The NDN team’s efforts in early 2014 are focused on several significant updates that continue to evolve the NDN design towards a mature architecture.
New Packet Format. To facilitate more efficient packet handling, the NDN wire format has been changed from binary XML to type-length-value (TLV). At the same time, minor updates have been made to the packet fields based on our experience over the last three years. The specification for the new TLV format is posted. Preliminary library and forwarder support is now available in the v0.3 alpha 1 platform release. The NDN testbed will rollover to this format in March. We welcome comments and questions from the community; please post them to the ndn-interest mailing list.
New Forwarder: NFD. We are developing a new forwarder, NFD, with a modular codebase that will facilitate research experimentation with FIB, PIT, and CS designs, as well as research in the “strategy” used for forwarding in different circumstances. This forwarder will support the new TLV format. We are aiming for a functional alpha (announced to ndn-interest) in March, which will be bundled with supporting libraries and components into an updated platform release (v0.3) in April. Information about the NFD design and implementation effort can be found on the project’s redmine site.
On November 12-13, 2013, CAIDA hosted the NDN Project’s fourth retreat in San Diego, CA, with over 40 participants in attendance. The agenda and participants list is available at http://www.caida.org/workshops/ndn/1311/ as well as slidesets from the retreat.
We finally published our annual report covering our activities from Sept 2012 through August 2013. We excerpt the executive summary here, for the entire report see http://named-data.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/ndn-annualreport2012-2013.pdf:
Today’s Internet’s hourglass architecture centers on a universal network layer (i.e., IP) which implements the minimal functionality necessary for global interconnectivity. This thin waist enabled the Internet’s
explosive growth by allowing both lower and upper layer technologies to innovate independently. However, IP was designed to create a communication network, where packets named only communication endpoints. Sustained growth in e-commerce, digital media, social networking, and smartphone applications has led to dominant use of the Internet as a distribution network. Distribution networks are fundamentally more general than communication networks, and solving distribution problems via a point-to-point communication protocol is complex and error-prone.
The NDN project proposes an evolution of the IP architecture that generalizes the role of this thin waist, such that packets can name objects other than communication endpoints. The name in an NDN packet can be anything — an endpoint, a data chunk in a movie or a book, a command to turn on some lights, etc. This conceptually simple change allows NDN networks to use almost all of the Internet’s well-tested engineering properties to solve not only end-to-end communication problems but also content distribution and control problems. Based on three decades of experience with the strengths and limitations of the current Internet architecture, the design also builds in fundamental security primitives (via signatures on all named data) and self-regulation of network traffic (via flow balance between Interest and Data packets). We recognize that any new architecture must be incrementally deployable over the current Internet, and we explicitly consider factors that will facilitate user choice and competition as the network evolves.
The Named Data Networking (NDN) project aims to develop a new Internet architecture that can capitalize on strengths — and address weaknesses — of the Internet’s current host-based, point-to-point communication architecture in order to naturally accommodate emerging patterns of communication. The project studies the technical challenges that must be addressed to validate NDN as a future Internet architecture: routing scalability, fast forwarding, trust models, network security, content protection and privacy, and fundamental communication theory.
The project uses end-to-end testbed deployments, simulation, and theoretical analysis to evaluate the proposed architecture, and is developing specifications and prototype implementations of NDN protocols and applications. NDN Technical Report NDN-0001 Named Data Networking (NDN) Project is a slightly modified version of the NDN project proposal.
The NDN project was funded by NSF in September 2010 as one of the four projects under NSF’s Future Internet Architecture Program.