Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


POINT Report Summary

Project ID: 643990
Funded under: H2020-EU.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - POINT (POINT: iP Over IcN - the betTer ip)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2016-06-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The Internet has grown well beyond what it was originally designed for and all the main functions of societies, companies and private people have become increasing dependent on it. To facilitate the new applications, including but not limited to IPTV, on a global scale, new technologies are needed in order to cope with the challenges of capacity, robustness and security.

Information-Centric Networking (ICN) is seen as one possible solution to many of the problems of the current Internet. Earlier work, including that performed in the FP7 PURSUIT project, strongly indicates that IP-based applications can run ‘better’ on an IP-over-ICN network architecture than on existing legacy IP-centric networks. Despite the evidence, this statement can only be treated as an assumption (or hypothesis), when considering a fully developed business value chain. Consequently, a clear need exists for further innovation-driven research and proof-of-concept work to prove our assumption in more commercially realistic settings.

The main goal of the POINT project is to develop technology, innovations, and business value chains for commercially viable IP-over-ICN networking. This is necessary in order to encourage and facilitate stakeholders transitioning to the IP-over-ICN networking paradigm. Without such proof, any such transition will be hindered (or even prevented), as purely academic work is not convincing enough for the stakeholders to invest in this kind of emerging networking technology.

The POINT project is innovating on IP-over-ICN solutions, building on prior academic work and producing the following objectives: 1) the definition of key performance indicators (KPIs) which define what is meant with ‘better’ in our approach, 2) the definition of a network architecture and a platform based on it, 3) design and implementation of a set of abstraction mappings to enable standard Internet applications to run on our ICN-based platform, 4) design and implementation of a set of resource coordination mechanisms, 5) creation of a POINT prototype platform which will be tested against the key performance indicators in both testbed and emulation environments as well as 6) in an operational trial, 7) evaluation of the commercial viability of an IP-over-ICN alternative to IP networks, and 8) establishing POINT as a key driver in the wider ICN community.

Over its three-year duration, the project will progress its key technical contributions from Technology Readiness Level 2 (“technology concept formulated”) to Technology Readiness Level 6 (“technology demonstrated in relevant environment; industrially relevant environment in the case of key enabling technologies”) or even 7 (“system prototype demonstration in operational environment”).

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The nature of the POINT project is iterative: We will specify, design, implement and validate our platform several times during the project, feeding the results of WP4 “Validation” and WP5 “Trials” back to WP2 “Architectural Specification” and WP3 “Development”.

During the project, we will specify, design, implement and validate 3 generations of the POINT platform in 3 cycles (0 through 2):
0. In Cycle 0, we produced a proof-of-concept prototype of the platform already by the end of month 8 of the project. This schedule was feasible because we were building on the results of the EU FP7 PURSUIT project.
1. In Cycle 1, we produced a fully functional platform, augmented with resource coordination mechanisms and the abstractions needed to run existing applications unmodified on the POINT platform. This prototype will be tested extensively (in WP4) in the lab and in testbeds and the results will be fed back into WP2 and WP3.
2. In Cycle 2, during the second half of the project, we will produce an improved platform ready for field trials. This version will be put to real use in a reasonably large-scale trial in an operational network. Another round of evaluation will be performed based on the results, leading to suggestions for further improvements, but with further implementation being beyond the scope of this project.

After the 3 development cycles, we will finalise the platform, complete the documentation, analyse the validation results, and create final versions of the key deliverables.

The work is divided into 6 work packages (WPs):

WP1 Management, including coordination, day-to-day management, technical management and IPR management. The task of technical management is to keep the horizontal WPs aligned so that the result of the project will be one integrated platform. This work has been active from the beginning of the project and will remain so.

WP2 Architectural Specification, where scenarios (including video streaming), KPIs and system architecture were defined for Cycle 0 and revised for Cycle 1.

WP3 Development, where the main results have been the code bases and documentation of the Cycle-0 and Cycle-1 platforms, which have been published as open source.

WP4 Validation, where ground has been laid for evaluation and validation work in the project and the first validation and evaluation of cycle-0 and cycle-1 prototypes was conducted and system level evaluation activities especially for video streaming applications were started.

WP5 Trials, where the work during the first half of the project has focused on the plans for the trials to be conducted during the second half of the project. This includes: clarification of the proposed test cases to be validated in the trials, thorough description of the planned topology environments, and proposed QoE methodologies to be used for eventually collecting results.

WP6 Impact Creation. The project has an active website and social network presence. POINT's results were published in 7 peer-reviewed publications and demonstrated in three trade shows (MWC Barcelona 2016, MWC Shanghai, and 5G World London) and various other presentations. Liaisons were formed with other research projects and partners. Industrial partners have also actively participated in standardization bodies such as IETF and IRTF.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

POINT sets out to address the larger challenge defined in the workprogramme, namely that “The Future Internet topics will therefore... support the advent of more efficient computational and data management models responding to the challenges posed by increased device / object connectivity and data-intensive applications” by specifically addressing the problem of improving network costs for operators as well as Quality of Experience for end users by realizing a novel IP and HTTP level routing solution over programmable SDN networks, realizing previously unseen performance benefits, such as multicast capabilities in HTTP scenarios as well as latency reductions through fast service-level rerouting of HTTP requests.

For this, POINT utilises the emerging paradigm of ICN to interpret IP and HTTP level protocols as an exchange of information, allowing for bringing content and services closer to the end user as well as utilize the inherent multicast capabilities of the underlying ICN solution. Our work in POINT builds on and further extends successful ICN results, evolved into a gateway-based SDN-enabled system architecture that can also be extended to multi-domain/operator scenarios, while supporting any legacy IP/HTTP-based applications. Applying ICN concepts allows for unifying resource management so that joint optimization of bandwidth, storage and computation resources will allow for achieving ambitious efficiency and cost goals in order to prove our underlying hypothesis than an ICN-based IP network performs better than a traditional IP routed one.

For this, we have initially defined concrete Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that allow for judging the impact and efficacy of our architecture as well as the specific platform we will ultimately realise. These KPIs are tuned towards our strong belief that the outcome of our work will provide significant operational savings as well as improved Quality-of-Experience, while any outcome it will provide concrete insights as to a possible migration strategy for operators and vendors alike as well as its possible barriers and obstacles.

To accelerate impact creation, POINT has started to demonstrate its architectural framework and its first proof-of-concept at scale prototype in a set of high profile demos (specifically at international tradeshows, most notably at MWC 2016 in Barcelona), while preparing for its Primetel trial during 2017 and already gearing up for an additional trial at Bristol-is-Open in Fall 2016. By enabling the necessary technology and tools, the project is already able to demonstrate the opportunity for operators to achieve improved utilization of resources, while creating new avenues for revenues for operators through utilizing NFV-based computing resources as service surrogate endpoints or providing improved IP services to its customers.

POINT has already progressed in its effort to push crucial parts of its system architecture and its underlying technology solutions into various standardization bodies. Its demonstration at the MWC 2016 was part of a three demo series within its approved ETSI MEC (Mobile Edge Computing) Proof-of-Concept, followed by the BIO (Bristol-is-Open) trial in the fall 2016 and the public demonstration at the ETSI MEC World Congress in September 2016. Through its partner IDC, the POINT solution is currently also considered for demonstration at the ITU-T IMT2020 ICN Study Group, while two progress presentations have been made to the IRTF ICNRG for an increased dialogue with the ICN community. Furthermore, POINT members are contributing to the discussions in the ICNRG to progress the mainstream work on CCN towards crucial concepts underlying the POINT ICN system, such as stateless forwarding, algorithmically linked namespaces, the role of routing and others. Newly developed POINT use cases for multi-domain scenarios have been integrated into the IETF BIER WG use case document.

POINT solutions will ultimately lower the socio-economic barriers to Internet access by improving the overall total cost of ownership (ToC) for operators. The subsequent decrease in ToC through the POINT solutions will enable more people to use the Internet at affordable cost levels, while driving a more virtuous cycle of investment in network infrastructure facilitated through the expected cost savings. End users will experience improved quality of experience (QoE) with the possibility to experience near-5G services with ultra-low latency (as showcased in the upcoming BIO trial) without the need for a fully fledged 5G rollout.

It is not just in EU countries that the positive impact of POINT might be felt. Through the generality of the solution, its basis of well-accepted and emerging international standards (such as SDN and NFV) and the position of key project members in international standards organisations, any impact of POINT solutions will be global, affecting any operator adopting POINT solutions and any users connected to such evolved networks. Partners such as IDC are utilizing their international teams and presence to push such international impact forward, most notably through the establishment of additional internal R&D and marketing efforts that is aimed at accelerating impact creation.

As for impacting individual, particular commercial, project partners, a driving factor is the synergy between the EU POINT and RIFE projects. The latter specifically poses a significant opportunity for IDC to develop a comprehensive service routing and surrogacy portfolio, based on a common architecture for IP-over-ICN solutions in POINT and RIFE. Specifically, the POINT contribution of developing an ultra-flexible, highly responsive and multicast-enabled (even for HTTP-based services) routing substrate enables IDC to develop and already market a solution portfolio across two projects rather than being limited to just POINT. With this, IDC has been positioning the developments in both projects as a consistent portfolio towards larger 5G efforts, as exemplified by the recently granted FLAME project (due to start in January 2017), which will use an internally developed joined IDC prototype as the basis, while directly utilizing the underlying technologies embodied in both POINT and RIFE efforts.

Furthermore, the flexible service routing solutions developed as an outcome of POINT and RIFE are currently investigated as a 5G use case in 5GPPP efforts such as CONFIG with the ultimate goal of pushing key aspects of service routing and surrogacy into relevant standards to enable future 5G low latency and high throughput services. This synergy-driven impact extends onto other commercial partners in POINT, such as through evolving the IPTV delivery platform of ICOM and integrating the POINT SDN support into the evolving ICOM SDN portfolio, while providing trial-related insights to Primetel for gaining insights into potential operational savings and customer experience improvements through novel solutions such as those developed in POINT. Already, the development of new POINT-based use cases and trial solutions has provided great impact to the possible direction of future services pursued by CTVC, such as in the education or community area.

Through the development of the new Immersive Education Scenario and the new trial which will be associated with it, CTVC is exploring the process of producing HARRI (branching narrative interactive) 360 degree video resources and applications. This will allow them to test the feasibility and cost of creating such content and applications as well as learning about the processes and costs involved hoping that they will be able to put a service to market after the completion of the field trials. They are doing the work alongside POINT and bringing the prototype into the project as Background, but POINT is the enabler which will use the trials as a way to test the prototype with real users before launching it on the TrueTube website.

Overall, we conclude that POINT is already advancing the state-of-the-art by having developed a first version of flexible Routing-as-a-Service solution over SDN that properly highlights and showcases the power of SDN for providing purely software-driven network innovations. POINT has progressed strongly in pushing these innovations into trade shows, standards and new funded efforts beyond POINT with the intention to increase impact even further. The industrial partners have started their own POINT-based development projects aiming at commercial technologies, products and services.

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