3. Cross-Scenario Considerations
This section discusses considerations that span multiple scenarios.
3.1. Multiply Connected Nodes and Economics
The evolution of, in particular, wireless networking technologies has
resulted in a convergence of the bandwidth and capabilities of
various different types of network. Today, a leading-edge mobile
telephone or tablet computer will typically be able to access a Wi-Fi
access point, a 4G cellular network, and the latest generation of
Bluetooth local networking. Until recently, a node would usually
have a clear favorite network technology appropriate to any given
environment. The choice would, for example, be primarily determined
by the available bandwidth with cost as a secondary determinant.
Furthermore, it is normally the case that a device only uses one of
the technologies at a time for any particular application.
It seems likely that this situation will change so that nodes are
able to use all of the available technologies in parallel. This will
be further encouraged by the development of new capabilities in
cellular networks including Small Cell Networks [SCN] and
Heterogeneous Networks [HetNet]. Consequently, mobile devices will
have similar choices to wired nodes attached to multiple service
providers allowing "multihoming" via the various different
infrastructure networks as well as potential direct access to other
mobile nodes via Bluetooth or a more capable form of ad hoc Wi-Fi.
Infrastructure networks are generally under the control of separate
economic entities that may have different policies about the
information of an ICN deployed within their network caches. As ICN
shifts the focus from nodes to information objects, the interaction
between networks will likely evolve to capitalize on data location
independence, efficient and scalable in-network named object
availability, and access via multiple paths. These interactions
become critical in evaluating the technical and economic impact of
ICN architectural choices, as noted in [ArgICN]. Beyond simply
adding diversity in deployment options, these networks have the
potential to alter the incentives among existing (and future, we may
add) network players, as noted in [EconICN].
Moreover, such networks enable more numerous internetwork
relationships where exchange of information may be conditioned on a
set of multilateral policies. For example, shared SCNs are emerging
as a cost-effective way to address coverage of complex environments
such as sports stadiums, large office buildings, malls, etc. Such
networks are likely to be a complex mix of different cellular and
WLAN access technologies (such as HSPA, LTE, and Wi-Fi) as well as
ownership models. It is reasonable to assume that access to content
generated in such networks may depend on contextual information such
as the subscription type, timing, and location of both the owner and
requester of the content. The availability of such contextual
information across diverse networks can lead to network
inefficiencies unless data management can benefit from an
information-centric approach. The "Event with Large Crowds"
demonstrator created by the SAIL project investigated this kind of
scenario; more details are available in [SAIL-B3].
Jacobson et al. [CCN] include interactions between networks in their
overall system design and mention both "an edge-driven, bottom-up
incentive structure" and techniques based on evolutions of existing
mechanisms both for ICN router discovery by the end-user and for
interconnecting between Autonomous Systems (ASes). For example, a
BGP extension for domain-level content prefix advertisement can be
used to enable efficient interconnection between ASes. Liu et al.
[MLDHT] proposed to address the "suffix-hole" issue found in prefix-
based name aggregation through the use of a combination of Bloom-
filter-based aggregation and multi-level DHT.
Name aggregation has been discussed for a flat naming design, for
example, in [NCOA], in which the authors note that based on
estimations in [DONA] flat naming may not require aggregation. This
is a point that calls for further study. Scenarios evaluating name
aggregation, or lack thereof, should take into account the amount of
state (e.g., size of routing tables) maintained in edge routers as
well as network efficiency (e.g., amount of traffic generated).
+---------->| Popular Video |
| ^ ^
| | |
| +-+-+ $0/MB +-+-+
| | A +-------+ B |
| ++--+ +-+-+
| | ^ ^ |
| $8/MB | | | | $10/MB
| v | | v
+-+-+ $0/MB +--+---------+--+
| D +---------+ C |
Figure 5. Relationships and Transit Costs between Networks A to D
DiBenedetto et al. [RP-NDN] study policy knobs made available by NDN
to network operators. New policies that are not feasible in the
current Internet are described, including a "cache sharing peers"
policy, where two peers have an incentive to share content cached in,
but not originating from, their respective network. The simple
example used in the investigation considers several networks and
associated transit costs, as shown in Figure 5 (based on Figure 1 of
[RP-NDN]). Agyapong and Sirbu [EconICN] further establish that ICN
approaches should incorporate features that foster (new) business
relationships. For example, publishers should be able to indicate
their willingness to partake in the caching market, proper reporting
should be enabled to avoid fraud, and content should be made
cacheable as much as possible to increase cache hit ratios.
