Bringing high-capacity dynamic circuits to the end-user: The last-mile problem

Research and education networking in Europe is organised in a hierarchical fashion. The network connection between two end users is provided by a chain of several networks. This chain typically starts with a campus network, then may include a regional network before connecting to an NREN network. Then to the pan-European backbone GÉANT, from there to another NREN and so on back down the chain to other end user.

Emerging dynamic circuit provisioning services (e.g AutoBAHN) within R&E backbone present new opportunities for the advancement of wide-area distributed computing. However, these services have been limited in scope to the perimeter of the regional networks. Put another way, the dynamic circuit is limited to being an edge-to-edge circuit, not a true end-to-end circuit between end users.  The section between end-user and its regional network edge is usually the campus network, also known as the last mile problem. Even though an edge-to-edge high-capacity circuit is reserved, end-user may experience poor service performance due to the service degradation occurred within the last mile section.

Last mile network section

There are several ongoing projects aiming to bring  dynamic circuits until the end user such as TeraPaths (BNL) utilizes DiffServ-based QoS to protect and regulate individual flows, Lambda Station (Fermilab) enables dynamic allocation of alternate network paths for privileged traffic, Phoebus (Internet2) maximizes performance by splitting the network path into distinct segments, gTBN (UvA) selectively forwards packets according to cryptographic inserted tokens, Virtual routing and forwarding (VRF) enables multiple routing tables instances per router.

If you are interested in this topic, here you can check a comparisson table between the last mile solutions mentioned above:


Next steps are how to integrate AutoBAHN with last mile solutions to bring dynamic circuits until the end-users, so that AutoBAHN can allocate real end-to-end dynamic circuits ( and not edge-to-edge such is done now).

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