Internet Architecture Board


Call for Papers: IAB Workshop on Stack Evolution in a Middlebox Internet (SEMI)

IAB Workshop on Stack Evolution in a Middlebox Internet (SEMI)
26-27 January 2015 – ETH Zürich, Switzerland

Submissions accepted at:

  • Submission Deadline: 31 October 2014
  • Notification Deadline: 17 November 2014
  • Workshop Dates: 26-27 January 2015

The Internet’s transport layer has ossified, squeezed between narrow
interfaces (from BSD sockets to pseudo-transport over HTTPS) and
increasing in-network modification of traffic by middleboxes that make
assumptions about the protocols running through them. This ossification
makes it difficult to innovate in the transport layer, through the
deployment of new protocols or the extension of existing ones. At the
same time, emerging applications require functionality that existing
protocols can provide only inefficiently, if at all.

To begin to address this problem, the Internet Architecture Board (IAB),
within the scope of its IP Stack Evolution Program, is organizing a
workshop to discuss approaches to de-ossifying transport, especially
with respect to interactions with middleboxes and new methods for
implementing transport protocols. Recognizing that the end-to-end
principle has long been compromised, we start with the fundamental
question of matching paths through the Internet with certain
characteristics to application and transport requirements. Which paths
through the Internet are actually available to applications? Which
transports can be used over these paths? How can applications cooperate
with network elements to improve path establishment and discovery? Can
common transport functionality and standardization help application
developers to implement and deploy such approaches in today’s Internet?
Could cooperative approaches give us a way to rebalance the Internet
back toward its end-to-end roots?


For this workshop we would like to consider topics that speak to these
questions, including the following:

– Development and deployment of transport-like features in application-
layer protocols
– Methods for discovery of path characteristics and protocol
availability along a path
– Methods for middlebox detection and characterization of middlebox
behavior and functionality
– Methods for NAT and middlebox traversal in the establishment of end-
to-end paths
– Mechanisms for cooperative path-endpoint signaling, and lessons
learned from existing approaches
– Economic considerations and incentives for cooperation in middlebox

We will explicitly focus on approaches that are incrementally deployable
within the present Internet.

The outcome of the workshop will be architectural and engineering
guidance on future work in the area, published as an IAB workshop
report, based on discussion of proposed approaches; future work will be
pursued within the IAB Stack Evolution Program. We will also explore
possible areas for standardization, e.g. new protocols that separate
signaling to and from on-path devices and common transport semantics
from the rest of the transport protocol; and for general guidance, e.g.
how transports as well as middleboxes can be designed and deployed to
achieve these goals.

Submission Instructions

Attendance at the workshop is by invitation. Prospective participants
are invited to submit short position papers outlining their views on one
or more topics related to the scope of the workshop. Position papers
will be published on the IAB website at:

Submissions accepted at:

Submission Deadline: 31 October 2014

Notification Deadline: 17 November 2014

Workshop Dates: 26-27 January 2015

Sponsored by the Internet Architecture Board, the Internet Society, and
ETH Zürich. Mirja Kühlewind and Brian Trammell, General Chairs.

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