- Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), which supports research projects within the so-called “mega projects”.
- Ministry of Sciences and Technology (MoST), which supports FI research through National High-Tech R&D 863 and 973 programmes.
- Ministry of Education (MoE), which recently set up the Internet Innovation Union (IIU) including several major Future Internet testbeds such as Dragon Lab.
The main initiatives of the Future Internet Research Group are:
- The PEARL testbed, which is a programmable virtual router platform. By co-working with the China Science and Technology Net (CSTNET), PEARL aims to construct a large scale testbed, which is able to support many types of network experiments in parallel. These experiments include not only new network architecture such as SOFIA and NDN, but also traditional network research like data center networks and sensor networks. It is known that there are a number of experiments that PEARL is planning to run, including i.e. SOFIA, NDN, OpenFlow. PEARL is definitely one of the most important projects in China oriented to future Internet research, and it involves in particular many researchers on OpenFlow technology.
- The Service-Oriented Future Internet Architecture (SOFIA) - The initial aim of today’s Internet, which was created in the 1960s and 1970s, is computing resource sharing in a trusted environment, through a host-to-host communication model. The Internet has become a critical worldwide infrastructure with an unprecedented size after 50 years of explosive growth due to the development of information and communication technologies. All kinds of social activities have been moved onto the Internet. These changes bring new challenges to the Internet in various aspects, such as traffic growth, mobility support, security, scalability, etc. SOFIA proposes a service-oriented future internet architecture. The Internet is viewed not only as a collection of transport channels, but also as a service pool. This fundamental change naturally benefits the Internet in the following aspects:
- Network-Friendly Application: popular services or applications are migrated to routers for local access.
- Service-Friendly Network: the Internet is taken as a service pool and users are not required to be aware of the physical locations.
- Well-supported mobility: mobility is a key factor when designing the architecture.
- Build-in security: service-level security is built in the architecture.
- Evolution Supported Revolution: the architecture can be incrementally deployed in current Internet.
FINE project members includes Universities/National Research Institutes:
- Tsinghua University, Chinese Academy of Science (CAS) and its Institute of Acoustics (IOA), Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications (BUPT), Southeast University (SEU), Peking University (PKU), China Academy of Telecommunication Research (CATR), National University of Defense Technology (NUDT), Xi’an Jiao Tong University (XJTU), etc.
- Service Providers: China Education and Research Network2 (CERNET2), China Mobile, B-STAR (Broadcasting)
- Vendors: ZTE, H3C, Huawei, Ruijie, etc.
Approved in 2012, and officially funded in 2013, the project aims to reach the following goals by 2015:
- An architecture to achieve an Open Experimental Environment
- New open devices, new software (NOS and virtualization platform)
- An experimental platform with 10-20 networks (universities, carriers)
- Research on new network architectures or Innovations on IP protocols (as applications)
- New architectures: NDN/ICN, PTDN (New ITU-T standards), etc.
- New IPv6 protocols: intra-domain and inter-domain IPv6 source address validations, ILNP (IPv6 lD-locator separation for mobile network), two-dimensional routing, etc.
The core management board of IIU is constituted by the Ministry of Education, EU-China FIRE project partner Ruijie Networks, and another 20 board members from universities. Up to September, 2012, nearly 120 universities in China had joined the IIU.
In the next phase, IIU aims to upgrade its status as a national-level platform, by seeking support from MOST, MIIT and the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). In the mean time, it is expected that more innovative applications and research findings will be incubated on this platform, through continual stimulus policies and members’ active inputs.
IIU owns and runs the ‘federal testbeds’ platform, which was formerly known as Dragonlab, initiated by Tsinghua University and Ruijie Networks. More than 37 IIU’s member universities have now completed interconnection to Dragonlab.