COPS: Quality of Service vs. Any Service at All

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Todays networks are awash in illegitimate traffic: port scans, propagating worms, and illegal peer-to-peer transfers of materials [8]. This “noise” has created such a crescendo that legitimate traffic is starved for network resources. Essential network services, like DNS and remote file systems, are rendered unavailable. The challenge is no longer “quality of service” but rather “any service at all”. Techniques must be developed to identify and segregate traffic into good, bad, and suspicious classes. Quality of Service should now protect the good, block the bad, and slow the ugly when the network is under stress of high resource utilization. We discuss the research challenges and outline a possible architectural approach: COPS (Checking, Observing, and Protecting Services). It is founded on “Inspection-and-Action Boxes” (iBoxes) and packet annotations. The former are middlebox network elements able to inspect packets deeply while performing filtering, shaping, and labelling actions upon them. The latter is a new layer between routing and transport that tags packets for control purposes while also providing an in-band control plane for managing iBoxes across a network.