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Monday, 17. August 2020



The Internet traffic is still doubling approximately every 18 month; and up to 80% of this traffic is stemming from Peer-to-Peer applications. This traffic is created by overlay network-based applications. The available bandwidth of end-nodes is also increasing. Thus, overlay-based applications will become more and more interesting and diversity of such applications will increase. Therefore, a slow paradigm shift from centralized offered services to services offered by end-nodes is happening. For today's Telecommunication Service Providers (telco) and Internet Service Providers (ISP) the issue arises, how to control and manage network traffic stemming from overlay-based applications.

The use of mechanisms based on incentives for controlling and managing network traffic of overlay applications in the Internet is still in its early stages. Initial results have shown that such mechanisms do have the important property of scalability with respect to the number of players (i.e. providers, consumers, or peers), and lead to a more efficient network operation. In managing the traffic created and routed through their networks today's ISPs, who may be in more general terms service providers on the basis of the IP, employ methodologies suitable for traditional traffic/service profiles. In the near future most network traffic will follow paths that form logical network overlays at the service layer, such as Virtual Private Networks, Network Management System overlays, or distributed collaboration overlays. As the structure of overlays determines the traffic flows in ISP networks, it is highly efficient for an ISP to influence overlay configuration based on information on their structure.

Overlays have to be managed to

  1. Maximize the benefit for multiple operators/ISPs involved, independently of an underlying topology and
  2. Increase the capability to withstand faults, and balancing the load in the network.

From a user's point of view, SmoothIT will enable new overlay services that can be utilized by any user. Those services may differ with respect to Quality-of-Service (QoS) metrics and will be charged differently. This enables a market of competitive overlay services and their management. Users will benefit from the competition in this market, from the variety of services and service qualities, both made conveniently available to users, and from customized and competitive pricing of the services, giving rise to a high value for money.

From a provider's perspective, SmoothIT will provide for the relevant decentralized control technology and management approaches, backed by thorough theoretical investigations, which will enable new business models to be analyzed and implemented. The application of such scalable economic management mechanisms will enable the ISPs to reduce their service provisioning and maintenance costs, thus, leading towards a highly competitive market advantage. At the same time, since Virtual Private Networks (VPN) and other overlay applications often cover end-users connected to multiple ISPs, appropriate incentives schemes for collaboration among ISPs (which may also be competing ones at the same time) have to be defined.

Key Objectives

In summary, the project has the following major objectives to be pursued in support of the overall aim of radically advancing technology:

  1. SmoothIT will structure overlays in a way that is is efficient or optimal, both for user communities and for ISPs. This is to be attained by means of economic and incentive mechanisms
  2. SmoothIT will study and define key requirements for a commercial application of economic traffic management schemes for ISPs and telcos.
  3. In order to advance traffic management beyond traditional limits, specialized economic theory will be applied for building in a fully decentralized way network efficient Internet-based overlay services in multi-domain scenarios, solving the information asymmetry problem.
  4. SmoothIT will design, prototype, and validate the necessary networking infrastructure and their components for an efficient implementation of such economic traffic management mechanisms in an IP test-bed and trial network.
  5. SmoothIT will develop an optimized incentive-driven signaling approach for defining (theory) and delivering (technology) economic signals across domain boundaries in support of co-operating and competing providers in an interconnected heterogeneous network environment.
  6. SmoothIT will integrate concepts from previous work, such as M3I and MMAPPS, leveraging existing knowledge and applying it to future overlay services.
  7. SmoothIT will stress operator-orientation by verifying key results of the work through ISP and telco requirements as well as its supporting technology.


A 2-page summary of SmoothIT project description is available here.

For more information, please find the SmoothIT Fact Sheet and the current public SmoothIT slideset as PDF documents for your overview