The ETSI ISG NGP (Next Generation Protocols), has just published a group report with a comprehensive overview of RINA, which is available via the following link. The document has been edited by i2CAT, with contributions from TelefonicaVodafone and Boston University.


Today most network protocols loosely follow the layering structure of the OSI network architecture. Protocols are organized in a static number of layers, in which each layer provides a different function to the layer above. The limitations of such structure have led to an explosion in the number of protocols at each layer with little or no commonality, layer violations and the need for ad-hoc extensions in the number of layers where the architecture could not model real-world networks with enough fidelity (e.g. layers 2,5 or 3,5, virtual networks, etc.). SDOs independently develop protocols for different layers of the protocol architecture, many times replicating each other’s work and leading to inefficiencies at the system level. This results in:

a) networks that are highly complex to operate and troubleshoot;

b) specification and implementation of new protocols which add little value to the existing base; and

c) an overall networked system that is far from an optimal integration level from a systems design perspective.

The present document discusses the properties of RINA, the Recursive InterNetwork Architecture. Network architecture captures all the rules and patterns that are independent of the requirements addressed by individual network protocols. It solves the problems that are generic to any network (e.g. structure, naming and addressing, security models or QoS) at the architecture level, avoiding the need for individual protocols to solve these problems by themselves. RINA has been designed to capture the invariants of all forms of networking, providing SDOs and network designers with a common framework and methodology to design and build protocols for any type of network. Thus a network protocol architecture like RINA encourages networks with fewer protocols and more commonality, more cooperation between SDOs and simpler and more predictable networks.