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FERN: A Unifying Framework For Name Resolution Across Heterogeneous Architectures


A key problem in all name resolution protocols today is that no one protocol performs well across all network architectures. In addition, DNS, the most widespread solution today, depends on a static and connected network layer and faces significant challenges in dynamic wireless networks. We introduce FERN (Federated Extensible Resolution of Names), the first framework designed to enable efficient name resolution across heterogeneous systems operating in dynamic or static networks. FERN organizes nodes into name resolution groups and allows each group to perform name resolution independently and in a manner best suited for that group. FERN arranges these name resolution groups into a hierarchy and allows these groups to communicate efficiently, discover each other’s presence, and resolve each other’s names. We demonstrate the flexibility and interoperability of FERN by deploying and evaluating it across heterogeneous environments, including a MANET, an infrastructure-based wireless network, and the Internet. We show that FERN performs at least as well as DNS, and yet extends name resolution to networks in which DNS is inadequate.

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