MAMI (“Measurement and Architecture for a Middleboxed Internet”) is a European Commission Horizon 2020 funded research project. Our consortium is made up of seven European universities, research laboratories, and industrial partners. We aim to rearchitect the Internet to allow explicit cooperation between endpoints and middleboxes, restoring the promise and innovation potential of the original end-to-end architecture of the Internet while enabling appropriate in-network services to ease management and scalability of ever more demanding applications.
A central tussle in today’s Internet is that between the desire for privacy, which requires strong encryption to protect, and the need to efficiently manage network traffic. Current approaches to traffic management typically require access to plaintext and application payload, which is fundamentally incompatible with the privacy goal. By replacing implicit cooperation (e.g. middleboxes which assume they have access to traffic and understand its semantics) with explicit cooperation (endpoint and application signaling to middleboxes and vice-versa), we aim to break this tussle.
MAMI has two broad goals:
- empirical research to develop what kinds of middleboxes perform what kinds of manipulations on what paths, in order to understand the present Internet: both the extent and variety of in-network services as well as the degrees of freedom for incremental deployment of new protocols; and
- development of a Middlebox Cooperation Protocol (MCP) that would enable explicit cooperation between endpoints and middleboxes, transport innovation, and ubiquitous encryption simultaneously.
MAMI will officially start in January 2016, but we’re already hard at work:
- the How Ossified is the Protocol Stack? (HOPS) proposed research group within the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF) met at IETF 92 in Prague and will meet again at IETF 93 in Yokohama; the RG provides a forum for exchanging information on measurements of middlebox impairment in the Internet and tools for researching it
- A paper on an initial proposal for the MAMI Middlebox Observatory will be presented at the IRTF/ISOC workshop on Research and Applications of Internet Measurements (RAIM).
Keep an eye on this blog for news about the project as we go forward.