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Networking The Almighty Buck The Internet The Military News Technology

Military To Spend $42M To Build Advanced Network Control 102

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the thats-a-lot-of-green dept.
coondoggie writes "BBN, which was bought by defense giant Raytheon today, got almost $11 million to help build self-configuring network technology that would identify traffic, let the network infrastructure prioritize it down to the end user, reallocate bandwidth between users or classes of users, and automatically make quality-of-service decisions. The advanced network technology is being developed by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and will include support for features like 32 levels of network traffic prioritization that will let data with a higher priority will be handled more expeditiously than traffic with a lower priority."
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Military to Spend $42M To Build Advanced Network Control

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  • Dose it (Score:3, Funny)

    by Hognoxious (631665) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:01AM (#29274471) Homepage Journal
    Does it work via twitter? If it does I think IBM's lawyers want a word...
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Does it work via SHUT THE FUCK UP? If it does, I think the rest of us will be relieved that we didn't have to suffer a bunch of retarded Twitter references.
      • by maxwell demon (590494) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:17AM (#29274731) Journal

        Early experiments using the STFU protocol showed that network traffic went to zero. While this had positive cost impact, for example because you could omit all those costly cables without further harm, it was finally concluded that data rates above zero had enough advantages to offset those costs.

  • Uhm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    And what exactly is low priority traffic?

    • Re:Uhm (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:06AM (#29274545)

      Your post.

    • Re:Uhm (Score:4, Interesting)

      by kevinNCSU (1531307) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:10AM (#29274613)
      They're talking military networks so low priority traffic would be non mission/time-critical traffic. For example, email with a bunch of power point slides for a briefing might be low priority traffic, whereas an Alert for an incoming cruise missile to the Command and Control Systems might be considered slightly more high priority.
    • Re:Uhm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dan541 (1032000) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:37AM (#29275013) Homepage

      The lowest bidder.

      • Whereas you always buy from the highest bidder, right?

        • by nedlohs (1335013)

          Since the context is someone paying you for a limited resource, then yes I usually would...

          • by Z34107 (925136)

            I have a product to sell you for $infinity. I can guarantee that you won't find a better price.

            • by nedlohs (1335013)

              That I would likely take the highest bid when selling something says nothing about what I would do when buying something.

              So I fail to see the relevance.

    • by Menelkir (899602)
      Every traffic that isn't mine I consider low priority traffic.
  • Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by digitalunity (19107) <[digitalunity] [at] [yahoo.com]> on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:03AM (#29274503) Homepage

    $11M to reimplement IPv6 QOS. I suppose it's a bit more advanced since it makes QOS determination based on users or groups, but that doesn't seem that difficult.

    Consider me unimpressed.

    • Re:Wow (Score:4, Funny)

      by geekoid (135745) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `dnaltropnidad'> on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:21AM (#29274785) Homepage Journal

      Someone else with no experience doing massive implementations of new infrastructure spouting off.

      Consider me unimpressed.

    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

      by elnyka (803306) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:44AM (#29275111) Homepage

      $11M to reimplement IPv6 QOS. I suppose it's a bit more advanced since it makes QOS determination based on users or groups, but that doesn't seem that difficult.

      Consider me unimpressed.

      Dude, there might be strategic/tactical decisions for deciding explicitly not to use IPv6. Notice that I'm not saying that those strategic/tactical decisions are necessarily valid for long-term maintenance, extensibility or external compatibility (the later of which might even be undesirable from a strategic/tactical POV.)

      The road of technical divergence can either take you to innovation or to a complete technical fiasco. That fork is many times not only dependent on technical merits alone. Besides, iirc, IPv6 QOS is still as of yet to be developed (not a criticism mind you). It supports only 7 priority levels whereas the proposed technology will support 32 levels. A typical military subnet, with stationary and mobile units, all of them plugged and receiving feeds from a bunch of disparate devices might never need more than 7 or 8, but as you start plugging those nets together, you can (and will) easily require a finer priority granularity than that.

      Add to that the ability to determine priority by user or groups, and the problem cannot be dismissed as "meh, should not be that difficult." There might be other defense-specific requirements that we might not know (.ie. limiting jumbopackets by priority or origin.)

      Besides, this is being researched by DARPA, the harbinger of ARPANET and MQ-Predator, not some 2009 rendition of kozmo.com.

