The switchware active network architecture

D. Scott Alexander, William A. Arbaugh, Michael W. Hicks, Pankaj Kakkar, Angelos D. Keromytis, Jonathan T. Moore, Carl A. Gunter, Scott M. Nettles, Jonathan M. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Active networks must balance the flexibility of a programmable network infrastruc-ture against the safety and security requirements inherent in sharing that infrastructure. Furthermore, this balance must be achieved while maintaining the usability of the network. The SwitchWare active network architecture is a novel approach to achieving this balance using three layers: active packets, which contain mobile programs that replace traditional packets; active extensions, which provide services on the network elements and can be dynamically loaded; and a secure active router infrastructure, which forms a high-integrity base on which the security of the other layers depends. In addition to integrity checking and cryptography-based authentication, security in our architecture depends heavily on verification techniques from programming languages, such as strong type checking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-36
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Network
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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