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IETF Improving Technical Security Open Internet Standards Technology

Applied Networking Research Workshop – Paper Submission Deadline: 3 April

We’re excited to share news of the second Applied Networking Research Workshop (ANRW2017), which will take place in Prague, Czech Republic, on July 15. This one-day workshop will be co-sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the Internet Society and the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF). The Call for Papers is open now, with a deadline of 3 April.

This academic workshop will provide a forum for researchers, vendors, network operators and the Internet standards community to present and discuss emerging results in applied networking research. Accepted papers will be published in the ACM Digital Library.

ANRW2017 particularly encourages the submission of results that could form the basis for future engineering work in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), that could change operational Internet practices, that can help better specify Internet protocols, or that could influence further research and experimentation in the IRTF.

If you have some relevant work and would like to join us in Prague for the workshop and potentially stay for the IETF 99 meeting that takes place in the following week, please see the full Call for Papers, which includes detailed paper submission and formatting instructions.

I hope to see you in Prague for what promises to be a very interesting workshop and a good warm-up for the IETF and IRTF meetings to follow.

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IETF Improving Technical Security Open Internet Standards Technology

Applied Networking Research Prize: Winners Announced, Nominations for 2017 Open

As we rapidly approach the last Internet Engineering Task Force meeting for the year, we’re pleased to report that the final winners of the Applied Networking Research Prize (ANRP) for 2016 have been announced.

The ANRP awards for IETF 97 go to:

For the 2016 award period of the ANRP, 53 eligible nominations were received. Each submission was reviewed by several members of the selection committee according to a diverse set of criteria, including scientific excellence and substance, timeliness, relevance, and potential impact on the Internet. Based on this review, six submissions are awarded an Applied Networking Research Prize in 2016.

Olivier and Benjamin will present their work at the IRTF Open Meeting during IETF 97 in Seoul, Republic of Korea. Remote participation details will be available in due course.

The nomination window for ANRP 2017 is now open and you can submit nominations for the 2017 award period of the Applied Networking Research Prize until November 6, 2016. More information about the ANRP is available including full details of the nomination process.

Please nominate (or self-nominate) and help to support great networking research in getting the recognition it deserves at the IETF in Chicago, Prague or Singapore in 2017!

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IETF Open Internet Standards Technology

A Newcomer's Experience at IETF 92

IETF 92 was a unique experience compared to the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and USENIX conferences I regularly attend. Naturally, IETF is more focused on concrete solutions and detailed specifications for working systems, as opposed to conceptual research. This practical focus appealed to my interest in “systems building” research.

By attending working and research group sessions closely related to my research–in particular, SFC, NFVRG, and SDNRG–I gained a better understanding of: (1) what problems are currently in need of solutions, (2) what problems will need to be solved in the near future, and (3) what constraints shape the space of possible solutions. For example, the SFC session had a presentation on dealing with legacy network functions, which is a problem I have attempted to address in some of my past research. This presentation affirmed the relevancy of this problem. Moreover, discussions during this session made me realize that the solution I had originally proposed–re-purposing some field in the Ethernet or IP header to serve as a tag–is not well suited for an actual deployment. It seems that making it easier to retrofit legacy functions with support for new SFC standards–e.g., using program analysis techniques–may be a more viable approach.

In the NFVRG session, there were several presentations on open source virtual network function management and orchestration (MANO) frameworks. These frameworks address some of the practical issues I have encountered in my research–e.g., high speed forwarding of packets to network function virtual machines. I plan to use some of these frameworks to conduct more realistic evaluations of the solutions/systems I have developed.

One of my favorite sessions was the plenary presentation on security in the Internet-of-Things. There has been little discussion on this topic at the networking conferences I regularly attend, so this presentation provided a great introduction to this emerging area.

In summary, attending IETF has given me new research problems to think about, and helped me identify better ways to evaluate my research. It’s also improved my teaching: I am now better equipped to teach students about Internet standards and the Internet-of-Things.

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IETF Technology

First ANRP Award of 2015 Goes to Aaron Gember-Jacobson for Innovative Network Function Control Plane

The Applied Networking Research Prize (ANRP) selection committee completed its work at the end of last year and it gives me great pleasure to announce the first prize winner for 2015 is Aaron Gember-Jacobson. Aaron and his co-authors won the award for designing and evaluating a Network Functions Virtualisation control plane. You can read the full paper at http://agember.com/docs/gember-jacobson2014opennf.pdf and read more about OpenNF at http://opennf.cs.wisc.edu.

