Self-addressing for Autonomous Networking Systems

Self-addressing for Autonomous Networking Systems

Ricardo de O. Schmidt (Informatics Center, Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil), Reinaldo Gomes (Informatics Center, Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil), Djamel Sadok (Informatics Center, Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil), Judith Kelner (Informatics Center, Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil) and Martin Johnsson (Ericsson Research Labs, Sweden)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-611-4.ch007
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Autoconfiguration is an important functionality pursued by research in the contexts of dynamic ad hoc and next generation of networks. Autoconfiguration solutions span across all architectural layers and range from network configuration to applications, and also implement cross-layer concepts. In networking, the addressing system plays a fundamental role as long as hosts must be uniquely identified. A proper identification is the base for other network operations, such as routing and security issues. Due to its importance, addressing is a challenging problem in dynamic and heterogeneous networks, where it becomes more complex and critical. This chapter presents a review and considerations for addressing autoconfiguration, focusing on the addressing procedure. Several self-addressing solutions for autonomous networks are surveyed, covering a wide range of possible methodologies. These solutions are also categorized according to the methodology they implement, their statefulness, and the way they deal with addresses duplication and/or conflicts. Special considerations regarding conformity to IPv6 are also presented.
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The idea of autonomous computer systems relies heavily on the concept of autoconfiguration in computer networks. The automation in the process of communication establishment is one of the most important topics for the Next Generation of Networks (NGN). Autoconfiguration mechanisms for dynamic networks may vary from self-addressing procedures to network layer routing self-stabilization, like those proposed in Forde, Doyle & O’Mahony (2005). The addressing system may be seen as one of the main challenges in this process. Automatic distribution and management of addresses is critical to an autonomous communication system, since addressing is one of the fundamental keys to ensure the correct networking operation. In addition, this challenge increases when considering mobile nodes, intermittent connections and policy-based networks.

In future, considering the Ubiquitous Computing concepts, nodes will be able to connect and disconnect from a network, independently of its technologies or network’s topology, and without any manual intervention, e.g. from a network administrator or final user. By using a robust mechanism for automatic bootstrapping a node will be able to configure itself, through possibly contacting another existing node and getting connected to an existing network, or creating a new network. In all suggested autoconfiguration approaches, addressing is seen as an important first milestone.

Several parameters must be considered in the context of a successful address configuration strategy. Applicability scenarios may vary from military operations, purely composed by ad-hoc networks, to complex ubiquitous commercial solutions (e.g., telecommunication industry), where many distinct networks can cooperate, interconnecting users and providing them with the required services at any time and irrespective of their location. Further definitions on scenarios of similar future networking are given in the websites of the projects 4WARD (4WARD, 2010), Ambient Networks (Ambient Networks, 2010), Autonomic Network Architecture (ANA, 2010), Designing Advanced network Interfaces for the Delivery and Administration of Location independent, Optimized personal Services (DAIDALOS, 2010) and European Network of Excellence for the Management of Internet Technologies and Complex Services (EMANICS, 2010).

This chapter is organized as follows. A short background of autoconfiguration is presented in the next section. Then, the parameters and considerations regarding the implementation of autoconfiguration solutions are described, and also the proposed taxonomy for classification of self-addressing approaches is presented. Next, the performance metrics to be considered when designing a self-addressing solution for a specific networking scenario, and/or evaluating a self-addressing approach, are described. Several solutions of self-addressing are surveyed, covering a wide range of methodologies already proposed as solution for this problem. In addition, special emphasis is given to both proposals that modify the current Internet protocol stack and to special considerations for IPv6. Finally, future research directions are drawn, based on the current research projects on self-addressing and autoconfiguration, and final considerations are presented concerning the problem statement and the already proposed solutions for self-addressing.


Network technologies have been converging to attend the requirements of Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing. These concepts bring new challenges to existing networking architectures such as the need for the management of a very dynamic and heterogeneous network. Due to its complex nature, such management is a cumbersome task for system administrators. Auto-managed technologies are a welcome new capability that creates a degree of ambient intelligence, where a network and its elements are mostly able to configure themselves.

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