CSC News

May 11, 2004

JIT signaling protocol draws praise

Photo of Dr. Ilia Baldine, left, and Dr. George Rouskas discuss their JIT signaling protocol.A new Just-in-Time (JIT) signaling protocol, which will yield ultra-fast network connections, was developed jointly by the MCNC Research & Development Institute (MCNC-RDI) and several members of NC State’s computer science and other engineering faculty.

At a recent demonstration, their work drew the praise of the FCC’s technology chief for its potential to enhance today’s network infrastructure.

On the JIT team with Dr. George Rouskas and Dr. Harry Perros, professors of computer science, and Paul Franzon, professor of computer and electrical engineering, is Ilia Baldine (Ph.D., ‘98), who was Rouska’s doctoral student.

The protocol they are developing together “works to speed up the controls and connections” required by the Internet’s “millions and billions of users,” Rouskas says.

“The typical approach is to incorporate this in the software that implements the protocol,” he says. “Unfortunately, doing this at the software side is very slow compared to moving it to the hardware.”

The scientists have stripped down the signaling and control protocol so that it can be implemented at the hardware level. They expect it would be applied at the router level by major Internet service providers.

The JIT protocol is now in the proof of concept stage, and was recently demonstrated for the Federal Communications Commission at the Naval Research Laboratory’s Center for Computations Science.

Baldine, who is responsible for the project’s protocol design documents and oversees the software side of implementation, says he found it easy to transition from his graduate student-professor relationship with Rouskas to a peer relationship.

“From the beginning, I found ours to be a very friendly, productive and goal oriented relationship ... we continue to be productive,” Baldine says.

The fruits of their efforts were evident at a JIT project demonstration that Baldine arranged at the Advanced Technological Demonstration Network (ATDNet) in Washington, D.C., an optical network designed to allow developers to demonstrate their protocol devices.

JIT signaling, embedded in the hardware, enabled connections at 5 microseconds, compared to a few seconds for software-based signaling.

“So we are talking about a million times faster than any comparable protocol in software,” Rouskas says.

Edmond J. Thomas, FCC chief of the Office of Engineering and Technology, says, “JIT not only has the potential to enhance today’s network infrastructure but the technology also could potentially improve efficiency for applications bound by limited resources, such as the wireless spectrum.

“This protocol is yet another example of technological innovation which could result in more efficient use of the radio spectrum and hopefully lead to new and affordable services for the American public,” Thomas says.

“We are still working on enhancing the protocol,” Rouskas says, “adding functionality and enhancing quality of service.”

Story and photo by Anna Rzewnicki

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