Scalable NDN Forwarding: Concepts, