Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


RIFE Report Summary

Project ID: 644663
Funded under: H2020-EU.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - RIFE (architectuRe for an Internet For Everybody)

Reporting period: 2015-02-01 to 2016-07-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The vision of RIFE is to address the problem of providing affordable and sustainable access to the Internet by realising an architecture for an Internet for everybody that enables access to information and services at economically sustainable price points unmatched by today’s technologies while also catering to challenges, such as intermittent connectivity, posed by the varying environmental challenges that are imposed on those who want to connect.
The RIFE project is providing innovations for an Internet for everybody, building on prior academic work and producing the following major outcomes: 1) the definition of a unifying architecture with clear interfaces provided to application developers and component manufacturers, 2) the development of novel dissemination strategies that jointly optimise available bandwidth, storage and computation resources, integrating diverse network environments into the single RIFE architecture, and 3) a set of service and applications functions that will enable the full utilisation of the RIFE architecture in real-life settings.
RIFE provides points (1) through (3) within 4) a RIFE prototype platform that is being implemented and tested against Key Performance Indicators in both testbed and emulation settings as well as 5) in an operational trial within a community network that is linked via real-life satellite connectivity.
Finally, we will 6) evaluate the commercial viability of the RIFE platform to provide the basis for a sustainable value chain, and 7) establish RIFE as a key driver in the wider community of practitioners and researchers in this space.
These outcomes are more specifically realised by the following objectives:

1. Develop the unifying RIFE architecture with a clear set of abstractions being exposed to applications: The success of the current Internet is largely based on the unifying impact that the IP- based interfaces of the TCP/IP world had on the development of suitable applications. However, these abstractions assume an always-on connectivity from clients to providers of services, an assumption that RIFE not only challenges but also removes. With that, however, our architecture requires another set of common abstractions, one that not only accommodates the services of the current Internet but also the ones that we intend to enable with the RIFE architecture, including sensor-based, delay-tolerant and localised applications. This objective defined the requirements for this unifying architecture, its interfaces towards applications as well as to its enabling networks. We have specified the crucial interfaces in an open manner, aiming for fast adoption by developers as well as the networking community.

2. Develop a set of RIFE networking technologies that provide connectivity economically cheaper than today’s solutions: A set of networking technologies is required that demonstrates the ambition that RIFE embodies in terms of lowering costs and catering to challenges such as intermittent connectivity. For this, we are moving from always-on flow-oriented models of communication in today’s Internet to those that temporally and spatially decouple the sending of information from receiving it, by utilising well-researched ICN (Information-Centric Networking) concepts. This two-pronged decoupling of the communicating entities allows for dealing with challenges presented through intermittent connectivity as well as lowering the cost of providing backhaul capacity by utilising unused capacity for background transfers of information of content, which is then delivered to users in a locally optimal manner. This objective has led to the development and specification of a set of networking technologies that suitably demonstrates the ability of RIFE to provide connectivity where otherwise impossible (through available Internet technology), while also providing the technological basis for evaluating the technical and economic feasibility of RIFE as a whole.

3. Develop the RIFE pr

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 work is progressing on schedule; all planned deliverables have been produced and the respective milestones have been met.

The initial description and development of use cases, from an end user, deployment and business perspective led to the definition of requirements for the system architecture, described in deliverable D2.1 Usage Scenarios and Requirements (submitted in August 2015). Furthermore, a first set of system level architecture interfaces has been defined, including those for network internal interfaces. These interfaces are guiding the current development work.
Furthermore, key aspects of the IP and HTTP over ICN technologies have been integrated into the system architecture, together with some integration of the DTN work. Preliminary work on developing proper practices to attain meaningful and accurate user experience metrics using active video streaming tests has been done (a corresponding paper was accepted to NOSSDAV 2016).

The development of the RIFE system started with several advanced components, especially the Blackadder implementation of a publish/subscribe system and the SCAMPI platform for delay-tolerant and opportunistic networking. These were described in deliverable D3.1 Initial Platform Design and Set of Dissemination Strategies. While the interfaces between these components and their integration are being finalised, the associated software systems have been maintained and extended to serve better the target use cases of RIFE.

To achieve maximum synergy from other related efforts, Partners working on the development of the ICN and DTN implementations have been exploring synergies with the POINT project, particularly regarding the Integration of the ICN-based HTTP and IP level routing solutions developed in POINT. The present integration focus is on the demonstration for the M18 project review as well as necessary integration tasks for the upcoming Field Trial near Barcelona.

