Research : Post Sockets
The Berkeley Sockets API is showing its age. Over its 35 year history, it has become the ubiquitous portable networking interface, allowing applications to simply make effective use of TCP connections and UDP datagrams. Now, though, as a result of changes in the network and new application needs, the limitations of the Sockets API are becoming apparent. This work aims to re-imagine the network transport API in the light of many years experience, changes in the network, better understanding of transport services, and new application needs.
I'm pleased to have co-authored two papers that were presented in the IFIP Networking 2017 workshop on the Future of Internet Transport, held on 12 June 2017 in Stockholm. The first was a paper outlining our proposal for a Post Sockets API, building on our IETF draft in this area, written with Brian Trammell and Mirja Kühlewind of ETH Zürich. The second is with Tom Jones and Gorry Fairhurst from the University of Aberdeen, and looks at raising the level of abstraction of the datagram API to enable transport protocol evolution.
I gave a presentation on Transport Services for Low-Latency Real-Time Applications to the TAPS working group at IETF 97 in Seoul, South Korea, on 26 November 2017. This discussed our recently submitted Internet-draft of the same name, which describes the set of transport services required by low-latency, real-time applications, derived from the needs of the applications, rather than from the current capabilities of the transport layer.
As part of our work on TCP Hollywood, we've sketched out requirements for the transport services and APIs needed by real-time applications, such as telephony, video conferencing, and video streaming. Stephen McQuistin presented these at the ACM, IRTF, and ISOC Applied Networking Research Workshop in Berlin, on 16 July 2016 (slides), and in the IETF Transport Services working group later that week.
The IAB held a Workshop on Stack Evolution in a Middlebox Internet at ETH Zürich on 26-27 January 2015. I presented a position paper on Reinterpreting the Transport Protocol Stack to Embrace Ossification at this workshop.