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GARR, Network, Research

Networking & tecnologies

Evolution of the network

GARR network is always on the leading edge to enable the scientific and academic community to compete and collaborate globally. This means not only constant and rapid capacity upgrades to adapt to user needs, but also the transition to new technologies and models when existing ones have been pushed to their maximum development. This is what happened during the main evolutionary stages of the research and education network in Italy.

Today we are at one of these turning points, and a task force (ELISA Project) is at work to study the impact that new technologies will have on service delivery and on the overall architecture of the infrastructures managed by GARR and its connected organisations. The goal is to involve the entire academic and research community in a shared path that can lead to the design of the next generation of the network.

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Future Internet e SDN

GARR research on the Internet of the future is focused on projects for the creation and development of GÉANT European backbone network for interconnecting national research and education networks, co-funded by the European Commission (from GN1, completed during the 5th Framework Programme for scientific and technological R&D, to the ongoing phase 2 of GN4), FEDERICA (Federated E-infrastructure Dedicated to European Researchers Innovating in Computing network Architectures) and NOVI. The FEDERICA project, coordinated by GARR, designed and built one of the first virtualised infrastructures in the world entirely dedicated to experimental work on architectures and new Internet protocols. This allowed to experiment with innovative network protocols and services in an environment that is real, yet totally separate from the production environment, to avoid affecting the functioning and performance of the latter. In addition to the research carried out directly by GARR and other European organisations involved in the project, it was also possible to offer portions ("slices") of the virtual infrastructure to other research groups for their experiments. The experience and the results of this project were then fed into the NOVI project, in particular for its work on the cloud, and into the GÉANT project for the network aspects.

Concerning the development of SDN (Software Defined Networking), GARR participated, within the DREAMER project, in the study and testing of architectures for its implementation in production environments, with an approach based on a "hybrid" IP/SDN solution. The SDN control works in parallel to the traditional IP routing, which is retained for basic connectivity between nodes. SDN is used to control additional services such as virtual private networks. This hybrid approach turned out to be the best fit for the evolution of a provider's network. The demonstration of the effectiveness of the new operational model based on the SDN paradigm and implemented with open source software took place during the Open Networking Summit, featuring an international team of researchers from ON.Lab, CreateNET, CNIT/Università di Roma Tor Vergata, the GÉANT project and GARR.

Analysis and publications

Optical networks - Alien wavelengths

GARR has successfully tested the "alien wavelengths" technique, developed for the transport of signals on a transmission infrastructure different from the one that generated the signals and the one that receives them. The testing investigated some efficient solutions for the integration of heterogeneous transmission platforms. The goal is to strong>deliver next generation transmission services using the existing transport infrastructure and optical signal regeneration, thus enabling the evolution of the optical network infrastructure through targeted actions that can ensure the stability of the service. Another advantage of this approach is to reduce the dependence of those who manage the network from a specific technological choice or producer (vendor lock-in).

The testing was initially performed on a 345 km portion of network, free from production traffic, and subsequently on a production path of about 1200 km. This activity was carried out with GARR resources, and the results had immediate effects on the national network’s short term evolution project. The approach used and the results achieved have attracted interest internationally and there are plans for an extension of the trials at the European level, in collaboration with other national research networks.

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