Report available! Network remote powering through quasi-passive reconfigurable nodes

This project investigated the remote powering of the Internet using quasi-passive network nodes, where the power required for the providing Internet in remote network nodes without local power supply is remotely provided optically. The pump light for remote powering of network nodes is transmitted using the same data transmission fibre to reuse the existing network infrastructure. The major objectives of the project are to investigate, develop and optimize the network node and the remote power scheme, to increase the scalability, traffic handling capability and efficiency, via both theoretical study and numerical simulations.

The project was originally planned to be completed in 12 months. However, due to the interruption of COVID-19, the university campus was locked down for a prolonged period and no access to the university was allowed, This interruption resulted in delays in the project, and the project was completed at the end of May, 2021 (the research paper was published in mid December, 2021).

Although the project has been significantly affected by the COVID-19 situation, the project team managed to adjust the plan slightly to focus more on the theoretical study, modelling and analysis during this period. The main activities conducted in this project include:

The model of individual components in the node has been completed;
The signal propagation model in the network node has been built;
The theoretical model of the remote powering scheme has been established;
The remote powering scheme based network node has been analyzed theoretically and through comprehensive numerical simulations;
The complexity of the remote powering scheme based network node has been analyzed;
The impact of the opticam pump on the signal transmission in fibre has been studied;
The impact of different data modulation formats in remotely powered network node has been investigated;
The multiple optical pumps scheme has been proposed and studied to further increase the availability of power to nodes without local power supply, and two different configurations of the multiple optical pumps scheme have been analyzed and compared;
Large-scale optical networks with the proposed quasi-passive network nodes and remote powering technique have been simulated, and the statistical performance has been investigated.

The final report is available here.

Report available! Open Lawful Intercept for Asia Pacific

This project improved network operations in Asia Pacific in the area of Lawful Intercept.

OpenLI is the only open source software capable of meeting the ETSI standards for lawful interception. OpenLI has achieved broad acceptance among network operators in New Zealand but is not well known in other countries. It has benefits beyond low cost in that OpenLI is easy to deploy and maintain and is capable of high performance (i.e. multiple Gbps of concurrent interception).

This project worked with APNIC to reach out to operators in other Asia Pacific jurisdictions to understand their requirements for lawful intercept. It then provided development, training and other improvements as required to meet those requirements. It also involved the development of an engagement process to collaborate with network operators to deploy OpenLI and demonstrate that it is capable of meeting their lawful intercept requirements.

The long term aim is to move OpenLI to a sustainable model where the software is reliable and well maintained and continuously developed to meet new network and law enforcement requirements.

The final report is available here.

Report available! IPv6 deployment at enterprises

IPv6 adoption at large, brick-and-mortar enterprises has lagged. Many feel that unless this issue is addressed, the Internet as a whole will stall at an IPv6 adoption rate of about 60%. The India Internet Engineering Society (https://www.iiesoc.in/), a nonprofit based in India, would like to begin to address this issue.

There are many subsidiaries of large corporations in India. Such organizations, primarily use IPv4 addresses. For example, one of the largest mobile providers in India, whose backbone is IPv6, has had to purchase IPv4 addresses on the open market simply to support these corporations. The decision to move to IPv6 is made at the headquarters of these companies – which is often in the United States. The US federal government has recently announced a direction for IPv6-only for the US government. This makes it the right time for this project.

IIESoc proposes to work collaboratively with a nonprofit industry consortium in the United States, the Industry Network Technology Council (INTC), to address the issue of IPv6 adoption in large brick-and-mortar enterprises. INTC has done a survey of large enterprises and has found that security, application conversion and training are three of the biggest challenges enterprises have as far as IPv6 adoption. We need to find out exactly what these challenges entail. To that end, we need to have brick-and-mortar enterprises involved. This is an issue because such enterprises do not participate actively in Internet standards bodies. They do participate to some extent in network operations groups. Outreach to these organizations will be a key part of this project.