Going beyond the work on the basic delivery platform, further developments have started on application level functions for object level caching in DTN environments as well as managed service endpoint surrogacy, as enabled by the POINT ICN based routing solution. This work is described in deliverable D3.2 Initial Set of Application Functions. Such service architecture aspects will allow for novel use cases that exploit the enabled flexible caching and service surrogacy aspects first showcased at Mobile World Congress (MWC) Shanghai, and 5G World in London.

A framework for a web-based interface has been developed to access and interact with (cached) DTN objects and the development of functions for authenticated object manipulation within the network has begun, linking closely to the concepts of application surrogates.

In particular, design and development of the fronthaul dissemination strategy and preliminary evaluations have been carried out. As part of the fronthaul dissemination strategy, work has been carried out by both UCAM and IDC to design and develop the extensible Bloom Filter (XBF)/Scalable Bit Arrays (SBA) which aims to reduce the false positive issues of traditional Bloom Filter mechanisms used for source routing in the PURSUIT ICN project and allow for scaling beyond the limitations of fixed length BF forwarding identifiers, as devised by PURSUIT.

Extensive discussions between partners were undertaken to define the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for both technical as well as socio-economical evaluations.
Use cases for backhaul dissemination strategies have also been defined for both satellite as well as TV White Space (TVWS). Currently, work is ongoing to explore these use cases further. With respect to TVWS and to understand unused spectrum usage, UCAM has been leveraging existing tools ( to map and visualise unused spectrum occupation. UCAM has also participated in the collection and analysis of extensive spectrum measurement campaigns in developing regions, as well as sup

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)

RIFE touches on a number of areas that go beyond pure networking and Internet-related aspects: given the fundamental role that the Internet plays in modern societies and economies, if successful in enabling ‘everyone, everywhere’ access its main benefits are likely to be society-wide. As a result, potential beneficiaries are numerous. These include: local and national governments, the general public, industry, academia, and third sector. The value is international in scope, as digital inclusion is desirable for all nations, developed and developing.

RIFE 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 providing economically sustainable Internet access for Everybody, in particular those who can otherwise not afford it. For this, RIFE will utilise the emerging paradigm of ICN to bring content and service closer to the end user and re-use otherwise under-used bandwidth on resource-constrained (and often expensive) backhaul links while facilitating the efficient and optimised localised dissemination of the content to end users. Our work in RIFE builds on successful ICN and DTN results by defining a unifying RIFE architecture that will support legacy IP and emerging ICN applications. Applying ICN concepts will allow for unifying resource management in a RIFE environment so that joint optimisation of bandwidth, storage and computation resources will allow for achieving our ambitious efficiency and economic sustainability goals. For this, we are providing concrete KPIs to judge the impact and efficacy of our architecture as well as the specific platform we will realise. We strongly believe that the outcome of our work will provide significant operational savings, ultimately enabling an economically viable Internet access for Everybody, while any outcome will provide concrete insights as to a possible migration strategy for operators and vendors alike as well as its possible barriers and obstacles. The RIFE results will implement our vision through well-defined KPIs and enabling platforms, allowing for informed investment decisions by key stakeholders of the Internet community to adopt our solutions for wide-scale deployment.

The project will enable new models for revenue creation for currently under-utilised infrastructure, allowing current business stakeholders to expand their revenues. The project will demonstrate an architectural framework that will allow extension of the stakeholder value chain by including more than the traditional parties (consumer and Internet Service Provider). By enabling the necessary technology and tools, the project will demonstrate the opportunity for charities and organisations to become Virtual Network Operators by buying services from wholesale operators at a lower cost for lower quality of service (example, buying the unused capacity at low cost). This provides better utilisation of the resources and new avenues for revenues for operators. This would in turn reduce operating expenditures for network operators. New access models will emerge, among them, multi-sided markets for charities and governments that could become Internet providers buying unused capacity and offering connectivity in digital divide affected areas or during particular emergency situations. RIFE will directly engage in multi-stakeholder dialogues, including regulation, around facilitating these new economic models and complementing our technological work with the necessary regulation that would allow for the new operator models to emerge. For this, RIFE will collaborate with the growing community within the IRTF GAIA RG, which includes many NGOs as well as industry stakeholders, such as BT and others, in order to r

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