VirtualStack: Flexible Cross-layer Optimization via Network Protocol Virtualization


ACM LCN 2018


Jens Heuschkel Lin Wang Erik Fleckstein Michael Ofenloch Marcel Blöcher Jon Crowcroft Max Mühlhäuser




The world is driven by the Internet and there is no doubt about its importance in our daily life. However, the Internet has rarely been upgraded since its advent, although the ISO OSI model has already provided the required flexibility. With innovations being blocked, the Internet is suffering from a high-degree of ossification (e.g., the slow progress of IPv6 update), leading to suboptimal efficiency for emerging applications as well as enlarged maintenance cost.
In this paper, we present VirtualStack, which aims at bringing back the interchangeability of network layers. VirtualStack is based on the idea of protocol virtualization, where the most suitable protocol stack can be dynamically composed and applied on the fly according to the characteristics of both the application and the physical link. Through a comprehensive study, we show that many existing but not widely deployed protocols outperform the omnipresent TCP under various link technologies and network conditions. This provides the necessary insight for dynamic composition of the network protocol stack. We further evaluate VirtualStack under a typical Internet setting with multiple hops under different conditions. The experimental results confirm the benefits as well as the potential of VirtualStack.


 Author = {Jens Heuschkel and Lin Wang and Erik Fleckstein and Michael Ofenloch and Marcel Blöcher and Jon Crowcroft and Max Mühlhäuser},
 Booktitle = {Proceedings of the 43rd Conference on Local Computer Networks {(LCN)}},
 Doi = {10.1109/LCN.2018.8638106},
 Pages = {519--526},
 Publisher = {{IEEE}},
 Title = {VirtualStack: Flexible Cross-layer Optimization via Network Protocol Virtualization},
 Year = {2018}