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RFC 7945

Information-Centric Networking: Evaluation and Security Considerations

Pages: 38
Part 2 of 2 – Pages 21 to 38
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4. Evaluation Tools

Since ICN is an emerging area, the community is in the process of developing effective evaluation environments, including releasing open-source implementations, simulators, emulators, and testbeds. To date, none of the available evaluation tools can be seen as the one and only community reference evaluation tool. Furthermore, no single environment supports all well-known ICN approaches, as we describe below, hindering the direct comparison of the results obtained for different ICN approaches. The subsections that follow review the currently publicly available ICN implementations, simulators, and experimental facilities. An updated list of the available evaluation tools will be maintained at the ICNRG Wiki page: < wiki/IcnEvaluationAndTestbeds>

4.1. Open-Source Implementations

The Named Data Networking (NDN) project has open-sourced a software reference implementation of the architecture and protocol called NDN ( NDN is available for deployment on various operating systems and includes C and Java libraries that can be used to build applications. CCN-lite ( is a lightweight implementation of the CCN protocol that supports most of the key features of CCNx and is interoperable with CCNx. CCN-lite implements the core CCN logic in about 1000 lines of code, so it is ideal for classroom work and course projects as well as for quickly experimenting with CCN extensions. For example, Baccelli et al. use CCN-lite on top of the RIOT operating system to conduct experiments over an IoT testbed [Baccelli14].
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   PARC is offering CCN source code under various licensing schemes,
   please see <> for details.

   The PURSUIT project ( has open-sourced its
   Blackhawk publish-subscribe (Pub/Sub) implementation for Linux and
   Android; more details are available at
   <>.  Blackadder uses the
   Click modular router for ease of development.  The code distribution
   features a set of tools, test applications, and scripts.  The POINT
   project ( is currently maintaining

   The 4WARD and SAIL projects have open-sourced software that
   implements different aspects of NetInf, e.g., the NetInf URI format
   and HTTP and UDP convergence layer, using different programming
   languages.  The Java implementation provides a local caching proxy
   and client.  Further, an OpenNetInf prototype is available as well as
   a hybrid host-centric and information-centric network architecture
   called the Global Information Network (GIN), a browser plug-in and
   video-streaming software.  See <>
   for more details.

4.2. Simulators and Emulators

Simulators and emulators should be able to capture faithfully all features and operations of the respective ICN architecture(s) and any limitations should be openly documented. It is essential that these tools and environments come with adequate logging facilities so that one can use them for in-depth analysis as well as debugging. Additional requirements include the ability to support medium- to large-scale experiments, the ability to quickly and correctly set various configurations and parameters, as well as to support the playback of traffic traces captured on a real testbed or network. Obviously, this does not even begin to touch upon the need for strong validation of any evaluated implementations.

4.2.1. ndnSIM

The Named Data Networking (NDN) project ( has developed ndnSIM [ndnSIM] [ndnSIM2]; this is a module that can be plugged into the ns-3 simulator ( and supports the core features of NDN. One can use ndnSIM to experiment with various NDN applications and services as well as components developed for NDN such as routing protocols and caching and forwarding strategies, among others. The code for ns-3 and ndnSIM is openly available to the community and can be used as the basis for implementing ICN protocols or applications. For more details, see <>.
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4.2.2. ccnSIM

ccnSim [ccnSim] is a CCN-specific simulator that was specially designed to handle forwarding of a large number of CCN-chunks ( ccnSim is written in C++ for the OMNeT++ simulation framework ( Other CCN-specific simulators include the CCN Packet-Level Simulator [CCNPL] and CCN-Joker [Cianci12]. CCN-Joker emulates in user space all basic aspects of a CCN node (e.g., handling of Interest and Data packets, cache sizing, replacement policies), including both flow and congestion control. The code is open source and is suitable for both emulation-based analyses and real experiments. Finally, Cabral et al. [MiniCCNx] use container- based emulation and resource isolation techniques to develop a prototyping and emulation tool.