Kutscher et al. [SAIL-B3] enable network interactions in the NetInf
architecture using a name resolution service at domain edge routers
and a BGP-like routing system in the NetInf Default-Free Zone.
Business models and incentives are studied in [SAIL-A7] and
[SAIL-A8], including scenarios where the access network provider (or
a virtual CDN) guarantees QoS to end users using ICN. Figure 6
illustrates a typical scenario topology from this work that involves
an interconnectivity provider.
+----------+ +-----------------+ +------+
| Content | | Access Network/ | | End |
| Provider +---->| ICN Provider +---->| User |
+----------+ +-+-------------+-+ +------+
+-------------------+ +----------------+ +------+
| Interconnectivity | | Access Network | | End |
| Provider +---->| Provider +------>| User |
+-------------------+ +----------------+ +------+
Figure 6. Setup and Operating Costs of Network Entities
Jokela et al. [LIPSIN] propose a two-layer approach where additional
rendezvous systems and topology formation functions are placed
logically above multiple networks and enable advertising and routing
content between them. Visala et al. [LANES] further describe an ICN
architecture based on similar principles, which, notably, relies on a
hierarchical DHT-based rendezvous interconnect. Rajahalme et al.
[PSIRP1] describe a rendezvous system using both a BGP-like routing
protocol at the edge and a DHT-based overlay at the core. Their
evaluation model is centered around policy-compliant path stretch,
latency introduced by overlay routing, caching efficacy, and load
Rajahalme et al. [ICCP] point out that ICN architectural changes may
conflict with the current tier-based peering model. For example,
changes leading to shorter paths between ISPs are likely to meet
resistance from Tier-1 ISPs. Rajahalme [IDMcast] shows how
incentives can help shape the design of specific ICN aspects, and in
[IDArch] he presents a modeling approach to exploit these incentives.
This includes a network model that describes the relationship between
Autonomous Systems based on data inferred from the current Internet,
a traffic model taking into account business factors for each AS, and
a routing model integrating the valley-free model and policy
compliance. A typical scenario topology is illustrated in Figure 7,
which is redrawn here based on Figure 1 of [ICCP]. Note that it
relates well with the topology illustrated in Figure 1 of this
+-----+ J +-----+
| o--*--o |
| * |
o--+--o * o--+--o
| H +-----------+ I |
o-*-*-o * o-*-*-o
* * * * *
****** ******* * ******* *******
* * * * *
o--*--o o*-*-*o o--*--o
| E +--------+ F +---------+ G +
o-*-*-o o-----o o-*-*-o
* * * *
****** ******* ****** ******
* * * *
o--*--o o--*--o o--*--o o--*--o
| A | | B +-----------+ C | | D |
o-----o o--+--o o--+--o o----+o
| | ^^ | route
data | data | data || | to
| | || | data
o---v--o o---v--o o++--v-o
| User | | User | | Data |
o------o o------o o------o
***** Transit link
+---+ Peering link
+---> Data delivery or route to data
Figure 7. Tier-Based Set of Interconnections between AS A to J
To sum up, the evaluation of ICN architectures across multiple
network types should include a combination of technical and economic
aspects, capturing their various interactions. These scenarios aim
to illustrate scalability, efficiency, and manageability, as well as
traditional and novel network policies. Moreover, scenarios in this
category should specifically address how different actors have proper
incentives, not only in a pure ICN realm, but also during the
migration phase towards this final state.
3.2. Energy Efficiency
ICN has prominent features that can be taken advantage of in order to
significantly reduce the energy footprint of future communication
networks. Of course, one can argue that specific ICN network
elements may consume more energy than today's conventional network
equipment due to the potentially higher energy demands for named-data
processing en route. On balance, however, ICN introduces an
architectural approach that may compensate on the whole and can even
achieve higher energy efficiency rates when compared to the host-
We elaborate on the energy efficiency potential of ICN based on three
categories of ICN characteristics. Namely, we point out that a) ICN
does not rely solely on end-to-end communication, b) ICN enables
ubiquitous caching, and c) ICN brings awareness of user requests (as
well as their corresponding responses) at the network layer thus
permitting network elements to better schedule their transmission
First, ICN does not mandate perpetual end-to-end communication, which
introduces a whole range of energy consumption inefficiencies due to
the extensive signaling, especially in the case of mobile and
wirelessly connected devices. This opens up new opportunities for
accommodating sporadically connected nodes and could be one of the
keys to an order-of-magnitude decrease in energy consumption compared
to the potential contributions of other technological advances. For
example, web applications often need to maintain state at both ends
of a connection in order to verify that the authenticated peer is up
and running. This introduces keep-alive timers and polling behavior
with a high toll on energy consumption. Pentikousis [EEMN] discusses
several related scenarios and explains why the current host-centric
paradigm, which employs perpetual end-to-end connections, introduces
built-in energy inefficiencies, and argues that patches to make
currently deployed protocols energy-aware cannot provide for an
order-of-magnitude increase in energy efficiency.
