NEAT aims at offering a richer set of services to application developers and at enabling innovations across the protocol stack. For this purpose, three main objectives have been defined:

  1. To design an extensible architecture that decouples the services offered to applications from the protocols, underlying operating systems and platforms, as illustrated below.
Without NEAT (left), the application is tied by an a priori choice to protocol X; when the path changes, protocol Y is not used even if both hosts and the new path B support it. With NEAT (right), the application can transparently benefit from protocol Y that is supported by the new path B.
  1. To develop and test a reference implementation of the NEAT transport system that realises its functionality.
  2. To facilitate the broad adoption of NEAT outcomes, by promoting the results for standardisation and releasing the reference implementation as open-source software.

NEAT will make it easier to develop and deploy applications that efficiently communicate across the Internet. This goal is reached by designing, implementing and deploying:

  • A new and advanced API that allows applications to state their needs for communications services.
  • An architecture that can coherently offer existing and new communications services to applications.
  • An architecture that can interact with the network to improve the applications’ experience.

Four use cases have been initially selected to drive the design work:

  • Mobile broadband scenario, considering multi-homed terminals.
  • Connecting emerging-market mobile clients to first class Web Services.
  • Interactive applications.
  • Cloud platforms with distributed storage solutions across a network of datacentres.