An End-Middle-End Approach to Connection Establishment

Saikat Guha and Paul Francis
Appears in: 
CCR October 2007

We argue that the current model for flow establishment in the Internet: DNS Names, IP addresses, and transport ports, is inadequate due to problems that go beyond the small IPv4 address space and resulting NAT boxes. Even where global addresses exist, firewalls cannot glean enough information about a flow from packet headers, and so often err, typically by being over-conservative: disallowing flows that might otherwise be allowed. This paper presents a novel architecture, protocol design, and implementation, for flow establishment in the Internet. The architecture, called NUTSS, takes into account the combined policies of endpoints and network providers. While NUTSS borrows liberally from other proposals (URI-like naming, signaling to manage ephemeral IPv4 or IPv6 data flows), NUTSS is unique in that it couples overlay signaling with data-path signaling. NUTSS requires no changes to existing network protocols, and combined with recent NAT traversal techniques, works with IPv4 and existing NAT/firewalls. This paper describes NUTSS and shows how it satisfies a wide range of “end-middle-end” network requirements, including access control, middlebox steering, multi-homing, mobility, and protocol negotiation.