ORCHESTRA: Enabling Inter-Technology Network Management in Heterogeneous Wireless Networks

Abstract

Modern connected devices are equipped with the ability to connect to the Internet using a variety of different wireless network technologies. Current network management solutions fail to provide a fine-grained, coordinated, and transparent answer to this heterogeneity, while the lower layers of the OSI stack simply ignore it by providing full separation of layers. To address this, we propose the ORCHESTRA framework to manage the different devices in heterogeneous wireless networks and introduce capabilities such as packet-level dynamic and intelligent handovers (both interand intra-technology), load balancing, replication, and scheduling. The framework is the first of its kind in providing a fine-grained packet-level control across different technologies by introducing a fully transparent virtual medium access control layer and an software-defined networking-like controller with global intelligence. Furthermore, we present a novel optimization problem formulation that can be solved to optimally configure the network. We provide a thorough evaluation through simulations and a prototype implementation. We show that our framework enables, in a real-life setting, transparent and realtime inter-technology handovers and that coordinated load balancing can double the network-wide throughput across different scenarios.

Publication
IEEE Transactions on Network and Service Management