Feasibility analysis of new Internet protocols: Methods and case studies

Tapio Levä

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


The Internet standardization community actively develops new Internet protocols as a response to challenges with the existing protocols and the requirements of new application areas. However, many of these protocols fail to achieve their expectations due to limited deployment. A significant reason for the lack of deployment seems to be that the stakeholders' incentives and the dynamics of protocol deployment are not sufficiently understood and taken into account during the protocol development. Consequently, new protocols end up being techno-economically infeasible and significant development effort is wasted. This dissertation aims for improving the techno-economic feasibility of new Internet protocols by increasing the understanding of the dynamics of protocol deployment and the factors affecting the feasibility of Internet protocols. Additionally, the dissertation develops methods for analyzing the deployment and feasibility of Internet protocols. The research builds on three in-depth case studies that apply multiple research methods to analyze the feasibility of multipath TCP, host identity protocol and constrained application protocol. Then, the results of these case studies are combined with the existing literature on innovation diffusion and network economics to construct frameworks for both measuring the deployment and analyzing the feasibility of Internet protocols. The results show that, due to the protocols' nature as software components embedded in software and hardware products, the technology-push from hardware and software providers affects significantly protocol deployment. The end users may also be unaware that they have acquired, and even started, using protocols. These factors combined result in large gaps between the number of end users possessing a protocol and the number of those using it. The constructed feasibility analysis framework is another key result of the dissertation, as it provides a systematic process description and research method toolbox for identifying the deployment challenges and proposing solutions to them already during the protocol development. Finally, the protocol case studies identify new factors affecting the feasibility of Internet protocols. The results highlight the importance of analyzing the feasibility of new Internet protocols systematically from the beginning of protocol development, spanning throughout the protocol deployment and covering all the relevant stakeholders. Measuring protocol deployment can support the feasibility analysis by identifying the deployment bottlenecks and improving the understanding of the dynamics of protocol deployment. Systematic, techno-economic feasibility analysis can help protocol developers to improve the feasibility of their protocols and the deploying stakeholders to make more informed deployment decisions.
Translated title of the contributionUusien Internet-protokollien toteutettavuusanalyysi: Menetelmiä ja tapaustutkimuksia
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Hämmäinen, Heikki, Supervising Professor
  • Hämmäinen, Heikki, Thesis Advisor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-5792-7
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-5793-4
Publication statusPublished - 2014
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • Internet protocols
  • diffusion
  • feasibility
  • techno-economic analysis

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