DARPA wants to toughen-up WAN edge networking, security

DARPA envisions super-intelligent WAN devices at smart WAN edge

Researchers at DARPA will in December detail a new program it expects will strengthen technologies used to support networking and security technologies at the WAN edge.

Details of what exactly DARPA is looking add under the new program, known as EDICT or Edge-Directed Cyber Technologies for Reliable Mission Communication, are skimpy but the agency provided the following description: “The objective of the EDICT program is to bolster the resilience of communication over IP networks solely by instantiating new capabilities in computing devices within user enclaves at the WAN edge. It is envisioned that systems developed within this program will combine real- time network analytics, holistic decision systems, and dynamically configurable protocol stacks to mitigate WAN failures and attacks on the fly, in a mission-aware fashion. Protocols in scope for this program include those at the network, transport, and application layers of the five-layer protocol reference model.”

DARPA went on to state that the networking research community has invested heavily in hardening network infrastructure to mitigate or prevent network events.

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“The wide-area network (WAN) infrastructure that supports this communication is vulnerable to a wide range of failures and cyber attacks that can severely impair connectivity and mission effectiveness at critical junctures. Rapid recovery from such events is critical for ensuring mission success. In the current art, however, recovery can take anywhere from tens of minutes to several hours or more, depending on the nature of the event(s).”


“Unfortunately, the specter of human error, malicious insider actions, increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks against network infrastructure, and high WAN complexity (which in turns creates complex failure modes) still constitutes a grave threat to mission communication. Therefore, new approaches to providing reliable communication are needed,” DARPA stated.

In December the agency will hold a Proposers Day to fill in some details of the program and what it could achieve.

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