Second, ICN network elements come with built-in caching capabilities,
which is often referred to as "ubiquitous caching". Pushing data
objects to caches closer to end-user devices, for example, could
significantly reduce the amount of transit traffic in the core
network, thereby reducing the energy used for data transport. Guan
et al. [EECCN] study the energy efficiency of a CCNx architecture
(based on their proposed energy model) and compare it with
conventional content dissemination systems such as CDNs and P2P.
Their model is based on the analysis of the topological structure and
the average hop length from all consumers to the nearest cache
location. Their results show that an information-centric approach
can be more energy efficient in delivering popular and small-size
content. In particular, they also note that different network-
element design choices (e.g., the optical bypass approach) can be
more energy efficient in delivering infrequently accessed content.
Lee et al. [EECD] investigate the energy efficiency of various
network devices deployed in access, metro, and core networks for both
CDNs and ICN. They use trace-based simulations to show that an ICN
approach can substantially improve the network energy efficiency for
content dissemination mainly due to the reduction in the number of
hops required to obtain a data object, which can be served by
intermediate nodes in ICN. They also emphasize that the impact of
cache placement (in incremental deployment scenarios) and
local/cooperative content replacement strategies needs to be
carefully investigated in order to better quantify the energy
efficiencies arising from adopting an ICN paradigm.
Third, ICN elements are aware of the user request and its
corresponding data response; due to the nature of name-based routing,
they can employ power consumption optimization processes for
determining their transmission schedule or powering down inactive
network interfaces. For example, network coding [NCICN] or adaptive
video streaming [COAST] can be used in individual ICN elements so
that redundant transmissions, possibly passing through intermediary
networks, could be significantly reduced, thereby saving energy by
avoiding carrying redundant traffic.
Alternatively, approaches that aim to simplify routers, such as
[PURSUIT], could also reduce energy consumption by pushing routing
decisions to a more energy-efficient entity. Along these lines, Ko
et al. [ICNDC] design a data center network architecture based on ICN
principles and decouple the router control-plane and data-plane
functionalities. Thus, data forwarding is performed by simplified
network entities, while the complicated routing computation is
carried out in more energy-efficient data centers.
To summarize, energy efficiency has been discussed in ICN evaluation
studies, but most published work is preliminary in nature. Thus, we
suggest that more work is needed in this front. Evaluating energy
efficiency does not require the definition of new scenarios or
baseline topologies, but does require the establishment of clear
guidelines so that different ICN approaches can be compared not only
in terms of scalability, for example, but also in terms of power
3.3. Operation across Multiple Network Paradigms
Today the overwhelming majority of networks are integrated with the
well-connected Internet with IP at the "waist" of the technology
hourglass. However, there is a large amount of ongoing research into
alternative paradigms that can cope with conditions other than the
standard set assumed by the Internet. Perhaps the most advanced of
these is Delay- and Disruption-Tolerant Networking (DTN). DTN is
considered as one of the scenarios for the deployment in Section 2.7,
but here we consider how ICN can operate in an integrated network
that has essentially disjoint "domains" (a highly overloaded term!)
or regions that use different network paradigms and technologies, but
with gateways that allow interoperation.
ICN operates in terms of named data objects so that requests and
deliveries of information objects can be independent of the
networking paradigm. Some researchers have contemplated some form of
ICN becoming the new waist of the hourglass as the basis of a future
reincarnation of the Internet, e.g., [ArgICN], but there are a large
number of problems to resolve, including authorization, access
control, and transactional operation for applications such as
banking, before some form of ICN can be considered as ready to take
over from IP as the dominant networking technology. In the meantime,
ICN architectures will operate in conjunction with existing network
technologies as an overlay or in cooperation with the lower layers of
the "native" technology.
It seems likely that as the reach of the "Internet" is extended,
other technologies such as DTN will be needed to handle scenarios
such as space communications where inherent delays are too large for
TCP/IP to cope with effectively. Thus, demonstrating that ICN
architectures can work effectively in and across the boundaries of
different networking technologies will be important.
