Experimental Evaluation of Content Distribution with NDN and HTTP

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Content distribution is a primary activity on the Internet. Name-centric network architectures support content distribution intrinsically. Named Data networking (NDN), one recent such scheme, names packets rather than end-hosts, thereby enabling packets to be cached and redistributed by routers.
Among alternative name-based systems, HTTP is the most significant by any measure. A majority of today’s content distribution services leverage the widely deployed HTTP infrastructure, such as web servers and caching proxies. As a result, HTTP can be viewed as a practical, name-based content distribution solution. Of course, NDN and HTTP do not overlap entirely in their capabilities and design goals, but both support name-based content distribution.
This paper presents an experimental performance evaluation of NDN-based and HTTP-based content distribution solutions. Our findings verify popular intuition, but also surprise in some ways. In wired networks with local-area transmission latencies, the HTTP-based solution dramatically outperforms NDN, with roughly 10x greater sustained throughput.
In networks with lossy access links, such as wireless links with 10% drop rates, or with non-local transmission delays, due to faster link retransmission brought by architectural advantages of NDN, the situation reverses and NDN outperforms HTTP, with sustained throughput increased by roughly 4x over a range of experimental scenarios.