Ambient Networks

Jan. 01, 2005 to Dec. 31, 2005

European (FP6) Integrated Project


The Ambient Networks project aims at creating scalable and affordable network solutions for mobile and wireless systems beyond 3G. Ambient Networks offers a fundamentally new vision based on the dynamic composition of networks to avoid adding to the growing patchwork of extensions to existing architectures. The project investigates a number of design paradigms to support network composition, mobility, multiple radio interfaces, context awareness, etc. within a common framework of non-layered and horizontally structured mobile systems architecture that offers common control functions to a wide range of different applications and air interface technologies. The project is coupled to two other FP6 projects: End-to-End Reconfigurability research (E2R), a project dealing with reconfigurable network architecture, coordinated by Motorola, and WINNER, a project dealing with future radio interfaces, coordinated by Siemens. Fraunhofer FOKUS participates in smart media routing and ambient context management work-packages of the Ambient networks.


Challenges

Ambient Networks offers a fundamentally new vision based on the dynamic composition of networks to avoid adding to the growing patchwork of extensions to existing architectures. This will provide access to any network, including mobile personal networks, through instant establishment of inter-network agreements.
The project adopts the design paradigm of horizontally structured mobile systems that offer common control functions to a wide range of different applications and air interface technologies. Such a radical change requires the definition of new interfaces and a multitude of standards in key areas of future media- and context-aware, multi-domain mobile networks.
Ambient Networks offers a fundamentally new vision based on the dynamic composition of networks to avoid adding to the growing patchwork of extensions to existing architectures. This will provide access to any network, including mobile personal networks, through instant establishment of inter-network agreements.
The project adopts the design paradigm of horizontally structured mobile systems that offer common control functions to a wide range of different applications and air interface technologies. Such a radical change requires the definition of new interfaces and a multitude of standards in key areas of future media- and context-aware, multi-domain mobile networks.


Project Goals

To define and validate complete and coherent solutions for ambient networking, based on a range of different scenarios and business cases, including:

  • an architecture, which enables the easy and dynamic composition of disparate networks amid an ever-increasing heterogeneity of technologies and provider structures,
  • the definition of a set of adaptive and self-configuring mobile network components, which will reduce planning, deployment, configuration and network maintenance costs,
  • a comprehensive, integrated security framework, preserving end-to-end network protection and robustness against attacks.


To ensure that the Ambient Networks solution sets new standards for future context-aware, multi-domain mobile networks by addressing
the following key issues:

  • new algorithms for efficient management of radio resources across different radio technologies and multiple domains to provide efficient and low-cost access, irrespective of administrative boundaries,
  • design of an innovative link layer solution for easy adaptation and incorporation of existing and new radio interfaces,
  • a protocol suite for network composition ensuring connectivity, resource management, security, manageability, conflict resolution, and content handling,
  • support for dynamic agreements that provide any subscriber with access to any network in any place including an end-to-end QoS concept,
  • advanced multi-domain mobility management for users and user groups over a multitude of heterogeneous, wireless access networks, including new forms of wireless access networks such as personal area networks or vehicular networks,
  • efficient support for multimedia delivery by developing cross-domain media flow routing and transport functionalities, balancing QoS by considering different access technologies, networks, end-device capabilities, and the QoS requirements of different media flows
  • context-aware networks to improve efficiency and enable new applications, common, scalable and secure interfaces between network domains,
  • innovative self-management not only for new network nodes but also complete newly composed networks.
  • To ensure the commercial viability by identifying business roles and interfaces as well as deployment concepts and to consider business scenarios that allow different size and types of players to compete and cooperate and hence enable new business models based on established trust relationships.
  • To validate the various technical solutions developed by proof of concept activities in all workpackages.


