RON Logo


"Because, sometimes, the Internet doesn't quite work..."

The MIT RON (Resilient Overlay Networks) project is a DARPA-funded effort motivated by the desire to improve the robustness and availability of Internet paths between hosts by an order of magnitude over today's wide-area Internet routing infrastructure.  The key design goal in RON is to develop techniques to allow end-hosts and applications to cooperatively gain improved reliability and performance from the Internet. At a glance, RON nodes examine the condition of the Internet between themselves and the other nodes, and, based upon how the network looks, decide if they should let packets flow directly to other nodes, or if they should send them indirectly via other RON nodes.  For instance, the group of cooperating systems below can mutually provide a more available and better-performing routing service than what vanilla Internet routing can provide.

RON example

RON is an architecture that allows a small group of distributed Internet applications to detect and recover from path outages and periods of degraded performance within several seconds, improving over today's wide-area routing protocols that take at least several minutes to recover. A RON is an application-layer overlay on top of the existing Internet routing substrate. The RON nodes monitor the functioning and quality of the Internet paths among themselves, and use this information to decide whether to route packets directly over the Internet or by way of other RON nodes, optimizing application-specific routing metrics.

The RON project has several components, including:

RON is part of a larger research agenda on large-scale, robust, Internet-based distributed systems, which spans areas ranging from resilient routing (as in RON) to emerging peer-to-peer systems. Our work on peer-to-peer systems is based on Chord, a scalable p2p lookup service.

RON is also closely related to other current projects at LCS in the area of robust Internet infrastructures and uses some of the ideas from these projects: CM , the Inernet Congestion Manager; and Click-SMP , a modular PC-based router.

RON data, Internet experiments

RON deployment sites

Since early 2001, we have run a real-life RON, which now has 17 sites located around the Internet.  Our deployment is international.  We have also collected extensive data sets and analyzed them.  They will soon be made publicly available on this page.





Faculty/PIs:  Hari Balakrishnan   M. Frans Kaashoek   David Karger   Robert Morris  

Graduate Students:  David Andersen  Nick Feamster   Jaeyeon Jung   Todd Nightingale   Stan Rost   Alex Snoeren   Jacob Strauss

Collaborators: Ion Stoica


Network Characterization

Measurement Tools

Overlay Networks


We gratefully acknowledge funding for RON from DARPA under the Fault-Tolerant Networking (FTN) program of the ATO; it is being supported by DARPA and the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SPAWAR), San Diego, under contract N66001-00-1-8933.


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