The role of Active Networks

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From Active Networks to Cognitive Networks

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From active networks to cognitive networks

From Active Networks to Cognitive Networks

Manolis Sifalakis

[email protected]

University of Lancaster



  • The Vision: Cognitive Networks (a long term aim)

    • Motivation: Case scenario(s)

    • Structure

    • Fundamental requirements

    • The role of Active Networks

  • A Service Deployment Toolkit (a short term objective)

    • Key principals

    • Toolkit functionality

    • The benefits

    • Example deployment

Dahstuhl Seminar 04411

Part a the vision cognitive networks

Part A – The Vision: Cognitive Networks

  • A new generation of service networks

    • Properties:

      • Cognitive actions based on Reasoning

      • Autonomic operation

      • Adaptive functionality

      • Self Manageability

    • Aims:

      • Resilient servicing

      • Service Dependability … (even when hardware fails)

Dahstuhl Seminar 04411

Case scenario weekend dos attack

Case Scenario: Weekend DoS Attack

  • Problem Description

    • Scientists run lengthy experiments using network resources throughout the weekend

    • Administrators not working in weekends

    • DoS attack launched on Fri night

    • No support & service disruption for 3 (at least) days

  • Observation

    • The vast majority of attacks today are recipe style and follow specific patterns

  • Cognitive Solution

    • “Train” a classification system to detect the attack patterns

    • Find a suitable software to respond to the attack detection

    • Use active networks to dynamically deploy/upgrade the “defence system” whenever/wherever needed

Dahstuhl Seminar 04411

Case scenario roaming multimedia user

Case Scenario: Roaming Multimedia User

  • Problem Description

    • Mobile user attends a confidential videoconference

    • At every visited network needs sustainable media quality and security services

    • Some or all of these services, cannot be available in every network and on a per user basis

  • Cognitive solution

    • Provide a set of basic active service components for proxy, encryption, anonymizing, MPLS, and transcoding

    • Develop an “intelligent” personalised agent

      • to “sense”/investigate the visited environment and

      • combine and deploy the modules in correct order and correct locations

    • Use active networks to deploy them dynamically wherever/whenever required

Dahstuhl Seminar 04411

Case scenario sensor network deployment

Case Scenario: Sensor Network Deployment

  • Problem Description

    • Randomly laid semi-mobile devices

    • Collection of environmental data in a natural catastrophes sensitive environment

    • Need for auto-configuration, integration in the mesh, reliable, secure & safe exchange of data

    • Varying environmental conditions impact the network performance

    • Different network setups perform better in different environments => need for adaptive solutions

  • Cognitive solution

    • Use some AI-based context aware elements to detect & assess the environment changes & select suitable protocol suites and network configurations

    • Design a p2p system for the synchronisation and coupling of the network devices at the service level

    • Use active networks for the on-line and dynamic configuration and update of the coupling elements and control service modules

Dahstuhl Seminar 04411

The key technologies

The Key Technologies

  • A combination of

    • A.I. strategies

    • Policy enforcement systems

    • (Mobile) agent technologies

    • Active & Programmable networks

    • P2P systems

    • Semantic based services/languages/tools

    • Context aware services

    • … etc

Dahstuhl Seminar 04411

How a layered structure

How ? … A Layered Structure

  • Cognition is twofold:

    • User Servicing

    • Network Management

  • Active Networks:

    • Collection of information

    • Action implementation

Dahstuhl Seminar 04411

Fundamental requirement

Fundamental Requirement

  • Key Requirement:

    • Decoupling of service management from infrastructure management

    • More persistent service provisioning even when the underlying infrastructure fails

  • Active Networks seem to be the definite enabling technology to satisfy the requirement

    • On-line adaptability

    • Programmability

    • Dynamic service (de/re-)composition

Dahstuhl Seminar 04411

Problems in active network research

Problems in Active Network Research

  • Multiple diverse platforms – Non interoperable!

  • Many specialised architectures – Almost none generic enough!(maybe FAIN in the future ?)

  • Several implementations – Most still in the lab!

  • Several applications – Few that necessitate the use of active/programmable technologies

  • Lack of frameworks for large scale and multi-platform deployment

  • Security issues and complexity in management and administration

  • Funding seems to be gradually finishing…!!!

Dahstuhl Seminar 04411

Part b a toolkit for generic service deployment

Part B – A Toolkit for Generic Service Deployment

  • A collection of low-level & lightweight tools (active services).