We propose three phases with their corresponding goals. (Subsequent phases may be proposed at the conclusion of phase 3).

Phase 1: IPv6 training and migration discussions for enterprises. Goal: Establish IIESoc as a leader in IPv6 space, create visibility for the project, start to create a core group of enterprises.

Phase 2: Create a consortium of academia, industry, and government. Goal: Prepare for phase 3 which will create security and application inventory.

Phase 3: Create an inventory of application and security challenges in concert with the consortium. Goal: Start to create a methodology to handle the hardest issues in IPv6 conversion.

Phase 1 is the necessary precursor and foundation for enterprises to be able to have conversations about what is to be done for IPv6 migration. If they do not receive training and have a forum for discussion of migration issues, the other phases will not be successful. In this application, we only asked for funding for Phase 1 which lasted 12 months.

The following webinars have been completed as a part of Phase 1 activity:

Introduction to IPv6: Feb 4, 2021

Lab: IPv6 basics: Feb 11, 2021

​Neighbour Discovery: March 4, 2021

Lab: Neighbor Discovery: March 18, 2021

IPv6 Address Planning: April 8, 2021

Lab: IPv6 Address Planning: April 15, 2021

IPv6 Transition Mechanisms: May 6, 2021

Lab: IPv6 Transition Mechanisms: May 13, 2021

DHCPv6: June 3, 2021

Lab: DHCPv6: June 10, 2021

IPv6 and Cloud: June 17, 2021

Lab: IPv6 and Cloud: June 24, 2021

​Introduction to IPv6 Security July 8, 2021

An addition to the project also included the travel to in-person IETF 113 by one student.

The final report is available here.

Report available! Modelling and identifying IP address space fragmentation pressure points

Despite exhaustion of the IPv4 address space commencing in 2011, the Internet has largely not transitioned to IPv6, and in fact the rate of IPv6 diffusion has recently begun to slow down (Huston, 2018).  The IPv6 transition is expected to take decades and hence problems stemming from issues the lack of scalability of IPv4 will continue to affect the Internet for many years to come.

Indeed, the number of allocated IPv4 address blocks continues to grow; this is enabled due to subdivision of existing allocations into multiple blocks, and is argued to allow un-used or under-utilised address space to be moved to other organisations with greater need.  The amount of address space which could potentially be reallocated in this way is substantial: the volume of routed IPv4 address space is considerably less than the total allocated IPv4 address space (Richter et al., 2015), suggesting that there is a considerable amount of un-used address space which could potentially be transferred to other network operators.

This typically involves partitioning existing IPv4 address blocks into smaller pieces and transferring some of those pieces to other operators.  In some cases operators re-number their networks to free up contiguous address space which is subsequently transferred; while this can result in more effective use of address space it also results in BGP routing table growth, one of the major scaling issues facing the Internet today (Gamba et al., 2017).  In other cases network operators could migrate whole networks from public to private address space and deploy NAT before transferring address space elsewhere.

Continuing the current practice of dividing address space into ever-smaller allocations while increasingly relying on NAT not only presents challenges for IPv6 diffusion efforts but will increasingly create ‘pressure points’ in economies or regions where allocations are smaller.  Further, it also increases the prevalence of layered NAT (sometimes dubbed ‘double NAT’), which can not only lead to a range of operational problems but which has security implications including the creation of attack points to be targeted by malicious parties and increasing the difficulty of identifying hosts involved in botnet activity (BITAG, 2012).  Nevertheless, there has been nothing to suggest that the practice will end in the foreseeable future.

There has been no modelling to identify economies or regions likely to be first affected by such pressure points, or for how long this practice can continue.  This project will develop a statistical model of the process, thus allowing countries at greatest risk to develop mitigation strategies, providing clarity to the Internet community, and providing stakeholders tasked with stimulating IPv6 diffusion with a better understanding of differences between different countries and economies.

The final report is available here.