Quasar is an Italian Research Project in the area of Heterogeneous Network Architecture and Services. Quasar is funded by the Italian Ministry for Education, University and Research (www.miur.it) in the framework of the PRIN Program.
The Project Quasar rationale is quite simple: networking technologies and telecommunication services are experiencing fast and significant developments, both methodological and applicative. In the field of networking technologies, for instance, both backbone networks and access networks are subject to important innovations. As for the former, the advent of optical technologies not only provides unimaginable transport capacities in the backbone, but also opens up the opportunity for optical packet switching, with enormous gains in terms of reliability and efficiency. As for access networks, on the other hand, the successful deployment of xDSL technologies, the ever-increasing popularity of 802.11x technologies, and the availability of 3G infrastructures based on UMTS, are creating new interoperability problems but also new opportunities.
Similar considerations hold for the technologies used in network terminals. In parallel with the natural progress of PC-class systems, we have faced the evolution in terms of processing power of Personal Digital Assistant systems (PDAs) on one side, and the production of new mobile phonesets with moderate processing capabilities, equipped with open operating systems and capable of running novel applications and services, on the other side.
The availability of such a great variety of technologies seems to speed up the diffusion of innovative telematic applications and services, such as those requiring multimedia content delivery. And, in fact, this is happening for a large number of innovative services in technically homogeneous systems and networks, as, for instance, the video-phone service and the video-delivery service over UMTS networks or IP Telephony services over wired IP networks.
Unfortunately, in more complex but realistic scenarios, such as those of large-scale hybrid wired and wireless networks, the heterogeneity in terms of networking technologies and of computing systems makes it hard, if not impossible, both QoS management and the interoperability of applications, unless complex interworking solutions are devised.
Therefore, the main focus of this proposal will be the study and the development of technologies and methodologies for the provision of communication services with controllable quality in highly heterogeneous distributed systems, in terms of available networking infrastructures, user terminal characteristics and typology of services and applications.
In particular, the project activity will aim at pursuing the following macro objectives:
- definition and evaluation of mechanisms and policies to support Quality of Service in heterogeneous networks, both wireline and wireless;
- integration of those mechanisms in a global architecture that provides advanced communication services to applications, and definition of network-application interactions for the actual provisioning of communication services defined by Service Level Agreements;
- definition and implementation of mechanisms for traffic monitoring, to be used for the validation and the enforcement of the negotiated policies;
- definition of advanced communication services with guaranteed and controllable quality that can be provided in heterogeneous networking scenarios to multimedia applications running on multi-homed terminals.
While devising proper solutions for the above objectives, particular attention will be devoted to the scalability of solutions and to manageability of infrastructures, in order to allow dynamic control capabilities in scenarios that are extremely dynamic, due to both users mobility and system status variations.