A Mobile Agent Based Service Architecture for Internet Telephony
Abstract: Internet Telephony defined as real time voice or multimediacommunications over packet switched networks dates back to theearly days of the Internet. ARPA's Network SecureCommunications project had implemented, as early as December1973, an infrastructure for local and transnet real time voicecommunication. Two main sets of standards have emerged: H. 323from the ITU-T and the session initiation protocol (SIP) fromthe Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Both includespecifications for value added services. Value added services,or more simply services, are critical to service providers'survival and success. Unfortunately, the service architecturesthat come with the ITU-T and the IETF sets of standards arerather weak. Although they are constantly evolving,alternatives and complements need to be researched. This thesiswhich is made up of a formal dissertation and 6 appendices,proposes a novel mobile agent based service architecture forInternet Telephony. The architecture addresses the issues noneof the existing architectures solves in a satisfactory manner.Furthermore it adds mobile agents to the panoply of servicecreation tools. The appendices are reprints of articlespublished in refereed magazines/journals or under considerationfor publication. The formal dissertation is a summary of thepublications. A consistent and comprehensive set ofrequirements are derived. They are TINA-C flavored, but adaptedto Internet Telephony. They are used to critically reviewrelated work and also used to motivate the use of mobile agentsas the pillars of a novel architecture. The components of thisnovel architecture are identified. The key component is themobile service agent. It acts as a folder and carriesservice(s) to which the end-user has subscribed. Mobile serviceagents need to be upgraded when new versions of service logicare available and when end-users make changes to service data.This thesis proposes a novel upgrading framework. The currentInternet infrastructure comprises a wide range of hosts. Mobileagent platforms are now available for most of thesehosts/clients including memory/processing power constrainedPDAs. Our mobile service agents need to adapt to hostvariability when roaming. A novel adaptivity framework is alsoproposed. These two frameworks are general and can be appliedto any other mobile agent which meets a basic set ofassumptions. A key advantage of a mobile agent based servicearchitecture is that it enables the developement of mobileagent based services. The thesis proposes a novel mobile agentbased multi-party session scheduler. The feasibility and theadvantages of the architecture proposed by this thesis havebeen demonstrated by a prototype on which measurements havebeen made. Future work includes the addition of a securityframework to the architecture, and refinenements to theupgrading and adaptivity frameworks. More mobile agent basedservices, especially mobile multi agent based services willalso be developed.
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