Two Hotnets papers

Hotnets is a yearly SIGCOMM workshop that focuses on new and innovative research ideas that could be start new research directions.

During Hotnets’20, we present two papers that propose new ideas for two of the key Internet protocols: BGP and TCP.

The first paper is entitled xBGP: When You Can’t Wait for the IETF and Vendors. It was written by Thomas Wirtgen, Quentin De Coninck, Randy Bush, Laurent Vanbever and Olivier Bonaventure. Since the early days of BGP, network operators have proposed changes and improvements to the protocol and its implementation. This has resulted in many discussions within the IETF and among network vendors to identify the extensions that need to be implemented and standardized. In this paper, we propose a very different approach. Since BGP implementations will evolve, we consider each BGP implementation as a kind of micro-kernel that exposes a vendor-neutral API which can be used by network operators to extend the protocol and develop protocol extensions. We implement this new idea on two different BGP implementations. To enable network operators to develop a single extension that runs on any implementation, we embed an eBPF virtual machine inside each BGP implementation. This virtual machine executes the protocol extensions that we call plugins. We use plugins to implement four very different BGP extensions.

The second paper is entitled TCPLS: Closely Integrating TCP and TLS. It was written by Florentin Rochet, Emery Assogba and Olivier Bonaventure. During the last years, the IETF has devoted a lot of effort to standardize QUIC: a new transport protocol that combines the main functions of the TLS and the transport layer (reliability, congestion control, …) but runs above UDP so that it can be implemented inside userspace libraries. Despite the growing interest in QUIC, TCP remains the most popular Internet transport protocol. In this paper, we should that by combining TCP and TLS together, it is possible to design and implement a transport protocol that has much better properties than TCP alone, but still benefits from TCP’s advantages compared to QUIC. We implement a TCPLS prototype and use it to demonstrate the benefits that TCPLS could bring to current and future Internet applications.

These two articles are part of a broader effort that aims developing a new methodology to design and implement Internet protocols. See for additional information and pointers to our current prototypes.