      I know that here on /. we like to fling turds at the government's white elephants, but c'mon. There must likely be be good technical/domain-specific reasons (or at least good enough) for an entity like DARPA to perform research on it, reasons beyond the ones that might impress you.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mckinnsb (984522)
      It's not just that. They are trying to build in a whole complex classification system into the network that doesn't base its decisions on content or traffic - it considers both in its analysis. It's trying to shuffle all users into 32 different slots - "Normal People", "High Volume Users", "Bots", and 29 other different 'categories' of user. Honestly, it doesn't sound like *enough* money.
    • An $11 million infrastructure/research project doesn't strike me as excessive. Assuming about $1 million of parts, equpment and travel, that leave $10 million for salaries. A fully allocated (or loaded in the accounting sense) employee is probably about $300k/year (salary, overhead, space) which means the project employed about 33 people for one year. Some of those were probably engineers, tech writers, while others administrators. A small team at cisco, IBM, apple or other non-government firm would pro
  • It about... (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    It's about f-ning time.

  • From the article:

    "This one-year contract includes two, one-year options, which, if awarded, would bring the cumulative value of the contract to about $42 million, BBN stated. "

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by maxwell demon (590494)

      $42M? Does it include searching for the answer to life, the universe and everything?

    • by WindowlessView (703773) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:35AM (#29274985)

      This has a lot of complicated requirements. If you scan through the pdf "DARPA's Military Networking Protocol" link in the article I don't see how this doesn't extend well beyond 3 years and $42 million. E.G. "As deliverables, performers must provide protocol implementations that replace or modify both the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the User Datagram Protocol (UDP) for the user level devices and the Network Controllers."

      Throw in the pace of defense companies move and it would be a miracle.

      • by mkramer (25004)

        This is DARPA... It's been a LONG time since they've ever actually paid for development through final production.

        Their strategy is to pay for initial technology development and proofs of concept, and then encourage (and probably help) to find a government customer who actually wants a product based on those technologies.

        So the timeframe for a real product winds up being much longer. And the final bill to the taxpayers, much higher.

  • The Next Internet? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MikePo (579147)

    Interesting, could be a precursor to the next evolution of the Internet.

    I don't know how well people would like QOS determination on users though, but I see the appeal to the government(s).

    • the traffic prioritization thing seems ripe for abuse

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by geekoid (135745)

        Yes. For military use it make sense.
        IF we could get enforced guidelines with court protection, it would be fine. Of course we won't get that until after years of abuse from verious corporate entities.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Flea of Pain (1577213)

      Oh! You mean like marking P2P as "low priority" during peak usage hours...oh wait...

  • Opportunity! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cornwallis (1188489) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:19AM (#29274751)

    I'm counting the new Internet Control Czar in the White House to use this to shut down the Internet as-needed for "national security" or other "emergencies" so I'm going to dust off my old BBS software and install another landline.

    • by FudRucker (866063) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:31AM (#29274933)
      if the US Gov gets any more czars this place is going to start looking like Russia before the soviet era, it could be a government plot to make post soviet Russia jealous.
      • In Soviet America the Internet Czar is a Headless Server...
        • That thing was better than I expected. But aren't all politicians nowadays headless servers, that just blindly follow orders from their lobby masters?

      • by couchslug (175151)

        "if the US Gov gets any more czars"

        Fuck the Czars, worry about the Rasputins!

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      so I'm going to dust off my old BBS software and install another landline.

      Better yet, get your Amateur Radio [arrl.org] license and practice using Packet Radio [wikipedia.org] and PSK31 [wikipedia.org].

      • Except the FCC (and I'm assuming the new Packet Radio Czar) will be "managing" us through that venue as well. On a slightly more serious note (!) if the White House is even hinting about controlling access to the Internet what is that going to do to businesses that want to use the cloud? In my case I can tell you that I'm not gonna put my stuff up there if "they" will be threatening to shut it down.

  • is it ipv6? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquar ... m minus language> on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:25AM (#29274841) Homepage Journal

    if it isn't, an awesome example of government stupidity, since just as this thing gets off the ground, ipv6 will probably finally take over

    it it is ipv6, look for ipv6 to be mandated on the industry

  • And now.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kronosopher (1531873) <celeron@@@netolith...com> on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:28AM (#29274879) Homepage
    we hear the death knell of net neutrality.

    The corporate think-tanks that envisioned the internet have known for a long time they had unwittingly created a network without strong authentication. This means anyone can jack-in anonymously and spread whatever socially dissident or commie/terrorist agenda they want. So in the interest of controlling our minds and the accessibility of information they are now attempting to re-implement the internet and in doing so shape traffic along arbitrary guidelines which of course will be entirely influenced by corporate profiteering.

    I know that this project is only for military use, but it is only a matter of time before corporations are lured in by the promise of an unprecedented amount of power/control/oversight on their networks.
    • What's the likelihood of a corporation being able to convince ALL the corporations that own the infrastructure of the entire internet at large that they should switch to such a system because ALL of them will somehow benefit from the others having control over their sections of the web and none of them will have financially significant backlash from their customers or be breaking any regional laws? I think you'd have better luck unifying the world under a single religion.
    • by timeOday (582209)
      If we are to have telemedicine, displacement of copper telephone infrastructure, etc., then we do need guaranteed levels of service for some things.

