The University of Southampton

Undergraduate project success deployed at Cisco Conference

Published: 2 February 2009

A networking security tool developed in his Individual Research Project by an ECS undergraduate student was deployed last week at the Cisco Networkers Conference in Barcelona.

The tool, named RAMOND, improves the security and robustness of the IPv6 next-generation Internet Protocol, particularly on wireless networks such as that available at the Networkers conference.

As the availability of IPv4 address space continues to fall - with its exhaustion projected for 2011 - IPv6 will become increasingly important as the means to support a hugely increased number of Internet-connected devices. IPv6 also offers other potential advantages in areas such as autoconfiguration and mobility.

IPv6 autoconfiguration relies on special router advertisement messages on the network. Until stronger IPv6 security is more widely used, it is possible for 'rogue' router advertisements to cause problems for IPv6 devices connecting to networks. If not detected or suppressed, these rogue advertisements can cause laptops or PCs using IPv6 to become incorrectly configured and possibly be exposed to attack. James took an existing project called RAFIXD that was an initial attempt to counter this problem, he worked on the code to improve it, and then developed it into a new more flexible package called RAMOND.

RAMOND can now monitor multiple interfaces, react to multiple advertised- prefixes and is scriptable. It is Open Source, and available to download.

James’s IRP on RAMOND was supervised by Dr Tim Chown in ECS, who has led the School's interest in IPv6 research and deployment for over 10 years. He commented: 'James's IRP was excellent in that he researched IPv6 deployment issues, found a problem that needed an interim but immediate solution, and developed an open source package that did the job. Hopefully a lot of people will benefit from his work.'

ECS students undertake the Individual Research Project in the third year of their undergraduate degree. The project runs throughout the year, and comprises an engineering exercise in which there is scope for flair and originality. The end result will typically be some demonstrable software or hardware, together with a 10,000 word final report. The IRP is an essential component of all degree programmes in the School.

James graduated from ECS last year with an MEng degree Computer Engineering and is now working in the School on other IPv6 projects.

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