GSoC 2017 – Milestone 1

June Progress

During the past weeks, I have mainly worked on LoxiGen. LoxiGen is a compiler which generates OpenFlow serialization and de-serialization libraries for C and Java. I have used the tool before and was able to build on my own work introducing the necessary message types for my GSoC project. Since I have chosen ONOS as my Software-Defined Networking (SDN) controller, I used ONOS’ fork of LoxiGen as a starting point. This required hard-coding some message types to make ONOS’ fork produce valid C libraries. I am planning to get in touch with LoxiGen’s maintainers soon to try and figure out if some of my work can be used towards a merge of the two diverted code bases.

[Edit: Major change of plan]

In an older version of this blog post, I wrote that I was going to implement a kernel module to enable the de-coupling of hostapd and the physical access point. Yesterday, I had a long discussion with my mentor and Johannes, another GSoC participant for Freifunk (read about his project here). We decided to drastically change the direction of my project. Instead of aiming for the (undoubtedly) cool and advanced feature of running hostapd as a Virtual Network Function, I am going to focus my efforts on a simpler use-case. The reasoning is to have a more stable and ready-to-use toolset for the management of larger OpenWRT/LEDE deployments in the end. In other words: Do less but do it well.

To this end, Johannes and I are going to work on a set of interfaces to make our projects compatible. The vision is as follows: I am going to write an SDN application that registers the ONOS controller with Johannes’ OpenWifi server. Whenever a new access point joins the network, it discovers the OpenWifi server and fetches its configuration from it. Included in this configuration are the address and port of the ONOS controller. Thus, the new network node is able to connect to the SDN controller without the need for manual configuration by the network operator.

Next Steps

As mentioned above, Johannes and I will have to establish interfaces for our projects to interact. We also need to set up a combined testbed to test our implementations. On my end, I will start by adding the possibility to configure the OpenWRT/LEDE agent that connects to the ONOS controller through UCI. That way, the agent’s configuration can be queried and altered through the OpenWifi REST API. This should be rather simple. Next, I will write a proper REST API for my controller as well as the application that communicates with the OpenWifi server. Then, I will add features for network management such as the ability to move clients to a specific access point or to ban them from connecting altogether. Lastly, I will write SDN applications for automatic network management, for example, a load balancer that distributes clients evenly across available access points that is powered by the data stored in a client hearing map.

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