You are here

Advances in Network Services Chain

Feature Topic


Several business research forecasts sustain the necessity of a more open software- and user- centric approach towards networking. During the last years, the interested scientific community has witnessed the emergence of a whole range of novel network architectures. To name just a few of them, we could enumerate Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV).

However all these advances may be insufficient for providing full openness and user-centric infrastructures. For example, SDN has reached a high popularity but fails in opening the platform to the end users. Network programmability in SDN is in charge of the operator of the service. Something similar occurs in the case of NFV, where the applications (network services) are controlled by the service providers.

Therefore, a number of suggestions for improving existing architectures have been proposed with the objective to provide an open and extensible networking platform, capable of counteracting the increased dominance of few but mighty global players in the fields of internet technology, information storage and social media. Between these promising technologies and implementation patterns let us emphasize Microservices architectures, Adaptive Security and Containerization. On the (distributed) data storage mechanisms side, emerging strongly, we can name Blockchain and other similar approaches.

Microservices are starting to get a lot of attention in the two or three years although the programming pattern itself is not so new. An application that is designed in a microservice-like style implies that the programming of composing modules as stand-alone services communicating with each other is figured in a lightweight manner, often using a REST/Http API. The main difference to the classic Monolithic Applications (built a single module/entity) or even Enterprise Applications (often constructed as a 2 or 3-tier system with a frontend, backend and database layer) is the splitting of the application functionality into independently deployable components (the microservices) each one being designed to scale independently from the others. Also, service boundaries are clean, opening the possibility to write the microservices (belonging to the same application) even in different programming languages.

In this context, this Feature Topic (FT) aims to promote new research for providing mechanisms and introducing them to the existing (or novel) architectures in order to increase openness and user-centric capabilities of networking infrastructures. Such mechanisms and programming patterns may be based on old solutions but decisively should help the new architectures to deal with the most outstanding problematics for becoming open software-centric and user-centric.

Contributions to the following topics are of specific interest, but are not limited to:

  • modularized open networking platforms
  • mechanisms for real-time data aggregation
  • Novelties on Microservices architectures
  • All-software approach; Beyond current solutions
  • Introduction of containerization in networking
  • User-centrism paradigm in distributed architectures
  • Decentralization of data and data aggregation
  • Open architectures and platforms
  • Advances on user-centric Network Function Virtualization
  • Novel solutions of Open Software Defined Networking
  • Edge computing in contrast to the Network Function Virtualization and Microservices architectures

Since our aim with this feature topic (FT) is to provide a balanced overview of the current state of the art of using wireless technologies for development, we solicit papers from both industry professionals and researchers, and we are interested in both reports of experience and in new technical insights/ideas.


Jordi Mongay Batalla
National Institute of Telecommunications, Poland

Constandinos X. Mavromoustakis
University of Nicosia, Cyprus

Naveen Chilamkurti
La Trobe University, Australia

George Mastorakis
Technological Educational Institute of Crete, Greece

Ciprian Dobre
University Polytechnic of Bucharest, Romania

Stefan Schaeckeler
Cisco Systems, CA, US