NDN Project 2012-2013 Annual Report

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.

Our research challenge in this project is to instantiate this architectural framework into a prototype platform capable of solving real problems, particularly in application areas poorly served by today’s Internet protocol stack. In the third year we advanced our research agenda in five areas: applications, routing, forwarding, security, and fundamental theory to analyze networks. Milestones achieved this year include:

1. a building automation system in two UCLA buildings using industry-standard hardware; four peer-to-peer, serverless applications that highlight NDN’s capabilities, including gaming, chat, conferencing, and file sharing applications; techniques to exploit application-specific naming information to optimize data distribution and caching
2. many new libraries to support experimentation with common client functionality, browser-based application development, security requirements, and an NDN-based file system (NDNFS);
3. the Named-data Link State Routing Protocol (NLSR) which also supports hyperbolic routing by disseminating hyperbolic coordinates using its link state announcements;
4. a web-based monitoring tool that retrieves a network status page over the NDN testbed;
5. expansion of the open source NDN simulator, ndnSIM, and support for a now global user community;
6. a new forwarding structure together with a highly scalable distributed forwarding engine, and a novel Pending Interest Table that guarantees packet delivery with a compact storage representation;
7. DoS mitigation mechanisms, and efficient methods for content authentication/verification;
8. a Virtual Interest Packet (VIP) theoretical framework with a proof of its throughput optimality and joint caching/forwarding solution stability.
9. a demonstration (in Beijing) of live NDN video streaming to approximately 1000 clients spread in five continents, together with real time control of the lighting system at UCLA

To provide a more agile development platform for our research, this year we forked a version of the CCNx code base. We created a github repository and published documentation on our renovated web site (www.named-data.net) explaining the technical differences between CCNx and NDNx. This coming year we will continue to integrate research results into this code base, deploy it on the testbed, and support community use. Most participating sites have received a one-year extension to continue development, implementation and testing of NDN software libraries and applications, as well as to continue research on appropriate naming schemes, distributed data synchronization, trust management, routing and forwarding – core issues in the named-data networking architecture. Van Jacobson left PARC in October 2012 and is now a full Adjunct Professor at UCLA where he continues to serve as lead architect for the project.

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