When network functions like routing and firewalling are virtualised and distributed, new challenges arise. Aaron’s work is defining a way to coordinate all these virtualised elements so that operators can provision and manage services efficiently.

Aaron has been invited to present his findings to the Internet Research Task Force open meeting during IETF 92 in Dallas, Texas, USA. Remote participation details and the exact timing of Aaron’s presentation will be available at https://www.ietf.org/meeting/92/index.html in due course.

For the 2015 award period of the ANRP, 33 eligible nominations were received. Each submission was reviewed by 3-5 members of the selection committee according to a diverse set of criteria, including scientific excellence and substance, timeliness, relevance, and potential impact on the Internet. Based on this review, five submissions will be awarded prizes in 2015.

The call for nominations for the 2016 awards will open later this year. Read more about the ANRP at http://isoc.org/anrp.

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IETF Open Internet Standards Technology

Enhancing Video Over Mobile – Predicting the Future is Key

Trying to conduct a videoconference over a cellular network in a moving car “wasn’t working very well” for Keith Winstein, so he started trying to find a solution to the problem. The result was a new transport protocol called “Sprout” and the paper he and his co-authors wrote earned Winstein the second Applied Networking Research Prize for 2014.

Winstein won the 2014 ANRP for designing a transport protocol for interactive applications that desire high throughput and low delay. In their paper, “Stochastic Forecasts Achieve High Throughput and Low Delay over Cellular Networks” (Proc. 10th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation (NSDI), Lombard, IL, USA, April 2013.), Keith and his co-authors Anirudh Sivaraman and Hari Balakrishnan describe Sprout, a transport protocol that works well over cellular wireless networks, where link speeds change dramatically with time, and current protocols build up multi-second queues in network gateways.

Motivated by his sub-par videoconferencing experience, Keith and his team developed a novel end-to-end transport protocol that tries to maximise throughput whilst simultaneously bounding the risk of delay by modelling the variation in link speed based on observations of packet arrival times. The model is then used to predict the future link speed.

The results are compelling: experiments conducted on traces from four commercial cellular networks show many-fold reductions in delay, and increases in throughput, over Skype, Facetime, and Hangout, as well as over Cubic, Compound TCP, Vegas, and LEDBAT. Although Sprout is an end-to-end scheme, in this setting it matched or exceeded the performance of Cubic-over-CoDel, which requires modifications to network infrastructure to be deployed.

Keith received his award at the recent Internet Research Task Force open meeting at IETF 89 in London, where he also presented his results. Keith’s slides are available and audio from the presentation is also available (starting at 01:22:35).

The next ANRP nomination period for prizes to be awarded in 2015 will start later this year – stay tuned for more information on the nomination process.

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Improving Technical Security Open Internet Standards Technology

Get lucky: The Virtues of Breaking Internet Security

The first Applied Networking Research Prize for 2014 was awarded to Kenny Paterson for finding and documenting new attacks against key Internet security protocols. In their paper, “Lucky Thirteen: Breaking the TLS and DTLS Record Protocols” (Proc. IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, pp. 526-540, San Francisco, CA, USA, May 2013.), Kenny and his co-author Nadhem Al Fardan demonstrate practical attacks against Transport Layer Security, a fundamental security building block for much of today’s online activity.

Kenny’s presentation to the Internet Research Task Force open meeting in London gave a great insight into the techniques he and others have developed to leverage seemingly tiny differences in the timing of protocol operations to reveal plaintext and thereby break the security of the transaction. There is now a real need for constant-time, constant-memory access implementations to be confident that such potential implementation weaknesses have been completely eliminated (and see [https://www.imperialviolet.org/2013/02/04/luckythirteen.html] for a discussion of how hard that is to achieve in practice).

Kenny noted the importance of the virtuous cycle that sees widely used security protocols gaining a high profile in the research community, leading to more analysis and more development work to patch weaknesses as they are discovered, and ultimately stronger security protocols for everyone. Responsible disclosure practices and close collaboration with the IETF were key aspects in this instance.

Kenny’s slides are available and audio from the presentation is also available starting at 00:18:25.