Boston University Faculty, RINA Pioneers Attend Annual Workshop in Barcelona

in Computer Science and Information Technology, MET News
December 19th, 2018

MET’s John Day explains RINA principles at the workshop in Barcelona.

BU MET’s Department of Computer Science visited Barcelona, Spain, earlier this year to join the 5th Annual RINA Workshop where they explored the latest in internet architecture and explained their work as principal investigators in a European Commission-funded effort to implement RINA, or Recursive InterNetwork Architecture.

Dr. Lou Chitkushev, associate dean for academic affairs, associate professor of computer science, associate director of BU’s Center for Reliable Information Systems & Cyber Security, and MET director of health informatics and health sciences, was joined by MET lecturer John Day and Jeremiah Small (MET’12), graduate of the MS in Computer Science program.

The Department of Computer Science at Boston University’s Metropolitan College (MET) was well represented at the 5thAnnual RINA Workshop held in Barcelona, Spain, this past May. Members of the MET Computer Sciencenetworking research group, Professors John Day and Lou Chitkushev, and MS in Computer Science graduate Jeremiah Small (MET’12), now of Oracle, attended the conference. They joined a number of researchers from around the world who have been exploring and implementing a new approach to internet architecture for the past ten years.

RINA, which stands for Recursive InterNetwork Architecture, is a new concept based on pioneering work by MET faculty member John Day, as proposed in his 2007 book, Patterns in Network Architecture: A Return to Fundamentals. Following the fundamental principles of networking, RINA yields a powerful architecture consisting of a single repeating layer and only two protocols: one for data transfer and one for applications. In this architecture, multihoming and mobility are inherent in the structure. The cellular industry had already determined that TCP/IP, which requires home agents, foreign agents, anchors, tunnels, and specialized protocols, could not meet 5G performance requirements, whereas RINA needs nothing additional to do so. Consequently, hand-off times are much faster and there are fewer dropped connections. Moreover, router table size can be reduced by a factor of 4–5 and bounded. A large network can be renumbered in seconds without interrupting traffic flows, even when multiple layers renumber at the same time. The RINA enables the coordination of quality of service (QoS) and congestion avoidance, avoiding the issues of congestion control thwarting QoS as in the current TCP/IP-based Internet. The structure of RINA makes it inherently more secure and the cost of security is orders-of-magnitude less than that of current approaches. Surprisingly, the structure and the properties of the architecture also make a large global address space unnecessary—yet all applications can be reached. This capability itself is a significant contribution to security as a whole, and greatly impedes the ability to mount distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

Over the past five years, a dedicated group of researchers around the world have been working on several projects to explore and implement RINA. These projects have been funded by the European Commission, and Lou Chitkushev and John Day have served as principal investigators (PIs) for the BU node of the consortiums.

The following research projects have been fully funded and successfully completed by consortiums of international research institutions:

  • IRATI (890,000€), with consortium consisting of i2cat, Nextworks, iMinds, Interoute, and BU (with PIs Lou Chitkushev and John Day), had a main goal to produce an open source RINA implementation.
  • IRINA (150,000 €), with consortium consisting of WIT-TSSG, i2cat, iMinds, and Nextworks, studied the use of RINA as the foundation of the next generation NREN and GEANT network architectures.
  • PRISTINE (3,350,000€), with consortium consisting of WIT-TSSG, Nextworks, Telephonica I+D, Thales, Nexedi, BISDN, Atos, University of Oslo, Juniper, Brno University, IMT-TSP, CREATE-NET, iMinds, UPC, and BU (with PIs Lou Chitkushev and John Day), explored the programmability aspects of RINA to implement innovative policies for congestion control, resource allocation, routing, security, and network management.
  • OCARINA, a five-year Norwegian-funded program on which BU’s John Day and Lou Chitkushev served as advisors, was sponsored to investigate congestion control, routing, and forwarding properties.
  • ARCFIRE (1,200,000€), with Ericsson, i2cat, Nextworks, Telefonica, iMinds, and BU (with PIs John Day and Lou Chitkushev), was funded to investigate large-scale running experiments of multilayer management of virtualized services over heterogeneous physical media, end-to-end provisioning, and the effects of DDoS attacks over RINA networks.

In addition, there are have been several smaller projects, such as RINAiSense (sensor networks), RINASim, and ERASER.

In order to assess the progress of RINA research, discuss findings, and present RINA fundamentals through tutorials, RINA Workshops have been held annually, starting with Barcelona (2013) and proceeding to Dublin (2014), Ghent (2015), The Hague (2016), Brno (2017), and Barcelona (2018). The next workshop will be in Paris in Feb 2019 in conjunction with ICIN ’19. https://www.icin-conference.org/

This year, the workshop in Barcelona was divided into an “Industry” day and a “Research” day. After a brief overview of current projects, the Industry day consisted of several interesting presentations on RINA implementations that covered a comprehensive range of topics, including microservices support in the network functions virtualization (NFV) data plane, prospects of global layer 2 virtual private networks (VPNs) with mobility management, distributed cloud as an incubator opportunity for RINA, mobile networks, and using RINA for large-scale decentralized applications, such as distributed ledger.

The workshop was also attended by legendary internet pioneer Louis Pouzin, the inventor of the datagram and the need for an end-to-end Transport Layer first used in the early packet communications network, CYCLADES, which provided the basis for the Internet. At the workshop, Louis Pouzin and Chantal LaBrument announced that OpenRoot would host the first RINA DIF allocator as a bridge between RINA islands.

The 5th Annual RINA Workshop in Barcelona.

Jeremiah Small (MET‘12), Louis Pouzin, Lou Chitkushev, and John Day at the 5th Annual RINA Workshop in Barcelona.

The day dedicated to research was even more interesting, starting with a presentation on what needs to be standardized, and how. John Day—who serves as the U.S. International Representative to ISO/JTC1/SC6 (Networking) and has deep experience with International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Telecommunication Union (ITU) standards processes—provided an update on the RINA reference model and error and flow control protocol (EFCP), which have been submitted to ISO and were well received.

The presentations of research results, and the vivid discussions that ensued, covered wide areas, such as WiLAN, the unification of WiFi and VLANs; RINA for the Internet of Things (IoT); vehicular networking in RINA; How Node-Named Networks Led Us to Specialized Distributed Facilities by Jairo Lopex from Japan; RINA implementation for Windows; guaranteed QoS in RINA networks; congestion management; the latest enhancements and results from RINA simulation; security problems with the IPX model and how RINA might be a solution; thoughts on VANET security in RINA; RINA-enabled applications including a multi-threaded client/server capable of parallel flow allocation; RINA/IP gateway; a port of NGINX to RINA; a port of the Dropbox SSH client to RINA to leverage directory names for decentralized scalable gaming; and a tutorial on the Rumba configurator for RINA.

Most of the presentations can be found at http://ict-arcfire.eu/index.php/2018/06/10/rina-workshop-2018-report/, while RINA publications can be found at www.pouzinsociety.net, along withvarious videos, tutorials on the nature of layers, and tutorials on naming and addressing.

Boston University students interested in joining the work on RINA should contact Professors Lou Chitkushev (ltc@bu.edu) or John Day (day@bu.edu) for more information on the ongoing research projects.

The next RINA Workshop will be in February 2019 in Paris, France.