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Charting an Intent Driven Network

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The strong divide between applications and the network control plane is desirable, but keeps the network in the dark regarding the ultimate purpose of applications and, as a result, is unable to optimize for these. An alternative approach is for applications to declare to the network their abstract desires; e.g. “I require group multicast”, or “I will run within a local domain and am latency sensitive”. Such an enriched semantic has the potential to enable the network to better fulfill application intent, while also helping optimize network resource usage across applications. We refer to this approach as intent driven networking (IDN). We sketch an incrementally-deployable design to serve as a stepping stone towards a practical realization of IDN within today’s Internet.