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Improving WAN Performance with XSP

The aim of this project develop, deploy, and study an Optimizing Network Environment (ONE) based on our eXtensible Session Protocol (XSP) within the NSF's Global Environment for Network Innovation (GENI). Our approach is based on a new layer of protocols and services that exists architecturally atop the current Internet architecture, while incorporating support for emerging technologies such as Software Defined Networking. Developed in conjunction with XSP, Phoebus is a data movement service that can significantly improve transfer performance over long, fat networks (LFNs) and challenged network environments. XSP supports existing applications without modification, and we have integrated directly with popular transfer applications such as GridFTP to conveniently take advantage of the XSP and Phoebus architecture.

Project Team


  • University of Delaware
  • Indiana University


  • XSP Path Signaling – The XSP Path implementation provides a general interface for configuring dynamic network resources, including technologies such as OpenFlow and OSCARS (e.g. used by Internet2 ION), and a framework for driving emerging Software Defined Networks (SDNs). A common set of network “rules” may be specified via the XSP API and signaled to XSP-enabled controllers within the network, known in our experiments as a daemon called XSPd-SDN. Each rule is interpreted by an appropriate “rule handler” loaded by XSPd-SDN and applied within the network. The requested application is notified when the path is ready.

  • Adapting to Network Conditions – Phoebus Gateways (PGs) are XSP-based performance-enhancing network services. Our experiments have evaluated the ability of PGs to accelerate transfers over ION and ProtoGENI backbone resources. Phoebus implements protocol translation and adaptation that can significantly improve performance over LFNs and challenged network paths. Our testing shows a 50-60% improvement when utilizing the Phoebus-XSP approach for common network transfer tools and benchmarks such as GridFTP and iperf (shown in the performance chart below). Future experiments will allow PGs to select optimal paths based on prevailing network conditions.

Fig 1: Comparing Direct transfers with Phoebus-accelerated transfers over ProtoGENI and Internet2 backbone networks.

GEC12 Demo



  • Driving Software Defined Networks with XSP, Under Submission, pdf
  • Session Layer Burst Switching for High Performance Data Movement, PFLDNet 2010, pdf

Posters and Presentations

  • Improving WAN Performance with the eXtensible Session Protocol, Demo Poster at GEC12, pdf
  • YouTube video of our GEC12 demonstration link


  • Student, Ezra Kissel, Ph. D., Expected 2012, Thesis: Improving WAN Performance with the eXtensible Session Protocol: A Protocol for Future Internet Architectures


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. CNS-1050111.

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