The doctoral dissertations of the former Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) and Aalto University Schools of Technology (CHEM, ELEC, ENG, SCI) published in electronic format are available in the electronic publications archive of Aalto University - Aaltodoc.

A Data-Oriented Network Architecture

Teemu Koponen

Dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Science in Technology to be presented with due permission of the Faculty of Information and Natural Sciences for public examination and debate in Auditorium T1 at Helsinki University of Technology (Espoo, Finland) on the 2nd of October, 2008, at 12 noon.

Overview in PDF format (ISBN 978-951-22-9560-9)   [738 KB]
Dissertation is also available in print (ISBN 978-951-22-9559-3)


In the 25 years since becoming commercially available, the Internet has grown into a global communication infrastructure connecting a significant part of mankind and has become an important part of modern society. Its impressive growth has been fostered by innovative applications, many of which were completely unforeseen by the Internet's inventors. While fully acknowledging ingenuity and creativity of application designers, it is equally impressive how little the core architecture of the Internet has evolved during this time. However, the ever evolving applications and growing importance of the Internet have resulted in increasing discordance between the Internet's current use and its original design. In this thesis, we focus on four sources of discomfort caused by this divergence.

First, the Internet was developed around host-to-host applications, such as telnet and ftp, but the vast majority of its current usage is service access and data retrieval. Second, while the freedom to connect from any host to any other host was a major factor behind the success of the Internet, it provides little protection for connected hosts today. As a result, distributed denial of service attacks against Internet services have become a common nuisance, and are difficult to resolve within the current architecture. Third, Internet connectivity is becoming nearly ubiquitous and reaches increasingly often mobile devices. Moreover, connectivity is expected to extend its reach to even most extreme places. Hence, applications' view to network has changed radically; it's commonplace that they are offered intermittent connectivity at best and required to be smart enough to use heterogeneous network technologies. Finally, modern networks deploy so-called middleboxes both to improve performance and provide protection. However, when doing so, the middleboxes have to impose themselves between the communication end-points, which is against the design principles of the original Internet and a source of complications both for the management of networks and design of application protocols.

In this thesis, we design a clean-slate network architecture that is a better fit with the current use of the Internet. We present a name resolution system based on name-based routing. It matches with the service access and data retrieval oriented usage of the Internet, and takes the network imposed middleboxes properly into account. We then propose modest addressing-related changes to the network layer as a remedy for the denial of service attacks. Finally, we take steps towards a data-oriented communications API that provides better decoupling for applications from the network stack than the original Sockets API does. The improved decoupling both simplifies applications and allows them to be unaffected by evolving network technologies: in this architecture, coping with intermittent connectivity and heterogenous network technologies is a burden of the network stack.

This thesis consists of an overview and of the following 4 publications:

  1. Teemu Koponen, Mohit Chawla, Byung-Gon Chun, Andrey Ermolinskiy, Kye Hyun Kim, Scott Shenker, and Ion Stoica. 2007. A data-oriented (and beyond) network architecture. In: Proceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM 2007 Data Communication Festival. Kyoto, Japan. 27-31 August 2007, pages 181-192.
  2. David Andersen, Hari Balakrishnan, Nick Feamster, Teemu Koponen, Daekyeong Moon, and Scott Shenker. 2007. Holding the Internet accountable. In: Proceedings of the 6th ACM SIGCOMM Workshop on Hot Topics in Networks (HotNets-VI). Atlanta, GA, USA. 14-15 November 2007. © 2007 by authors.
  3. Teemu Koponen, Pasi Eronen, and Mikko Särelä. 2006. Resilient connections for SSH and TLS. In: Proceedings of the 2006 USENIX Annual Technical Conference (USENIX 2006). Boston, MA, USA. 30 May - 3 June 2006, pages 329-340. © 2006 by authors.
  4. Michael Demmer, Kevin Fall, Teemu Koponen, and Scott Shenker. 2007. Towards a modern communications API. In: Proceedings of the 6th ACM SIGCOMM Workshop on Hot Topics in Networks (HotNets-VI). Atlanta, GA, USA. 14-15 November 2007. © 2007 by authors.

Keywords: Internet architecture, naming, name resolution, addressing, communication abstractions

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© 2008 Helsinki University of Technology

Last update 2011-05-26