Technology

All work on future networking scenarios emphasises two key issues:

  • Firstly, networks will become more technologically heterogeneous, accommodating old and new access systems as well as applications and services.
  • Secondly, networks will become organisationally heterogeneous: today's cellular systems will be complemented by adiverse mixture of other network types - personal, vehicular, sensor,hot-spot and more. And this network of networks will have to form and re-form dynamically in response to changing conditions.




The networking  architecture developed in Ambient Networks consists out of the following core concepts:

  • Ambient Control Space: Ambient Networks has developed the concept of the Ambient Control Space (ACS), an environment within which a set of modular control functions can co-exist and cooperate. The environment is based on plug&play concepts that allow the ACS to bootstrap and discoverthe set of supported functions dynamically.

  • Ambient Layer Model: To define the upper and lower boundaries of the networking functionality, Ambient Networks has developed detailed specifications for a pair of inter-layer interfaces:

    • ASI: At the upper boundary, the Ambient Service Interface (ASI) provides uniform access to the Ambient Networks functionality from higher layers,

    • ARI: At the lower boundary, the Ambient Resource Interface (ARI) encapsulates the capabilities of the underlying infrastructure, and a flow level abstraction provides the basic building block of data transfer between network addresses.





 

  • Network Composition: The project has developed the concept of network composition as the core approach to achieve the dynamic integration of control functionality - the ACS - across a heterogeneous set of networks. A signalling protocol framework has been developed to support composition negotiation across the Ambient Network Interface




The technical completeness and consistency of the approach have been
validated via the modelling of a set of detailed use cases, derived from
top-level user scenarios generated at the start of the project.

Finally, the first steps have been taken to move the work beyond the research
world, with the development of a 4-stage migration strategy and the
initiation of standardisation work items to cover the key concepts in
composition and signalling. These results show that the goals set for
the first two years of research have been satisfied. Thus, we are
confident that this architecture provides a firm baseline for the system
development activities which will be the focus of the next phase of
Ambient Networks.


Partners

  • Alcatel SEL AG Germany

  • British Telecommunications plc  UK

  • Budapest University Of Technology And Economics Hungary

  • Concordia University Canada

  • Consorzio Ferrara Ricercha  Italy

  • Critical Software S.A. Portugal

  • DaimlerChrysler AG Germany

  • DoCoMo Communications Laboratories Europe GmbH Germany

  • Elisa Corporation Finland

  • Ericsson Eurolab Deutschland GmbH  Germany

  • Ericsson Magyarorszag Kommunikacios Renszerek K.F.T. Hungary

  • France Telecom SA France

  • Fraunhofer Gesellschaft Zur Foerderung Der Angewandten Forschung e. V.  Germany

  • Instituto De Engenharia De Sistemas E Computadores Do Porto Porto Portugal

  • Kunglia Tekniska Hogskolan Sweden

  • Lucent Technologies Network Systems GmbH Germany

  • Lucent Technologies Network Systems UK Limited  UK

  • Motorola Japan  Japan

  • National ICT Australia (University Of New South Wales) Australia

  • NEC Europe ltd  UK

  • Nokia Corporation Finland

  • Oy LM Ericsson AB  Finland

  • Panasonic European Laboratories GmbH  Germany

  • Rheinisch-Westfaelische Technische Hochschule Aachen Germany

  • Siemens AG Germany

  • Siemens AG Oesterreich Austria

  • Siemens Mobile Communications SPA  Italy

  • Swedish Institute Of Computer Science AB Sweden

  • Technical Research Centre Of Finland  Finland

  • Technische Universitaet Berlin  Germany

  • Telecom Italia SPA  Italy

  • Telefonica Investigacion Y Desarrollo SA Unipersonal  Spain

  • Telenor Communication AS  Norway

  • TeliaSonera AB  Sweden

  • TNO - Netherlands Organisation For Applied Scientific Research KPN/TNO Netherlands University Of Surrey  UK

  • Universidad De Cantabria  Spain

  • University College London  UK

  • University Of Ottawa  Canada

  • Vodafone Group Services Limited