Protocol Labs Research
2023-01-10 / Blog
Announcing the final award for RFP-011, "Changing the Internet"

PL Research is pleased to announce the final research proposal funded as part of the Changing the Internet Initiative: a project by Maria Apostolaki and Jennifer Rexford of Princeton University’s Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science departments, respectively, to improve the state of the art in routing and edge networking. In the researchers' own words:

In their unrelenting quest for lower latency, cloud providers are deploying servers closer to their customers and enterprises are adopting paid Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) offerings with performance guarantees.

Unfortunately, these trends contribute to greater industry consolidation, benefiting larger companies and well-served regions while leaving little room for smaller cloud providers and enterprises to flourish. Instead, we argue that the public Internet could offer good enough performance if only edge networks could control wide-area routing.

More concretely, we envision an incrementally deployable system, namely Tango, that allows individual pairs of edge networks (e.g., access, enterprise, and data-center networks) to optimize Internet paths between them without collaboration from the Intenet core. Tango relies on the cooperation between the two edge networks to expose more wide-area paths, and achieve accurate and trustworthy monitoring. While a single cooperative pair of Tango edge networks is already beneficial, it barely scratches the surface of what is possible with a Tango overlay i.e., a set of edge-network PoPs (hardware and/or software) that collaboratively optimize paths between them. If successful our proposal will allow edge networks to make the most out of the public Internet, effectively fighting the industry consolidation and the associated privacy, financial, and political risks.

PL Research is excited to support work on new ideas for building the next generation of the internet. While the Changing the Internet RFP has closed, we encourage interested researchers to check out our open RFPs, particularly RFP-014, “Private Retrieval of Data”, and to reach out to us via email with any questions at Submit your proposal using our application management system at