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Pluginizing Internet Protocols

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Successful Internet protocols protocol have a common characteristic: they need to continuously evolve to address new use cases. Protocol designers usually consider this extensibility problem from the viewpoint of the protocol syntax. Most protocols use an extensible message format and include a negotiation scheme to select the extensions that are used for a given conversation. Unfortunately, this purely syntactical approach misses an important point: protocol implementations must evolve to support all these extensions.

In this talk, we argue to a new approach to design and implement Internet protocols that ensures that their implementations will easily evolve. We envision that future implementations of a given protocol will expose a simple API that enables to extend it using portable bytecode that we call plugins. To illustrate the feasibility of this approach, we summarise our recent efforts in pluginzing three very different Internet protocols (TCP, BGP and QUIC ) and lessons learned and open research problems. For additional information, see https://pluginized-protocols.org

Bio: Olivier Bonaventure [1] is professor at UCLouvain (Belgium) where he leads the IP Networking Lab [2]. Together with the Ph.D. students and postdocs of the lab, he has contributed to various networking protocols including BGP , LISP, Multipath TCP , IPv6 Segment Routing, and QUIC . He is active within the IETF and the lab has produced open-source implementations of important protocols including Multipath TCP , IPv6 Segment Routing, LISP , and more. He was editor in chief of SIGCOMM CCR and is the main author of the award-winning and open-source Computer Networking: Principles, Protocols and Practice e-book. He co-founded the Tessares company that pioneers the deployment of Hybrid Access Networks using Multipath TCP . Researchers from the IP Networking Lab received various awards including an INFOCOM best paper award, a SIGCOMM best paper award, an ICNP best paper award, a USENIX NSDI community award, several Applied Networking Research awards and the 2019 SIGCOMM Networking Systems Award for the development of the open-source implementation of Multipath TCP .

[1] https://perso.uclouvain.be/olivier.bonaventure

[2] https://inl.info.ucl.ac.be

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Systems Research Group Seminar series.

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