TOUCAN: Towards Ultimate Convergence of All Networks

Research area Future Infrastructure, SDN, network virtualization
Dates 11 August 2014 - 31 December 2020
Funder EPSRC
Contact person Professor Dimitra Simeonidou

TOUCAN (Towards Ultimate Convergence of All Networks) is a University of Bristol-led research project that aims to implement radically new network models and has been awarded £6 million funding by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). 

TOUCAN aims to achieve ultimate network convergence enabled by a radically new technology agnostic architecture targeting a wide range of applications and end users. This architecture will facilitate optimal interconnection of any network technology domains, networked devices and data sets with high flexibility, resource and energy efficiency, and will aim to satisfy the full range of Quality of Service (QoS) and Quality of Experience (QoE) requirements.

TOUCAN will realise its goals by including the network infrastructure and its control as part of the end-to-end service delivery chain. Important enablers will be that of separating the data and control planes, which will rely on Software Defined Networking (SDN) principles.

TOUCAN will drastically evolve SDN to incorporate fundamentally new technology-specific interfacing and resource description followed by infrastructure resource abstraction, virtualisation and programmability. These features will enable any network technology and device to become "TOUCAN-ready" which means that the devices are programmable and interoperable. This is the foundation upon which the technology-agnostic feature of the TOUCAN architecture will be realized; thereby ultimate seamless end-to-end convergence will be achieved.

TOUCAN will revolutionize the way we build and operate communication networks in a similar way that computer networks and more recently mobile terminals were transformed from platform-oriented to platform-agnostic solutions (e.g. through Linux and Android) and will drive towards commoditisation of network devices. Any new technology generation, regardless whether wired or wireless, will connect to the TOUCAN network in a plug-and-play fashion.

This project brings together experts of the Smart Internet Lab and in particular members of the CSN Research Group and HPN Research Group in the Faculty of Engineering.

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