Network-Wide Control and Management

Description | Publications | People | Collaborators | Funding


Today's data networks are surprisingly fragile and difficult to manage. We argue that the root of these problems lies in the complexity of the control and management planes--the software and protocols coordinating network elements--and particularly the way the decision logic and the distributed-systems issues are inexorably intertwined. We advocate a complete refactoring of the functionality and propose three key principles--network-level objectives, network-wide views, and direct control--that we believe should underlie a new architecture. Following these principles, we identify an extreme design point that we call "4D," after the architecture's four planes: decision, dissemination, discovery, and data. The 4D architecture completely separates a network's decision logic from protocols that govern the interaction among network elements. The Routing Control Platform (RCP) is one concrete realization of these ideas, with an emphasis on network-wide control of the routing in a single domain, while remaining backwards compatible with legacy routers.


4D Architecture (see also the CMU Web site)

Routing Control Platform (RCP)

Configuration in enterprise networks




The 4D project is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation as part of the NeTS program. The initial RCP work was done while Jennifer Rexford was at AT&T Labs--Research.