ORCHESTRA: Supercharging wireless backhaul networks through multi-technology management


Today’s and tomorrow’s networks are becoming increasingly complex and heterogeneous with a large diversity of devices and technologies. To meet growing demand, and support client mobility there is need for intelligent mechanisms like multi-technology load balancing and handovers. Current solutions, like Multipath Transmission Control Protocol (MPTCP), fail to provide a fine-grained, coordinated, and transparent answer to this heterogeneity, while the lower layers of the Open Systems Interconnection stack simply ignore it by providing full separation of layers. Therefore, we introduce ORCHESTRA, a data link layer framework for the management of multi-technology networks and devices, enabling packet-level dynamic handovers, load balancing, and duplication across network technologies. The framework is the first of its kind in providing fine-grained packet-level control across different technologies in a network-wide manner. Moreover, it works on top of existing standards without the need for hardware changes. This is achieved through a fully transparent virtual Medium Access Control layer and a Software-Defined Networking controller with global intelligence. The framework is implemented in a prototype running on off-the-shelf hardware and we demonstrate its features across different IEEE 802.11 technologies and 4G (Long Term Evolution). We demonstrate that ORCHESTRA outperforms MPTCP and allows for real-time inter-technology handovers and that overall throughput and reliability are improved in wireless networks.

Journal of Network and Systems Management