Inserting Layer-5 to Provide Applications with Richer Functions through Common API

Hiroki WATANABE  Takao KONDO  Kunitake KANEKO  Fumio TERAOKA  

Publication
IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Communications   Vol.E101-B   No.9   pp.1967-1981
Publication Date: 2018/09/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1345
DOI: 10.1587/transcom.2017EBP3390
Type of Manuscript: PAPER
Category: Network
Keyword: 
Layer-5,  network architecture,  multipath,  middlebox,  

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Summary: 
Recently, application demands placed on the network have become more multifaceted. Highly functional application-to-application communication services such as bandwidth aggregation, fault tolerant communication, and delay/disruption tolerant networking (DTN) were developed independently in the network layer, the transport layer, and the application layer. As a result, protocol layering has become complicated. This paper proposes to insert Layer-5 (L5) between the application layer and the transport layer to separate communication policies and communication mechanisms to make protocol layering clearer. The transport layer (L4) provides end-to-end communication mechanisms such as reliable byte stream while L5 realizes communication policies such as bandwidth aggregation by combining the communication mechanisms in L4. This paper proposes five types of L5-paths as communication policies: (1) the L5 bundled path for bandwidth aggregation or fault tolerant communication, (2) the L5 spatially-spliced path for communication with middleboxes, (3) the L5 temporally-spliced path for DTN, (4) the L5 spliced-bundled path, and (5) the L5 bundled over spatially-spliced path. An application can select and use an appropriate L5-path depending on the network circumstances through a common API. A prototype of L5 is implemented in the Linux user space as a library to make deployment and maintenance easier. An evaluation shows that establishment time of L5-paths is short enough and performance of L5-paths is comparable or superior to existing technologies.