Research community has been showing an immense interest for more than a decade in issues related to providing better than best effort service guarantees on the Internet. A number of options have been explored in this regard. Differentiated Services architecture is one of the proposed solutions that treat traffic flows based on their pre-assigned classes to eliminate scalability issue, otherwise a difficult and non trivial problem to solve. Bandwidth Broker is a logical resource management entity in Differentiated Services domain that performs a number of important functions at inter and intra-domain level to optimize resource utilization. Optimal resource management is not only complex but is tricky in this scenario, as the networks service providing ability is greatly affected by the optimality of domain management. Hence, Bandwidth Broker has been a focus of a lot of research efforts. This paper: a) provides a brief but concise discussion on different functions and modules of Bandwidth Broker, b) points out some advance features proposed for BBs performance enhancements and, c) reviews recent patents directly and indirectly related to Bandwidth Broker.
Keywords: Bandwidth broker, DiffServ, QoS, Resource management, Integrated Services (IntServ), Differentiated Services (DiffServ), DiffServ domain, Service Level Agreements (SLA)s, Policy Enforcement Points (PEP)s, Information Acquisition
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