As part of a broader organisational restructure, data networking research at Swinburne University of Technology has moved from the Centre for Advanced Internet Architecture (CAIA) to the Internet For Things (I4T) Research Lab.

Although CAIA no longer exists, this website reflects CAIA's activities and outputs between March 2002 and February 2017, and is being maintained as a service to the broader data networking research community.

Inverted Capacity Extended Engineering Experiment (ICE3)


The recent widespread uptake of broadband access technologies has led to a shift in how the Internet is being used. The availability of an always-connected, high-speed Internet connection means that home users are increasingly likely to use the Internet as an information repository and content delivery resource. Higher content access speeds coupled with a zero connection time means that Internet usage can become more spontaneous rather than planned for.

An always-on broadband Internet also increases the range of applications that users are willing to try and adopt, beyond the current staple diet of web surfing and email. Exposure to peer-to-peer applications, voice-based phone-like systems (VoIP), and interactive multi-player games, creates further interest in these more advanced applications involving mass data transfer and/or real-time telecommunications.

The traditional Internet access model involves low bandwidth last-mile circuits aggregating into higher bandwidth metropolitan, regional, and international backbones. Consumer market last-mile access typically involves 56K dial-up, cable modem, or ADSL technologies. Regional backbones are often measured in gigabits per second, and many international backbones have capacities in the hundreds of megabits per second.

Of particular interest is whether the current Internet architecture could support an explosion in the patronage of these services and applications. This leads to the questions of what network and applications developers should keep in mind when designing these systems.

What would happen if we inverted this capacity hierarchy?

This question is no longer purely theoretical. Many countries are - or already have - deploying high-speed broadband to their citizens. Australia has joined this online revolution with the announcement and initial deployment of the National Broadband Network (NBN). The upshot is that in the near future we will an increasing number of users connecting to the Internet at rates up to 100Mbps, with the promise of up to 1Gbps.

In this environment, we could image that town- and city-wide broadband IP access is provided as a common utility service (like electricity and gas). Every suburb's IP customers could be milliseconds (and only a few hops) away from each other. Every town library could run web-caches for their neighborhoods, revitalizing their roles as 21st century information repositories.

ICE3 aims to characterize the performance and service quality impact of inverting the content and capacity hierarchy, with particular reference to the impact on the perceived performance of existing networked applications.


ICE3 encompasses the following topics:

  • Evaluate the performance characteristics of some existing and emerging content distribution methods (e.g. Email, Web, or peer to peer methods) as a function of network bandwidth, latency, and hop counts (e.g. the dynamic behavior of the underlying transport protocols, such as TCP)
  • Develop plausible, alternative IP network architectures based on inverting the existing bandwidth and service location hierarchy, including large scale distribution of content caches around urban areas.
  • Evaluate the consumer's likely experience if such alternative IP network architectures were deployed, and the impact on wide- and local-area IP traffic patterns and load growth.

As part of this project we will develop and release tools to assist in data gathering and analysis, and publish interim results and papers on this website.

Program Members

Jason But
Philip Branch
Sebastian Zander
Tony Cricenti
Grenville Armitage

(Alumni: David Prior, Clancy Malcolm, Wendy Vanhonacker, Claudio Favi)

Last Updated: Monday 29-Aug-2011 12:03:27 AEST | Maintained by: Jason But ( | Authorised by: Grenville Armitage (