Optimizing Existing
Networks for
Data Acquisition

Contact Information

Todd A. Newton
Senior Research Engineer
Intelligent Network Systems
(210) 522-5348

image: networks

Geographically separated networks with a mobile network

Virtual router

"Virtual router" created by SwRI's network optimization framework


Standard networks are already deployed at most facilities, and using the existing network as a data acquisition delivery backbone is a logical choice for transporting data. However, standard, "untuned" networking cannot adequately address the throughput and latency delivery requirements of some network systems. These backbones are often coupled with many other data processing functions, therefore, adjusting the network backbone solely for the test community is not feasible.

In an effort to use the existing backbones and also allow tuning of the data delivery by the engineer, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has developed a framework for creating virtual network fabric devices (routers, switches, smart hubs). In this way, test engineers can create their own delivery network on top of the existing backbone. These specialized networks provide test engineers with full control to enforce quality of service (QoS), multicast, and other routing functions specific to their needs.


The SwRI framework provides building blocks that perform like typical items such as interfaces, links, and more. Logical groupings of physically and/or geographically separated network interfaces can operate together for IP routing. Constructing higher-level network components such as hubs, switches and routers supports RFC compliance and also allows further specialization.

SwRI's version of a framework-generated RFC 1812-compliant router ("virtual router") managed directly by the test engineer includes:

  • Quality of service
  • Adjustable DiffServ Compliant rules
  • IGMP (Internet Group Management Protocol)
  • Static and dynamic routing
  • Specialized IP spaces
  • Reliable multicast data delivery
  • Data encryption and tunneling within the virtual router "network fabric"
  • Redundant routing rules and paths with failover options
  • Duplicate packet filtering

Reducing the complexity of the end-to-end network path to a single logical router that connects each network of interest allows for the enforcement of end-to-end QoS. With the system-level view, the virtual router is able to enforce the system policies for network latency of critical and time-sensitive data such as voice and video.

SwRI's network optimization framework provides test engineers with end-to-end control mechanisms needed to address specific problems.

The Network Systems Research Lab at SwRI provides flexible testing, emulation, and simulation of a wide variety of network technologies and topologies. The heart of this capability is a rapidly reconfigurable discrete and virtual server cluster that can emulate at least 75 physical network devices with aggregate data rates greater than 50 gigabits per second. This capability combined with SwRI’s experience and a combination of other network test and analysis tools allows test and evaluation of specialized network device problems in areas such as timing, throughput, and latency not possible elsewhere.

Related Terminology

data acquisition delivery •  existing networks •  backbones •  data delivery backbone •  framework •  virtual network devices •  smart hubs

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Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 9 technical divisions.