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Time Critical Clouds

Time Critical Clouds (TCC)

Advances towards programmable, software-defined and virtualized network services call for intelligent digital infrastructures with capabilities of guaranteeing reliable connectivity and services in line with the application requirements.

TCC testbed overview
Photo: Rebecca Steinert
TCC testbed overview.

Aim and goal

The objective of the project is to enable latency-bounded key-value requests for clients using applications deployed in geo-distributed data centers. This is a typical cloud setup, e.g., for large-scale intelligent transportation systems in the future.


Network technologies and methods based on information and autonomous decision making is fundamental for running highly distributed systems as fast as needed to increase traffic throughput while maintaining robust and reliable connectivity. Guaranteed end-to-end latencies from, for example, an autonomous vehicle and a data center providing recent traffic situation updates, is really a matter of added safety and central for a pleasant user experience.


We research and develop fundamental mechanisms for resource coordination and intelligent traffic forwarding in wireless and wired networks fulfilling specified requirements on service performance.

Ongoing activities

We research and develop fundamental mechanisms for resource coordination and intelligent traffic forwarding in wireless and wired networks fulfilling specified requirements on service performance.

TCC is funded by the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (SSF) and is carried out in close collaboration between the Network Intelligence group at RISE and the Network Systems Laboratory (NSLAB) at KTH. The project is supported by Scania, Ericsson and Telia in the industrial advisory board.

TCC testbed vehicle.
Photo: Rebecca Steinert
TCC testbed vehicle.

The Time-Critical Clouds testbed

The functionality of the testbed was recently demonstrated at the RISE Open House in Kista 2018. Our testbed in TCC is unique, as it is the first hybrid-infrastructure (LAN/WAN/Cloud) in the world running state-of-the art methods for forwarding traffic over both wireless and wired technology all the way to the data center and back to the client. The infrastructure is partially programmable - we have implemented customized high-performance network and controller software in all network entities we control.

Although the testbed is an early prototype of what is to be continuously extended and developed over the next years (within and beyond TCC), we have already now shown that we can remotely control a customised robot vehicle, by forwarding control traffic from RISE and KTH, to Amazon clouds in Europe (Frankfurt and London) for simplified processing (writes and reads) and back - and still run the vehicle smoothly.

This is indeed an encouraging result - running a vehicle remotely without full control of the infrastructure is difficult due to the countless sources of bottlenecks and delays. With methods from KTH and RISE (Metron/SNFKurma and AquaMet) we successfully handle some of the bottlenecks that normally arise from network function virtualisation, data center overload and varying radio conditions.

RISE Open House visitors were given the opportunity to test the performance of the current testbed with the objective of controlling the vehicle to push mini-footballs into a goal.  Quick reaction to end-to-end messages between the vehicle and the hand-held controller to achieve the necessary precision to score leaves no room for delays. The following movie clip shows the remotely controlled vehicle in action: 

Next steps

This is a first test deployment of integrated approaches towards key-value requests with bounded latency that will give us valuable insights in order to address various bottlenecks in wired and wireless network environments. The current testbed is under continuous development and will be used for measurements, testing and evaluation over the next years. 

Recent publications

  • Natalia Vesselinova, Rebecca Steinert, Daniel Felipe Perez-Ramirez and Magnus Boman, "Learning Combinatorial Optimization on Graphs: A Survey With Applications to Networking," in IEEE Access, vol. 8, pp. 120388-120416, 2020, doi: 10.1109/ACCESS.2020.3004964.

  • Daniel F. Perez-Ramirez, Rebecca Steinert, Natalia Vesselinova, and Dejan Kostic, “Demo Abstract: Elastic Deployment of Robust Distributed Control Planes with Performance Guarantees”, IEEE INFOCOM, 2020. Demo video available here.

  • Shaoteng Liu, Rebecca Steinert, Natalia Vesselinova and Dejan Kostić, "Fast Deployment of Reliable Distributed Control Planes with Performance Guarantees," in IEEE Access, vol. 8, pp. 70125-70149, 2020. doi: 10.1109/ACCESS.2020.2984500

  • Akhila Rao, Rebecca Steinert, "Probabilistic multi-RAT performance abstractions”, IEEE/IFIP NOMS Workshop: International Workshop on Management of 5G Networks (5GMan), April 2018. Best paper award.

  • Georgios Katsikas, Tom Barbette, Dejan Kostić, Rebecca Steinert, and Gerald Q. Maguire Jr., “Metron: NFV Service Chains at the True Speed of the Underlying Hardware“, Proceedings of the 15th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation (NSDI), April 2018. 

  • Shaoteng Liu, Rebecca Steinert, Dejan Kostić, “Control under Intermittent Network Partitions“, Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC), May 2018. 

  • Shaoteng Liu, Rebecca Steinert, Dejan Kostić, “Flexible distributed control plane deployment“, Proceedings of the IEEE/IFIP Network Operations and Management Symposium (NOMS), mini-conference, April 2018. 

  • Per Kreuger, Rebecca Steinert, Olof Görnerup, Daniel Gillblad, “Distributed dynamic load balancing with applications in radio access networks“, International Journal of Network Management (IJNM), 2017.


Project name





Region Östergötland

RISE role in project


Project start



Total budget



KTH blog, KTH (project coordinator)


Stiftelsen för Strategisk Forskning (SSF)

Project website

Project members

Supports the UN sustainability goals

9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
Akhila Rao

Contact person

Akhila Rao

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