Why Session-Based Routers Will Fix the Internet

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What Is a Session?

What is a session and why does it make a router smarter?

A session is a two-way exchange of information and is comprised of related flows in both directions; it is a lot like a phone call. Today, almost every network involves bi-directional sessions to move packets, and nearly all of the advanced service functions that have emerged, like firewalls, load balancers, etc., are required to have an understanding of and control over network sessions.

A session-oriented router can route traffic end to end, making packet transmission fundamentally simpler and more transparent, all while offering benefits like improved security, control and agility. Using sessions enables these benefits because the software is intelligent enough to dynamically optimize how and where packets travel through the network. Session management has traditionally been done higher up on the open system interconnection (OSI) stack by the endpoints communicating with each other, and not aware of all the other sessions on the network. Layer 3 session awareness enables the router to dynamically manage all sessions going across a network in an intelligent way and provide end-to-end visibility, even across private network boundaries and network address translation (NAT) devices.

The Internet is built around routers, yet there has been little innovation in routing itself for decades. Early networks mainly involved just packets and flows within private networks. With the rapid expansion of the Internet in the 1990s, the first round of modifications focused on improving "speeds and feeds" through specialized hardware.

The router of yesterday was not designed to handle the mobile and cloud applications that exist today because it was originally built to send packets between a series of computers, not deliver services across both private and public networks. As a result, an entire industry has emerged around routers to deliver bolt-on functionality such as firewalls and load balancers.

What's more, controlling how packets move between endpoints and through routing devices often involves adding a new network on top of the existing network, referred to as an overlay. Overlay networks don't address the underlying issues with networking, they compound them, which can be complex and expensive. Enabling all of these technologies to work together reliably and securely is very difficult, making the Internet as we know it complex, fragile and insecure.

The router of tomorrow needs to operate differently and more intelligently to handle today's network demands, as well as the demands of the future, such as those for IoT and increased video traffic driven by collaboration, monitoring and virtual reality. That's where session-based routing comes in. A software-based router that is session-oriented and deterministic can drastically simplify the network, eliminating complexity such as middleboxes and tunneling and overlay technologies, and making it possible to deliver all the end-to-end benefits enterprises need, such as native security/encryption, policy-based routing and more.

In this slideshow, 128 Technology explains the concept of session-based routing and outlines the four key reasons why session-based routers will fix the Internet.


Related Topics : Blade Servers, Business Integration, Ethernet, LAN, Network Protocols

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