Decoupling Information and Connectivity via Information-Centric Transport
By Hila Ben Abraham, Jyoti Parwatikar, John DeHart, Adam Drescher and Patrick Crowley
The power of Information-Centric Networking (ICN) architectures lies in their abstraction for communication — the request for named data. This abstraction promises that applications can choose to operate only in the information plane, agnostic to the mechanisms implemented in the connectivity plane. However, despite this powerful promise, the information and connectivity planes are presently coupled in today’s incarnations of leading ICNs by a core architectural component, the forwarding strategy. Presently, this component is not sustainable: it implements both the information and connectivity mechanisms without specifying who should choose a forwarding strategy — an application developer or the network operator. In practice, application developers can specify a strategy only if they understand connectivity details, while network operators can assign strategies only if they understand application expectations.
In this paper, we define the role of forwarding strategies, and we introduce Information-Centric Transport (ICT) as an abstraction for cleanly decoupling the information plane from the connectivity plane. We discuss how ICTs allow applications to operate in the information plane, concerned only with namespaces and trust identities, leaving network node operators free to deploy whatever strategy mechanisms make sense for the connectivity that they manage. To illustrate the ICT concept, we demonstrate ICT-Sync and ICT-Notify. We show how these ICTs 1) enable applications to operate regardless of connectivity details, 2) are designed to satisfy a predefined set of application requirements and are free from application-specifics, and 3) can be deployed by network operators where needed, without requiring any change to the application logic.