The NetInf architecture, in particular, targets the inter-domain
scenario by the use of a convergence-layer architecture [SAIL-B3],
and Publish-Subscribe Internet Routing Paradigm (PSIRP) and/or
Publish-Subscribe Internet Technology (PURSUIT) is envisaged as a
candidate for an IP replacement.
The key items for evaluation over and above the satisfactory
operation of the architecture in each constituent domain will be to
ensure that requests and responses can be carried across the network
boundaries with adequate performance and do not cause malfunctions in
applications or infrastructure because of the differing
characteristics of the gatewayed domains.
This document presents a wide range of different application areas in
which the use of information-centric network designs have been
evaluated in the peer-reviewed literature. Evidently, this broad
range of scenarios illustrates the capability of ICN to potentially
address today's problems in an alternative and better way than host-
centric approaches as well as to point to future scenarios where ICN
may be applicable. We believe that by putting different ICN systems
to the test in diverse application areas, the community will be
better equipped to judge the potential of a given ICN proposal and
therefore subsequently invest more effort in developing it further.
It is worth noting that this document collected different kinds of
considerations, as a result of our ongoing survey of the literature
and the discussion within ICNRG, which we believe would have
otherwise remained unnoticed in the wider community. As a result, we
expect that this document can assist in fostering the applicability
and future deployment of ICN over a broader set of operations, as
well as possibly influencing and enhancing the base ICN proposals
that are currently available and possibly assist in defining new
scenarios where ICN would be applicable.
We conclude this document with a brief summary of the evaluation
aspects we have seen across a range of scenarios.
The scalability of different mechanisms in an ICN architecture stands
out as an important concern (cf. Sections 2.1, 2.2, 2.5, 2.6, 2.8,
2.9, and 3.1) as does network, resource, and energy efficiency (cf.
Sections 2.1, 2.3, 2.4, 3.1, and 3.2). Operational aspects such as
network planing, manageability, reduced complexity and overhead (cf.
Sections 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.8, and 3.1) should not be neglected
especially as ICN architectures are evaluated with respect to their
potential for deployment in the real world. Accordingly, further
research in economic aspects as well as in the communication,
computation, and storage tradeoffs entailed in each ICN architecture
With respect to purely technical requirements, support for multicast,
mobility, and caching lie at the core of many scenarios (cf. Sections
2.1, 2.3, 2.5, and 2.6). ICN must also be able to cope when the
Internet expands to incorporate additional network paradigms (cf.
Section 3.3). We have also seen that being able to address stringent
QoS requirements and increase reliability and resilience should also
be evaluated following well-established methods (cf. Sections 2.2,
2.8, and 2.9).
Finally, we note that new applications that significantly improve the
end-user experience and forge a migration path from today's host-
centric paradigm could be the key to a sustained and increasing
deployment of the ICN paradigm in the real world (cf. Sections 2.2,
2.3, 2.6, 2.8, and 2.9).
5. Security Considerations
This document does not impact the security of the Internet.
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Dorothy Gellert contributed to an earlier draft version of this
This document has benefited from reviews, pointers to the growing ICN
literature, suggestions, comments, and proposed text provided by the
following members of the IRTF Information-Centric Networking Research
Group (ICNRG), listed in alphabetical order: Marica Amadeo, Hitoshi
Asaeda, Claudia Campolo, Luigi Alfredo Grieco, Myeong-Wuk Jang, Ren
Jing, Will Liu, Hongbin Luo, Priya Mahadevan, Ioannis Psaras, Spiros
Spirou, Dirk Trossen, Jianping Wang, Yuanzhe Xuan, and Xinwen Zhang.
The authors would like to thank Mark Stapp, Juan Carlos Zuniga, and
G.Q. Wang for their comments and suggestions as part of their open
and independent review of this document within ICNRG.
Kostas Pentikousis (editor)
Torgauer Strasse 12-15
Instituto de Telecomunicacoes
Campus Universitario de Santiago
Dep. of Electrical and Information Engineering
Politecnico di Bari
Via Orabona 4
School and Electronic Engineering and Computer Science
Queen Mary, University of London
Trinity College Dublin/Folly Consulting Ltd
Dep. of Information, Infrastructures, and Sustainable
Universita' Mediterranea di Reggio Calabria
Via Graziella 1
89100 Reggio Calabria
National Institute of Information and Communications Technology
4-2-1, Nukui Kitamachi, Koganei