While the Internet has far exceeded expectations, it has also stretched initial assumptions, often creating tussles that challenge its underlying communication model. Users and applications operate in terms of content, making it increasingly limiting and difficult to conform to IP’s requirement to communicate by discovering and specifying location. To carry the Internet into the future, a conceptually simple yet transformational architectural shift is required, from today’s focus on where — addresses and hosts — to what — the content that users and applications care about.
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. By naming data instead of their locations, NDN transforms data into a first-class entity. The current Internet secures the data container. NDN secures the contents, a design choice that decouples trust in data from trust in hosts, enabling several radically scalable communication mechanisms such as automatic caching to optimize bandwidth. 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.