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Application-aware Networking (apn)

WG Name Application-aware Networking
Acronym apn
Area Routing Area (rtg)
State Abandoned
Charter charter-ietf-apn-00-01 Not currently under review
Document dependencies
Personnel Chairs Donald E. Eastlake 3rd, Melchior Aelmans
Area Director Andrew Alston
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Charter for Working Group

The APplication-aware Networking (APN) Working Group will develop a framework to enable fine-granularity network service provisioning (traffic operations) within the network domain(s) that supports APN (i.e., APN domains). By APN domain we refer to the infrastructure domain where APN is used from edge to edge (ingress to egress) and where the packet is encapsulated using an outer header incorporating the APN information. An APN domain is defined as a limited domain controlled by a Network Operator or set of cooperating Network Operators, in which MPLS, VXLAN, SR/SRv6, and other tunnel technologies are adopted to provide network services.

APN aims to use the ability to apply policies to traffic flows entering into the infrastructure (APN domain). For example, at the headend (ingress) traffic is steered into a given path/policy/slice, at a midpoint node the corresponding performance measurement data is collected, and at a service node, a given function is executed.

In modern networks, where things such as deterministic networking and networking slicing are required, there is a requirement for more functionality than QoS can provide. APN aims to address these requirements and further unleash these technologies. The goal is to provide network operators with the ability to perform fine-granularity network service provisioning, as opposed to course-grained traffic operations.

Various applications being carried by a modern network, including but not limited to, online gaming, video streaming, and enterprise video conferencing have more demanding performance requirements than regular traffic. These include performance requirements related to low network latency and high bandwidth requirements. To achieve better Quality of Experience (QoE) for end users, the network needs to provide fine-granularity and application group-level SLA (Service Level Agreement) guarantees within the network domains supporting APN. As part of the framework development, the working group will analyze and define the requirements for such fine-grained provisioning.

To fulfill the above requirements, it is envisaged that APN will carry additional APN information in packet headers. The APN information carried in packets will only be applicable within a limited domain. This information will facilitate fine-granularity service provisioning within the domain. APN Information within the packets is derived from existing information in the packet headers at the edge of the APN domain, according to rules and policies configured on the edge devices, added to the packets, and then used within the network. This information is then removed from the packets that leave the domain.

The approaches used to determine APN information must not rely on the knowledge of specific applications and must be removed when packets leave the APN domain. Within any developed framework, security and privacy must be carefully considered.

The APN working group deliverables are limited to a Problem Statement and Use Cases document and an APN Framework document.

Date Deliverable and Milestone
Mar 2023 Working Group Adoption of Problem Statement and Use Cases draft
Mar 2023 Working Group Adoption of APN Framework draft
Nov 2023 Problem Statement and Use Cases document submitted to IESG
Nov 2023 Framework document submitted to IESG