Best practice Multipathing with MPTCP and OpenFlow(Publicatie)

Artur Barczyk is a technical lead in the US Department of Energy’s USLHCNet program at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). His team operates the transatlantic network dedicated to the data transport for the Large Hadron Collider. His interests are in the interface between networks and scientific instruments.

05 JUN 2013

Software Defined Networking

Barczyk’s research interests are in the interface between networks and scientific instruments: “Software Defined Networking (SDN) is a very promising paradigm in this area, and I am particularly interested in the application of SDN for data processing for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). One of our research projects is investigating how OpenFlow can be used to create multipath connectivity between, for example, the LHC computing centers in order to increase the throughput as well as the robustness of the data transfers between them.”

Multipathing with MPTCP and OpenFlow

In collaboration with SURFsara, Barczyk investigated how technologies such as Multipathing TCP (MPTCP) and OpenFlow can be used in order to provide better and more efficient data transport over a Wide Area Network (WAN). MPTCP means that an application's TCP socket connection is split into multiple TCP subflows, based on the configured IP interfaces of the connection-initiating host and the remote partner. Within the operating system kernel, MPTCP manages the flows on the sender’s side and is also responsible for the recombination at the destination. The MPTCP concept is transparent to both the network and the application. OpenFlow is a protocol used between a network device like a switch, and a controller code running on a server. A packet that belongs to an unknown flow is forwarded to the controller. The controller inspects the packet, decides what the appropriate action is and instructs the switch to execute this action for all packets of this particular flow. Barczyk: ”MPTCP and OpenFlow are in fact somewhat complementary, with MPTCP acting on the end hosts, while multipath implemented using OpenFlow is deployed in the network. Part of our research deals with the question of how these two approaches are made to coexist in a production network, and potentially enhance each other's benefits.”

Beneficial to just about anyone

Barczyk: ”Today, there’s an enormous interest in OpenFlow networking, with many R&E (research and education) networks having at least a testbed in deployment or planning. Should these deployments reach production level maturity, we foresee that the multipath algorithms developed in our research will be used for providing service over this infrastructure. MPTCP allows us to use multiple network paths efficiently. So OpenFlow and MPTCP could be beneficial for just about anyone.“

Collaboration with SURFsara and iCAIR

Barczyk: “As soon as we realized that we share research interests in the area of both SDN and multipath networks with SURFsara, it felt very natural to start sharing experiences and parts of our infrastructure for this purpose. The third partner in the collaboration is iCAIR in Chicago. We combined our resources to create more network paths, which was fundamental for our research. We were able to exchange ideas, technical experiences and insights from different hardware and different industry contacts. The exchange of knowledge helped us to move faster in this project.”

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Latest modifications 08 Apr 2015