4.2.3. Icarus Simulator

The Icarus simulator [ICARUS] focuses on caching in ICN and is agnostic with respect to any particular ICN implementation. The simulator is implemented in Python, uses the Fast Network Simulator Setup tool [Saino13], and is available at <>. Icarus has several caching strategies implemented, including among others ProbCache [Psaras12], node- centrality-based caching [Chai12], and hash-route-based caching [HASHROUT]. ProbCache [Psaras12] is taking a resource management view on caching decisions and approximates the available cache capacity along the path from source to destination. Based on this approximation and in order to reduce caching redundancy across the path, it caches content probabilistically. According to [Chai12], the node with the highest "betweenness centrality" along the path from source to destination is responsible for caching incoming content. Finally, [HASHROUT] calculates the hash function of a content's name and assigns contents to caches of a domain according to that. The hash space is split according to the number of caches of the network. Then, upon subsequent requests, and based again on the hash of the name included in the request, edge routers redirect requests to the cache assigned with the corresponding hash space. [HASHROUT] is an off-path caching strategy; in contrast to [Psaras12] and [Chai12], it requires minimum coordination and redirection overhead. In its latest update, Icarus also includes implementation of the "Satisfied Interest Table" (SIT) [Sourlas15]. The SIT points in the direction where content has been sent recently. Among other benefits, this enables information resilience in case of network fragmentation (i.e., content can still
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   be found in neighbor caches or in users' devices) and inherently
   supports user-assisted caching (i.e., P2P-like content distribution).

   Tortelli et al. [ICNSIMS] provide a comparison of ndnSIM, ccnSim, and

4.3. Experimental Facilities

An important consideration in the evaluation of any kind of future Internet mechanism lies in the characteristics of that evaluation itself. Central to the assessment of the features provided by a novel mechanism is the consideration of how it improves over already existing technologies, and by "how much". With the disruptive nature of clean-slate approaches generating new and different technological requirements, it is complex to provide meaningful results for a network-layer framework, in comparison with what is deployed in the current Internet. Thus, despite the availability of ICN implementations and simulators, the need for large-scale environments supporting experimental evaluation of novel research is of prime importance to the advancement of ICN deployment. Different experimental facilities have different characteristics and capabilities, e.g., having low cost of use, reproducible configuration, easy-to-use tools, and available background traffic, and being sharable.

4.3.1. Open Network Lab (ONL)

An example of an experimental facility that supports CCN is the Open Network Lab [ONL] that currently comprises 18 extensible gigabit routers and over a 100 computers representing clients and is freely available to the public for running CCN experiments. Nodes in ONL are preloaded with CCNx software. ONL provides a graphical user interface for easy configuration and testbed setup as per the experiment requirements, and also serves as a control mechanism, allowing access to various control variables and traffic counters. Further, it is also possible to run and evaluate CCN over popular testbeds [PLANETLAB] [EMULAB] [DETERLAB] [OFELIA] by directly running, for example, the CCNx open-source code [Salsano13] [Carofiglio13] [Awiphan13] [Bernardini14]. Also, the Network Experimentation Programming Interface (NEPI) [NEPI] is a tool developed for controlling and managing large-scale network experiments. NEPI can be used to control and manage large-scale CCNx experiments, e.g., on PlanetLab [Quereilhac14].
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4.3.2. POINT Testbed

The POINT project is maintaining a testbed with 40 machines across Europe, North America (Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)), and Japan (National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT)) interconnected in a topology containing one Topology Manager and one rendezvous node that handle all publish/subscribe and topology formation requests [Parisis13]. All machines run Blackadder (see Section 4.1). New nodes can join, and experiments can be run on request.