  • Main Objectives:

    • Assist the large-scale deployment and interoperability of active resources (services, platforms, EEs, etc).

    • Enable decoupling and abstraction of active service deployment from infrastructure management

  • Key Functionalities:

    • Determine the interfacing between active resources (platforms, protocols, service components)

    • Discover and recruit active nodes

    • Deploy active service components

    • Assist the organisation and management of composite services provisioning

Dahstuhl Seminar 04411

Active node discovery recruitment

Active Node Discovery & Recruitment

  • Organisation of global active resources in 2-level overlay topology for control path comm. (discovery, allocation, coordination)

    • Intradomain (intra-AS)

    • Interdomain (Inter-AS)

  • Full functionality at each level independently

  • Designated Active Nodes are the connecting links between the 2-levels

  • Interdomain level interconnectivity follows the AS connectivity pattern

  • Distributed network pool model: Active nodes that cannot serve more requests, leave the overlay

  • Issues

    • Dynamic, automatic & optimal formation of the intradomain overlay

    • Automatic (s)election of the designated node

    • Interdomain connectivity when non active network enabled AS is interjected

    • Handling of overlay partitioning

Dahstuhl Seminar 04411

An active proxy well why not many of them

An Active Proxy … well, why not many of them

  • An active service per se

  • Role:

    • abstract the service rollout process,

    • decouple the service “acquisition” from the service deployment

    • Available to users through intradomain multicast/anycast

  • Benefits:

    • Single point of trust and control

    • Offload the end node from the service rollout instrumentation

Dahstuhl Seminar 04411

Unified active service deployment

Unified Active Service Deployment

  • Need for a generic and abstract service deployment interface

    • Allocate resources

    • (Un-)Install Services

    • (Re-)Configure service provisioning

    • (De-)Activate servicing

  • Must abstract any platform-specific service loading mechanism

  • ASDP protocol. Ongoing work on a newer version.

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Organisation management of service composites

Organisation & Management of Service Composites

  • Cooperating service components organise in p2p overlays for signalling and control path management

  • P2P systems use application level (i.e. e2e) performance inefficient solutions

  • A dynamic kernel level tunnelling mechanism

    • Performance efficient, dynamic, low level p2p overlay construction

    • Application (service) specific routing at kernel level

    • Unified API shared by all active applications

Dahstuhl Seminar 04411

Active service mobility framework

Active Service Mobility Framework

  • Mobilisation/migration of running active service components between active nodes

  • Benefits:

    • Resists infrastructure failures,

    • Enhances user mobility

    • Adapts to network weather changes

  • Based on the programmable switch approach

  • Combines strengths and overcomes limitations of active capsule and mobile agent technologies:

    • Low level forwarding path programmability

    • Out-of-band deployment and management

  • Also considered in FAIN but not implemented(?)

Dahstuhl Seminar 04411

How they all fit together in one ee

How they all fit together… in one EE

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An example dos detection interception service

An Example: DoS Detection/Interception Service

  • Toolkit functionality:

    • Distributed, (semi-)mobile agent service

      • Migrating sensor elements (Sx) use the service mobility framework

      • Agent modules (C, Sx, F) form a p2p group (control path coordination) using the dynamic kernel tunnelling service

    • Active resource availability checked thru the global network overlay of active resources

    • Requests for service deployment, serviced by active proxies

    • Installation and activation of service components uses the unified active service deployment interface

  • Cognitive logic

    • Resource mgmt level (Active Proxies: what/where to deploy w.r.t. service specification)

    • Service level (recognition and classification of traffic patterns and counteraction)

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Related work

Related Work

  • Mainly from ETH ... But elsewhere as well

    • Chameleon

    • Netkit

    • FAIN

    • Alpine

    • Etc …

  • They focus mainly at the interfacing and deploying servicing elements (within a platform)

  • We try to address problems at a lower level: Interfacing and cooperation between platforms

  • Both complementary as well as necessary

Dahstuhl Seminar 04411



  • The road to CognitiveNet-Shire passes from the ActiveNet-Land 

  • It’s a long way and there is still lots of space for research

    • Large scale deployment of active nodes (coordination & organisation)

    • Platform interoperability

    • Security

    • Dynamic (on-line) service composition

    • … etc

  • Lots of applications:

    • User mobility,

    • Ad-hoc & sensor networks,

    • Network/service self-management, auto-configuration, survivability

    • …etc

  • Need more …imagination, vision & funding !!! 

Dahstuhl Seminar 04411

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