Technology that translates content to the Internet protocol of the future

29 January 2012

Researchers from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) who participate in the Trilogy project have uncovered technology which allows Internet users who use the newly established IPv6 to access current Internet content available on IPv4.

The protocol used by any device to access the Internet, IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4), has a problem: global addresses have recently been exhausted faced with the enormous growth of the Internet.

The solution, according to experts, lies in IPv6, a protocol which is in the first phases of implementation and which is expected to end up replacing its predecessor. However, there is another disadvantage: they are incompatible. “Machines that only have IPv6 cannot communicate with those that only have IPv4, as seen with the majority of those currently present on the Internet, and vice versa”, explains Marcelo Bagnulo, professor of the NETCOM research group at UC3M, where they have developed a solution to the problem.

Their goal is to ensure that previous content on IPv4 may be accessible to machines which, in the future, are connected to the Internet through IPv6 addresses. To this end, these scientists have defined translators which facilitate understanding between content in both protocols through technology known as NAT64 and DNS64, which is a standard used by the main manufacturers of routers, such as Cisco or Juniper, and the main DNS vendors, such as BIND or Microsoft. “We have designed and standardized these transitionary tools which have been adopted by the industry and which are now available commercially”, explains Marcelo Bagnulo, professor of the Department of Telematic Engineering and Head of the Telefónica Internet of the Future Chair at UC3M. “It’s relatively simple to invent a new protocol, but it is extremely difficult to design one which is really deployed and used, given that standardization is an important step for the future use of technology”, he adds.


This research, accepted for its publication in the IEEE Communications journal, and which has two standard RFCs, falls within Trilogy, which has received the prize for best project in the latest Future Internet Award, awarded by the ceFIMS (Coordination of the European Future Internet forum of Member States from the European Union). This project – whose name comes from the trilogy “routing, congestion control and cost effectiveness” – has no other goal than to improve the quality of information traffic and the internal functioning of the web, which is basically characterized by the interface of the two systems. The first (routing) is useful to define the path, whilst the second (congestion control) determines the quantity and volume of data exchange. “To date – highlights professor Bagnulo – they work independently, because the mechanism which decides where the information flows doesn’t take into consideration how much goes in the same path”. This implies that, when there is congestion, new data doesn’t take this into consideration for choosing an alternative path. It’s just as if there weren’t any signs on the freeway or if people weren’t warned on the radio of delays to allow drivers to change direction (routing) to avoid traffic jams, the scientists explain.

One of the main objectives of Trilogy is to make sure that these two systems can coordinate with one another. To this end, various technologies have been proposed which control and redirect data traffic from co-managed routes (such as with peer-to-peer applications) to other less congested areas of the network. Therefore, the Multipath TCP protocol has been designed, implemented and standardized in the IETF, which allows a connection of this type to flow through multiple channels. With regard to smartphones connecting to the Internet via Wifi, communication is lost when the user leaves the area with coverage, and a new connection must be made. However, through this new MPTCP protocol, “it’s possible to pass this communication to the alternative interface, in a way which connection is preserved, as well as increasing data transfer speed”, says the expert.

Another proposed technology by these scientists is CONEX, which allows the user to be charged for the congestion volume generated, rather than for the quantity of traffic carried out. It’s like applying the price management model for plane tickets in low cost companies to Internet traffic, state the researchers. Therefore, if there are many people who wish to send data at the same time, more is paid, and vice versa. “What is happening now is that all users pay the same, so they have an indiscriminate use of the Internet, not considering the weight of the packet, which implies that the service provider should arbitrarily reject packets”, reveals professor Bagnulo.

The following entities also participate in the Trilogy project: Deutsche Telekom, NEC, Nokia, Roke Manor Research, the Athens University of Economics and Business, the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, the University College of London, the Université Catholique de Louvain, and Stanford University, under the coordination of British Telecommunications (BT). This initiative was presented to the first call for proposals from the Seventh Framework Programme from the EU, where it was approved. This concerns an integrated IP project which was financed by the European Commission.

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Speaker. Marcelo Bagnulo Braun


Source(s): madri+d, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
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