4.3.3. CUTEi: Container-Based ICN Testbed

NICT has also developed a testbed used for ICN experiments [Asaeda14] comprising multiple servers located in Asia and other locations. Each testbed server (or virtual machine) utilizes a Linux kernel- based container (LXC) for node virtualization. This testbed enables users to run applications and protocols for ICN in two experimentation modes using two different container designs: 1. application-level experimentation using a "common container" and 2. network-level experimentation using a "user container." A common container is shared by all testbed users, and a user container is assigned to one testbed user. A common container has a global IP address to connect with other containers or external networks, whereas each user container uses a private IP address and a user space providing a closed networking environment. A user can login to his/her user containers using SSH with his/her certificate, or access them from PCs connected to the Internet using SSH tunneling. This testbed also implements an "on-filesystem cache" to allocate caching data on a UNIX filesystem. The on-filesystem cache system accommodates two kinds of caches: "individual cache" and "shared cache." Individual cache is accessible for one dedicated router for the individual user, while shared cache is accessible for a set of routers in the same group to avoid duplicated caching in the neighborhood for cooperative caching.

5. Security Considerations

This document does not impact the security of the Internet, but Section 3 outlines security and privacy concerns that might affect a deployment of a future ICN approach.
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6. Informative References

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              Schemes for Information-Centric Networking", Proceedings
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              DOI 10.17487/RFC2330, May 1998,

   [RFC5743]  Falk, A., "Definition of an Internet Research Task Force
              (IRTF) Document Stream", RFC 5743, DOI 10.17487/RFC5743,
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   [RFC6920]  Farrell, S., Kutscher, D., Dannewitz, C., Ohlman, B.,
              Keranen, A., and P. Hallam-Baker, "Naming Things with
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   [RFC7476]  Pentikousis, K., Ed., Ohlman, B., Corujo, D., Boggia, G.,
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              Corujo, D., Saucez, D., Schmidt, T., and M. Waehlisch,
              "Information-Centric Networking (ICN) Research
              Challenges", RFC 7927, DOI 10.17487/RFC7927, July 2016,

   [RFC7933]  Westphal, C., Ed., Lederer, S., Posch, D., Timmerer, C.,
              Azgin, A., Liu, W., Mueller, C., Detti, A., Corujo, D.,
              Wang, J., Montpetit, M., and N. Murray, "Adaptive Video
              Streaming over Information-Centric Networking (ICN)",
              RFC 7933, DOI 10.17487/RFC7933, August 2016,
Top   ToC   RFC7945 - Page 35
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              "Counting YouTube videos via random prefix sampling",
              Proceedings of the 2011 ACM SIGCOMM conference on Internet
              measurement conference (IMC '11), Berlin, Germany,
              DOI 10.1145/2068816.2068851, November 2011.
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Konstantinos Katsaros contributed the updated text of Section 2.2 along with an extensive set of references. Priya Mahadevan, Daniel Corujo, and Gareth Tyson contributed to a draft version of this document. 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, E. Baccelli, Claudia Campolo, Christian Esteve Rothenberg, Suyong Eum, Nikos Fotiou, Dorothy Gellert, Luigi Alfredo Grieco, Myeong-Wuk Jang, Ren Jing, Will Liu, Antonella Molinaro, Luca Muscariello, Ioannis Psaras, Dario Rossi, Stefano Salsano, Damien Saucez, Dirk Trossen, Jianping Wang, Yuanzhe Xuan, and Xinwen Zhang. The IRSG review was provided by Aaron Falk.
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Authors' Addresses

Kostas Pentikousis (editor) Travelping Koernerstr. 7-10 10785 Berlin Germany Email: Borje Ohlman Ericsson Research S-16480 Stockholm Sweden Email: Elwyn Davies Trinity College Dublin/Folly Consulting Ltd Dublin, 2 Ireland Email: Spiros Spirou Intracom Telecom 19.7 km Markopoulou Avenue 19002 Peania, Athens Greece Email: Gennaro Boggia Dept. of Electrical and Information Engineering Politecnico di Bari Via Orabona 4 70125 Bari Italy Email: