Dr.-Ing. Ralf Kundel

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Ralf Kundel

Short Bio

Ralf obtained his Ph.D. from the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany, in 2022 with the thesis "Accelerating Network Functions using Reconfigurable Hardware." Before, he obtained two B.Sc. and an M.Sc. degree from the same university in 2015 (B.Sc. Informationssystemtechnik) and 2017 (B.Sc. Business Informatics, M.Sc. Informationssystemtechnik), respectively. Since 2021 he is heading the Adaptive Communication Group (ACS) with a focus on network programmability of the data plane. In his research, he focuses on Quality of Service (QoS)-aware network functions offloaded on programmable hardware such as P4-programmable switches and FPGAs. He works with Deutsche Telekom in joined projects opening up network hardware to improve the future Internet. Further, he is interested in data plane programming for Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) and Network Intrusion Detection Systems (NIDS). He authored and co-authored more than 25 peer-reviewed scientific publications and five patent applications.

Research Interests

  • Hardware Acceleration
  • FPGAs and P4
  • Network Intrusion Detection Systems
  • Time Sensitive Networking (TSN)
  • Active Queue Management (AQM)
  • ISP access networks (residential and 5G)


Involved Projects:

  • BMWK: Reallabor Antrieb 4.0.  Enabling vendor interoperability in industrial networks on the field level and beyond will be one key factor of the success of digitized production factories. In this project, we investigate next generation field bus technologies, data exchange models, as well as the applicability of TSN technology.
  • Deutsche Telekom: Dynamic Networks. This project focuses on applying concepts of SDN and programmable hardware in carrier-grade networks. Especially technologies such as FPGAs and P4 programmable switches but also concepts like Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) allow novel approaches of rethinking access networks.
  • BMBF: Software Campus 5G-PCI. Hardware acceleration is becoming very important in order to meet high performance and low energy consumption at the same time. This project investigates how PCIe accelerators can be virtualized and shared between multiple virtual borrowers.
  • BMBF: Open 6G Hub. Providing a high-performant communication infrastructure has become of tremendous importance. As part of this hub, we investigate new concepts for providing more resilient 5G/6G networks. One key component of our investigation is the disaggregated O-RAN architecture.
  • BMBF: AI-NET-PROTECT.  In this project, novel approaches for resilient and secure network operation are investigated. The last decade has shown that providing only performant networks is not sufficient to ensure a reliable communication infrastructure. Building upon machine learning approaches, this project aims to enhance the security of future networks.
  • DFG: Collaborative Research Centre 1053 MAKI (associated researcher). The Internet has grown to a gigantic computer network that includes many protocols and technologies. This research centre investigates how multiple mechanisms (i.e. protocols and technologies) can be used best together and how a transition between those can be performed at the best possible performance.


Open Source Contributions:

  • P4-UPF 5G-SA capable UPF implementation tailored for P4-programmable Tofino switches. Tested with free5gc and multiple 5G-SA RANs.
  • P4-CoDel  Implementation of CoDel AQM for Barefoot Tofino, Netronome SmartNIC and bmv2 software switch.
  • P4STA Load generation and aggregation framework based on programmable networking hardware.
  • free5gc fork of an existing project with improvements to work with real 5G standalone RAN networks and UEs.


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