The overarching goal of the FINS Framework project is to make experimental networking research easier. Current experimental networking endeavors typically involve activities like modifying and rebuilding the Linux kernel or deploying and monitoring a few dozen laptops in a mobile ad-hoc network. Both of these and their other associated difficulties are complex tasks for many reasons. Our goal is to provide tools and knowledge that will help make these tasks easier or alleviate them completely.
The FINS Framework ties into the Linux networking subsystem and provides an API for researchers to create new protocols and modify FINS-developed versions of existing, standard protocols (TCP, IP, etc.) and test them without having to work within the Linux kernel. This should avoid the need to become a kernel hacker and the time needed to recompile the Linux kernel again and again.
In addition to avoiding the complexities of the Linux kernel, this project will reduce some of the logistical complexities associated with networking research experiments, such as the logistical difficulty of managing nodes in an experiment. This is accomplished by the FINS Framework being developed for not only laptop computers but mobile devices that run the Google Android operating system; form factors range from phones to tablets in this genre. Additionally, this project will include a tool for managing nodes during before, during, and after experiments. This motivation for this aspect of the project came from our experiences during the MANIAC Challenge project.
In the end, we will develop pieces that will help researchers, like us, create and test ideas with less manpower and in less time. Once again, necessity is proving to be the mother of invention.