Grand Challenges in Advanced Networking Research

Many current network research areas are addressing complex problems that could be termed “Grand Challenges.” Addressing these Grand Challenges will be essential to ensure that the communications services and infrastructure required for the 21st century is developed and implemented. The majority of iCAIR's research projects are related to investing Grand Challenges issues. Several of these Grand Challenges are noted here.

One major challenge is scaling the Internet from service that support one billion individuals, the approximate current number, to services that can support an anticipated three billion additional individuals, and many more soon afterward. Basic Internet technologies, such as its core protocols, have proven to be the most scaleable in the history of communications. However, continuing to progress forward will require much additional innovation.

Another Grand Challenge is meeting the need to improve the current Internet -- to create a “better Internet,” for example, by removing limitations, adding capabilities, and increasing its security and reliability. Another major challenge is migrating data services from primary those supported primarily by Layer 3 infrastructure to multi-layer, hybrid services.

Increasingly important are topics related to empowering edge services, applications and processes to directly interact with core network resources, including capabilities for dynamic reconfiguration. This capability is related to research projects that are creating new architecture and infrastructure designs for dynamically configurable networks, which are programmable at all levels. Recently, a book has been published on these topics. (Ref: Grid Networks: Enabling Grids With Advanced Communication Technology, Eds, F. Travostino, J. Mambretti, G. Karmous-Edwards, Wiley 2006).

Research projects addressing these areas are creating a fundamentally new architecture will allow replacing traditional network infrastructure with a new communication services foundation – a highly distributed facility that can support multiple networks with different characteristics each supporting many highly differentiated services.

Last Updated: 11 May 2009