Network support for multimedia applications using the Netlets architecture
Dharmalingam, Kalaiarul (2004) Network support for multimedia applications using the Netlets architecture. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.
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Multi-party multimedia networking applications such as e-commerce, distributed data analysis, Internet TV and advanced collaborative environments feature stringent end-to-end Quality of Service (QoS) requirement and require globally distributed user groups to be interconnected. The variety of delivery requirements posed by such applications are best satisfied using highly customised networking protocols. Hence, a demand for networks to migrate from the current fixed service model to a more flexible architecture that accommodates a wide variety of networking services is emerging.
New approaches are required in order to build such service oriented networks. Active networking is one such approach. Active networks treats the network as a programmable computation engine, which provides customised packet processing and forwarding operations for traffic flowing through network nodes. User applications can download new protocols into network elements at runtime, allowing rapid innovation of network services. This thesis makes the case for employing mobile agents to realise an active networking architecture, and describes such an architecture called the Netlets architecture. Netlets are autonomous, mobile components which persist and roam in the network independently, providing predefined network services.
This thesis presents the design and implementation of the Netlet node and the service deployment m echanisms that are required to distribute Netlet services in the network. Using the Netlet toolkit, variety of network services were designed to provide network support for multimedia applications in the Internet. A service was implemented to enhance the working of the RSVP protocol in order to provide robust end-to-end QoS support even when the network is only partially QoS provisioned. A scalable and reliable multicast protocol was implemented using the unicast communication model that accommodate heterogeneous receiver terminals. Another service integrates client-side server selection support into web sessions established over the Internet. A service was also developed which provides QoS signalling support to legacy applications.
It is shown that these Netlet services are of practical value using performance measurements to assess Netlet responsiveness. Netlet based solutions maybe deployed using existing technologies to provide support for a wide range of multimedia applications in the Internet. The Netlets architecture has thus been shown to allow value-added services to be added to existing networks. By optimising the Netlet architecture implementation, this may be extended to services operating on high-speed (1Gb/s and upwards) links. It thus shows promise as an architecture for building the next generation of active networking solutions.
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