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Networking Technology and Systems  (NeTS)


See program guidelines for contact information.


Computer and communication networks need to be available anytime and anywhere, and be accessible from any device. Networks need to evolve over time to incorporate new technologies, support new classes of applications and services, and to meet new requirements and challenges; networks need to scale and adapt to unforeseen events and uncertainties across multiple dimensions, including types of applications, size and topology, mobility patterns, and heterogeneity of devices and networking technologies. Networks need to be easily controllable and manageable, resource and energy efficient, secure and resilient to failures and attacks. A number of recent reports have highlighted research challenges and opportunities in networking technologies and systems (e.g., see the reports from the Workshops on Scaling Terabit Networks, http://lightwave.ee.columbia.edu/files/STNFinalReport2014.pdf, and Future Directions in Wireless Networking, http://ecedha.org/docs/nsf-nets/final-report.pdf).

The Networking Technology and Systems (NeTS) program supports transformative research on fundamental scientific and technological advances leading to the development of future-generation, high-performance networks and future Internet architectures. The scope of the program includes enterprise, core, and optical networks; peer-to-peer and application-level networks; wireless, mobile, and cellular networks; networks for physical infrastructures; and sensor networks. The program also seeks innovative networking research proposals within application domains such as smart grids, compute grids, clouds, and data centers.

NeTS proposals should address problems that are appropriate to the NeTS Core Area or to one of the current Highlighted Areas. Note that proposals that address problems in the NeTS highlighted areas are not targeted for special handling or funding -- they simply represent emerging areas or areas of current national interest.

NeTS proposals are strongly encouraged to include validation plans that describe mechanisms to assess success of the proposed research efforts.

NeTS Core Area

The NeTS program seeks fundamental scientific understanding of and advances in large-scale complex, heterogeneous networks, including but not limited to, resource allocation and traffic engineering, topology discovery and control, context-aware service discovery, naming and addressing, routing and congestion control, network economics, opportunistic networking, network and mobility management at different levels and granularities, virtualization and programmability at-scale and at all levels of the network architecture. NeTS also supports research that brings the network closer to autonomy, where the need for human intervention is minimal.

In the area of wireless networks, NeTS seeks research projects on novel frameworks, architectures, protocols, methodologies and tools for the design and analysis, deployment, operation and management of robust and highly dependable cellular, mobile ad-hoc, vehicular, mesh, sensor, body area, and underwater networks. The program seeks projects that enable energy-efficient operation with low control and communication overhead in wireless networks, such as sensors, cellular and autonomous swarm networks (aerial/terrestrial/underwater).

NeTS Highlighted Areas:

For this solicitation, there are three highlighted area: Networks Leveraging or Advancing New Technologies, Networks that Address Emerging National Needs and Trends, and Meta-Networking Research. These three areas are described below.

  • Networks Leveraging or Advancing New Technologies

    With innovations in lower layer technologies such as dynamic optical channels, high-speed wireless physics layer (PHY), multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO), full-duplex wireless, etc., there is an emerging need to re-visit network design strategies and develop better protocols and control frameworks that leverage these improved technologies while coupling application-layer capacity and reliability demands to the lower layers. Innovative research on optical terabit-per-second “ethernets” capable of integrating computation, storage, data-gathering, and visualization within a campus area is encouraged. Such research on campus-area networks might leverage integrated optical or opto-electronic systems to achieve multiple terabit-per-second performance for multiple users but at costs and form factors comparable to 10 gigabits per second Ethernet. Another aspect of research in lower-layer technologies includes a combination of hardware and software designs to scale wired and wireless network research systems to approach closely the capabilities in high-end commercial hardware without sacrificing programmability, with special emphasis on the design of such networks for application specific support.

  • Networks that Address Emerging National Needs and Trends

    The growth in social networks, mobile computing, and ubiquitous communication has raised key research challenges as it pertains to networking. Five such challenges are:

    (a) Can we design better higher-layer services and applications that inform or are informed by the underlying communication network?

    (b) What protocols and network architectures are needed to achieve massive reductions in power consumption for the Internet, enterprise, mobile and home networking without sacrificing user functionality?

    (c) Can we create novel paradigms, technologies, and methodologies for the integration and management of computation and communication in distributed clouds?

    (d) What are the networking innovations that can help improve per-user data rates seen in cellular networks by a factor of 1000, specifically improve per-user edge throughput from the current 100 kbps or less to 100 Mbps?

    (e) Cognitive radio is traditionally considered only as a physical layer technology used to achieve dynamic spectrum access, but more is needed to meet the nation's broadband goals. What novel cognitive radio architectures are required to enable rich networking functionalities, while providing adequate incentive and co-existence mechanisms?

  • Meta-Networking Research

    There is a vital need for methodologies for scientific evaluation of communication networks that include an understanding of network instrumentation and measurements as well as the development of rigorous scientific methods for planning and assessing networking experiments. There is also a need for solid network management tools that include semantically rich descriptions of network configuration (i.e. rich network configuration, security, network management, application overlays, fault tolerance and resilience).

Networking Technology and Systems (NeTS) Staff

Funding Opportunities for the Networking Technology and Systems (NeTS) Program:

Computer and Network Systems (CNS): Core Programs.  NSF 14-597


Computer and Network Systems (CNS): Core Programs


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