      Traffic shaping is not necessarily opposed to net neutrality. I see nothing wrong with prioritizing traffic based on how much a customer paid, or how much bandwidth they've used recently, for instance. An ISP account should come with X gigabytes/month of "first class" service, where you get to decide what to send/receive first class, and the rest is bulk. I

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by kronosopher (1531873)

        If we are to have telemedicine, displacement of copper telephone infrastructure, etc., then we do need guaranteed levels of service for some things.

        Traffic shaping is not necessarily opposed to net neutrality. I see nothing wrong with prioritizing traffic based on how much a customer paid, or how much bandwidth they've used recently, for instance. An ISP account should come with X gigabytes/month of "first class" service, where you get to decide what to send/receive first class, and the rest is bulk. I have wasted too much time kluging with LARTC [lartc.org]. Traffic prioritization needs to be end-to-end, not just at the network layer of one end.

        You're right. This is just another example of how the technology itself is not malevolent but rather how its employed.

        That being said, I can assure you that simply by reviewing the level of divisive manipulation of traditional corporate media, while technological advancement have historically entailed a net benefit for purveyors of truth(thinking here, printing press, telephones, etc), it also has enabled morally bereft institutions to expand and refine their influence on the hearts and minds of the ma

  • by FudRucker (866063) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @11:29AM (#29274887)
    to move net neutrality to /dev/null
  • That sounds like enough to pay for the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything!

  • US has begun research on Secret Project "Network Backbone". "Where do you want your Node today?"
  • This is about censorship, plain and simple.

  • OK, guys... (Score:5, Informative)

    by sconeu (64226) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @12:06PM (#29275377) Homepage Journal

    The DoD is big into what they're calling "Network-Centric Warfare". US doctrine relies heavily on information dispersal and access.

    This is (currently) an effort to make sure the right info gets into the right hands on the battlefield.

  • This slashdot post was deadlocked on resources with another higher priority slashdot post and has been chosen as the deadlock victim

  • Are they calling it SkyNet?
  • to run an On/Off button to the Oval Office?
    This way he can take down the Internet to save us all.

    Change YOU can believe in.....

  • Wasn't BBN.com the second domain name ever to be purchased? (Was reading the article about Symbolics.com earlier.)
  • by AmigaMMC (1103025) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @01:04PM (#29276103)
    It's my tax money anyway and I have no saying on it.
  • Shiny tool (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    the problem with this will be that any idiot general or SES exec (as in idiot in terms of comms/technical issues) will be able to order his "comm guys" to make "priority one" all traffic having anything to do with him and/or his cronies. the sycophantic bureaucrats hanging onto this general's/SES's coattails and their hours of grainy video-laden powerpoint slides about the battalion/unit/agency bake sale will crash base networks all over the world. packets carrying beat-the-dead-horse PowerPoint slides wi

  • 32 levels of traffic prioritization? That sounds like prioritization by bitshift.

    I call dibs on Priority 0!

  • by sunderland56 (621843) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @01:55PM (#29276867)
    $11 million to do what Comcast already does?

    I hope the military enjoys it more than the average peer-to-peer user on cable.
  • by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted@slashd[ ]org ['ot.' in gap]> on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @02:47PM (#29277393)

    and will include support for features like 32 levels of network traffic prioritization

    ...a fixed number of levels means a badly designed program. Or else it would not put any limitations on the number of levels.

    Why not just make it go trough the rules recursively like all cascading rule parser? You could even put a configurable limit on it, so it does not crash when coming in contact with infinite levels of rules.

    • and will include support for features like 32 levels of network traffic prioritization

      ...a fixed number of levels means a badly designed program. Or else it would not put any limitations on the number of levels.

      This is not always true. Consider a real time system. If you want to guarantee response times with bounded computational power, you cannot handle an arbitrary number of priorities. Instead, the number might depend on the available timespan and the worst case execution time of your computation. If

  • Old Technology (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Tetch (534754)

    > The advanced network technology ... being developed by ... DARPA .. will include
    > support for features like 32 levels of network traffic prioritization that will
    > let data with a higher priority will be handled more expeditiously than traffic
    > with a lower priority

    Hahahahahahahahahahaaaaaaa .... "advanced technology" ?

    We were doing this in 1980 with the ICL VME mainframe operating system using their proprietary comms protocol "ICLC03", which prioritised traffic according to which of 6 di

  • Word is there is already a patent out there, but we won't know until this has been around for 15 years....

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