Bell Labs has been home to a long list of researchers who have had a leading role in defining new network architectures that are both commercially viable and enable strikingly new kinds of services and capabilities. 

Douglas Ring and Rae Yong conceived the cellular architecture used to provide mobile services back in 1947; their work served as the basis for the designs developed by Joe Engel, Phil Porter and Richard Frenkiel in the 1970s. Amos Joel and his colleagues led the transition to digital-switched architectures, while others pioneered lightwave and satellite-based networks in the 1960s and early 1970s. In the early 2000s, Gee Rittenhouse and his team pioneered the development of flat-IP mobile networks, while T. V. Lakshman, Krishan Sabnani and Thomas Woo were co-authors of a paper that introduced key concepts that are at the core of today’s emerging Software Defined Network architectures.

The very nature of Software Defined Networks (SDNs) requires that we rethink our approaches about both control (refer to Distributed Systems & Controls) as well as network configurations. Murali Kodialam and T. V. Lakshman are designing new methods for traffic engineering in SDN environments, while Kedar Namjoshi, Ramesh Viswanathan and Krishan Sabnani are investigating generalized techniques for verifying SDN configurations for global routing requirements.

Power output resulting from deployment models / options w.r.t. idle modes
Power output resulting from deployment models / options w.r.t. idle modes.

In the realm of small cell networks, Holger Claussen and his team are exploring machine learning techniques such as genetic evolution for use in the deployment and self-management of small cell networks, while Buvana Ramanan, Larry Drabeck, and Tian Bu are advancing the use of virtualization and SDN-inspired enhanced packet core concepts.

Exploring opportunities for dramatic improvements in the energy efficiency of networks is another area of active network architecture research. Teams are exploring protocols (dynamic idle modes, bit interleaving protocols in PON, etc.) and novel traffic management models, as well as being active participants in the GreenTouch consortium.