Performance and Functionality in Overlay Networks

Claudiu Danilov

As the Internet evolves towards ubiquity and commodity, the basic services it offers are not likely to change. Structural modifications required for additional functionality take a long time to happen, and even after that are often not used (e.g. IP Multicast) due to infrastructure scalability or security concerns. In this talk, we show that overlay networks offer a viable approach to extend the services and performance provided by the Internet.

Even though capacity grows exponentially over time, latency is difficult to improve. We present an overlay approach that can substantially decrease the number of delayed packets in wide area reliable communication while still maintaining the fairness guarantees for external traffic.

Network performance is often a limiting factor in expanding new services over the Internet. Although Voice over IP (VoIP) exhibits an increasing demand from users and phone carriers, it is far from reaching the quality and stability of regular telephony. Our approach uses overlay routers that understand the stringent requirements of VoIP and run specific protocols that improve both voice communication quality and network reliability.

Finally, we present a generic overlay network research platform that allows experimentation and deployment of new protocols and ideas over wide area networks, and, end with challenges that overlay network systems face in the increasingly hostile environment of the Internet.