Computer Science Department
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University


A Programmable Router Architecture Supporting
Control Plane Extensibility

Jun Gao, Peter Steenkiste, Eduardo Takahashi, Allan Fisher

March 2000

This report is an expanded version of "A Programmable Router Architecture Supporting Control Plane Extensibility," IEEE Communications Magazine, (38)3:152-59, March 2000.

Keywords: Programmable networks, active networks, control plane extensilibity, mobile code

The Internet is evolving from an infrastructure that provides basic communication services into a more sophisticated infrastructure that supports a wide range of electronic services such as virtual reality games and rich multimedia retrieval services. However, this evolution is happening only slowly, in part because the communication infrastructure is too rigid. In this report, we present a programmable router architecture, in which the control plane functionality of the router can be extended dynamically through the use of delegates. Delegates can control the behavior of the router through a well defined router control interface, allowing service providers and third-party software vendors to implement customized traffic control policies or protocols. We describe Darwin, a system that implements such an architecture. We emphasize the runtime environment the system provides for delegate execution and the programming interface the system exports to support delegates. We demonstrate the advantages of using this system by presenting several delegate examples.

22 pages

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