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Making the Internet a friendlier place for business

  • 12 December, 2003 09:29

<p>Right now the Internet experience for business can be like paying for a telephone connection and having to build your own phone. Groundbreaking research led by Associate Professor Doan Hoang of the University of Technology, Sydney, focusing on service provider and customer connections to the Web, will help to change that scenario.</p>
<p>Supported by Nortel Networks and the Australian Research Council (ARC), Professor Hoang's Advanced Research in Networking Group in the Faculty of Information Technology is developing service architecture at the network edge that promises to vastly improve quality of service.</p>
<p>At the heart of the developments will be a new generation of programmable routers - the devices that control network flow. Nortel recently contributed advanced network equipment to the value of $350,000 to push forward the research.</p>
<p>"It's no surprise that the Internet has so far failed to deliver on the promise to revolutionise business," Professor Hoang said. "At its core the World Wide Web functions quite well for connectivity, but to move forward it must provide a global infrastructure for services at the Internet Service Provider (ISP) level.</p>
<p>"Users want services that speak to their specific needs, not a mere connection. Service providers want to introduce their revenue generating services on an on-demand basis without having to build up costly physical network infrastructure. They want to provide services to their customers tomorrow rather than in six months or a year in the future.</p>
<p>"Currently the Internet can only provide a best-effort service without guarantee of timeliness or even delivery. To become a necessary infrastructure for business it must be able to provide differentiated services with guaranteed quality of service."</p>
<p>Professor Hoang said architecture utilising smart routers will allow service providers to create an environment tailored to their needs, overlaid on the existing core infrastructure. They will be able to install software and deploy a service "in next to no time" - without having to call in a team of network engineers.</p>
<p>"Successful outcomes will open the floodgates, allowing the development and deployment of applications such as high quality video conferences, live sport broadcasts, remote medical services, network games, real-time online education and multimedia distributions," he said.</p>
<p>"The intelligent programmable router will be the gateway between the Web and a company's system, one that will be able, for example, to effectively shut off the unwanted and damaging stream of 'spam' e-mail."</p>
<p>A team of UTS and Nortel researchers has already developed a prototype of a programmable platform on a commercial Web switch that is capable of content filtering and processing. It has also demonstrated several applications as part of an active networks program funded by the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) - the US agency that created the Internet.</p>
<p>In addition to the collaboration with Nortel the UTS work has attracted continuing support from the Australian Research Council. A new Discovery grant, providing more than $257,000 over three years, will begin next year.</p>

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