Using active networking to detect and troubleshoot issues in tactical data networks
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Troubleshooting in tactical data networks is often performed with a common toolset of programs, such as ping, traceroute, and proto-cols such as Simple Network Management Protocol. The assumption with such tools and protocols is that the logical configuration of the network is correct; if it is not, these tools could fail or return inconclusive results. While failure can be useful to prove a problem exists, it often does not provide enough data to actually diagnose the issue. Protocols such as Link Layer Discovery Protocol exist to troubleshoot from the data-link layer, but these protocols cannot operate between subnets. This limits their usefulness in tactical networks. An active networking project known as XPLANE has been developed at the Naval Postgraduate School with these issues in mind. XPLANE allows network operators to take active measurements in a network without relying on the logical layer. This ability is extremely important in live tactical networks, particularly when there is significant geographic separation between nodes. Before XPLANE can be used in tactical networks, important issues around security and the XPLANE’s user interface must be resolved. This thesis explores the relevance of XPLANE in tactical networks and develops a front-end to XPLANE for tactical network operators.
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