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Grand Challenge: Critical Networking Infrastructure in a Suitcase David Andersen

Summary: Grand Challenge: Critical Networking Infrastructure in a Suitcase
David Andersen
Carnegie Mellon University
The challenge: In an underserved rural area or in the days following a significant disaster, a team
of five people deploy and operate for at least six months replacement network infrastructure that provides
all necessary communication services to those within its coverage area. This deployment should take no
more than three days to cover a small city of 20,000 people, providing equivalent services to the telephone
network, cable network, and conventional Internet services. The deployment must be robust to challenging
environmental conditions, unreliable power and transit infrastructures, and malicious activities such as the
wide-spread looting that often occurs following significant disasters. It must support both commercial and
life-critical emergency communication. The subsequent operation and upkeep of the network must require
at most two people.
Many people have championed rapid network deployment, particularly via ad hoc wireless networks, but
few have focused on the extended problems of keeping this infrastructure running and making it highly
reliable. The research challenges involved in creating a functional, critically reliable communication system
go beyond inventing a new routing protocol or adding radios to a network. These challenges span hardware,
network architecture, and software; many would exist even if the physical infrastructure existed already. A
primary challenge for these networks is management from the physical layers up: The replacement infras-
tructure must be self-managing and self-organizing to a much larger degree than today's networks. Both
initial setup and ongoing maintenence and upgrades must be simple, fast, and safe.


Source: Andersen, Dave - School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences