PhD Studentship: Resilient Network Policy Enforcement in Heterogeneous Network Environments

Loughborough University

Start date of studentship: 1st October 2018


Primary supervisor: Dr Posco Tso

This project aims to harden network resilience and security by ensuring that network polices are consistently enforced throughout different networks through intelligent chaining of network functions in heterogeneous network environments such as data centres and 5G networks.  You will be joining a world-class research group in the Computer Science Department and will have the opportunity to work on a cutting-edge research project in network management, developing most sought-after technical skills in information and communication technologies (ICT).

Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014). In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career.

Full Project Detail:

Today's operators deploy a great variety of network functions (NFs) such as firewall, intrusion prevention/detection system, deep packet inspection, load balancer, etc., in the network to safeguard networks and improve application performance.

In practice, various permutations of these functions form an ordered composition (or chain) - as defined by a network policy - that must be applied to packets in uni-directional or bi-directional manner. This process is also known as network service chaining. Hence, network policy enforcement implies correct and efficient chaining of NFs. The chain of NFs will then be placed onto different Network Function Boxes (NFBs).

Nevertheless, the network heterogeneity (e.g. WiFi networks in coffee shops v.s. data centre networks etc.) presents great challenges in correct and efficient chaining of NFs. This project will investigate a novel network policy enforcement scheme in heterogeneous network environments. This includes experimentally benchmark that processing capacity of NFBs and its limiting factors and demonstrate the possibility of NF re-ordering from performance enhancement without compromising the context of the original chain. We will also analytically formulate a Heterogeneous Network Policy Placement problem, which can always find an optimal service chain path for each policy, with an objective of minimising network latency.

Find out more:

Entry requirements:

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in Computer Science or a related subject. A relevant Master’s degree and/or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: Software Defined Networking, Network Function Virtualisation, Computer Networking, Network Security.

Funding information:

This studentship will be awarded on a competitive basis to applicants who have applied to this project and/or any of the advertised projects prioritised for funding by the School of Science.

The 3-year studentship provides a tax-free stipend of £14,553 (2017 rate) per annum (in line with the standard research council rates) for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. International (non-EU) students may apply however the total value of the studentship will be used towards the cost of the International tuition fee in the first instance.

Contact details:

Name:  Dr Posco Tso


Tel: +44 1509 223078

How to apply:

Applications should be made online at Under programme name select Computer Science.

Please quote reference: PT/CO/2018.

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