Allen B. MacKenzie

FINS Framework

Flexible Internetwork Stack Framework (FINS Framework)

Project website is here. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation. PI was Allen MacKenzie; Co-PI was Luiz DaSilva. This is a collaborative process with Michael Thompson of Bucknell University. The project started September 15, 2009 and ended on July 31, 2012. NSF award data is here.

Abstract: Modern networks invalidate many of the assumptions of traditional networking. For example, mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs) invalidate the assumption that there will be stable routes in the network, throwing traditional routing techniques into disarray. Handheld computing devices further challenge assumptions about platform mobility. While the need for cross-layer design to meet these new challenges has become well known, no replacement for the traditional network stack has emerged yet. Implementing experimental cross-layer approaches on commodity hardware and software remains challenging.

In this project we are building a framework for modular, extensible, experimental, network stack implementation, called the FINS (Flexible Internetwork Stack) Framework. The framework allows users to leverage existing protocols (such as TCP and IP) where needed, providing implementations that provide more real-time control and transparency than is available in existing implementations, while allowing users to replace or modify components as desired. Thus, the FINS Framework allows researchers ready access to the network stack in a manner previously possible only in simulation or by making painstaking operating system modifications.

The FINS Framework facilitates ready implementation of new network technologies and context-aware applications thereby lowering the bar for participation in experimental networking research. The initial implementation of the framework is on handheld devices. The framework is being released via open source license, making it broadly available to the research community. A set of hands-on networking course modules utilizing the FINS Framework and handheld devices is being developed, and utilized for undergraduate research at a predominantly undergraduate institution.