The BMBF-project Eibone focused on the investigation and development of fundamentals for an efficient, robust and reliable communication network, which should satisfy the requirements for bandwith and service of the 21st century. The main emphasis of Eibone was on the backbone of a future broad-band communication network.

Classical services such as telephony, TV and Internet are increasingly offered via the same network infrastructure (triple play), which is usually organized in several network layers (e.g., IP over SDH over WDM). When planning and dimensioning such (multi-layer) networks one has to face restrictions that originate from the used technologies and hardware. The goal is a network with minimal setup- and operational costs ensuring reliability and robustness. The available resources should be optimally exploited.

Within Eibone a variety of research groups were working on different aspects of communication networks (optical transmission techniques, fiber technologies, protocols, ...). Our main focus was on planning and evaluating multi-layer network-architectures.

The Konrad Zuse Zentrum has developed a series of increasingly abstract models, from technical system models to sophisticated mathematical models, which are used in a planning cycle to optimize multi-layer networks. In several case studies it was shown that central design questions for layered network architectures can be answered using this approach. Based on the reference networks defined in Eibone, the influence of various planning parameters on the total design cost was investiagted. This includes a comparison of point-to-point vs. transparent optical networks, different traffic distributions, and different interface types.

A main aspect of the research at ZIB was the integrated planning of several network layers. Only this approach enables the evaluation and comparison of different network configurations. Several theoretical and algorithmical fundamentals have been established in this direction. An important focus was on methods that improve dual bounds on the total network cost, which helps to estimate the quality of given solutions.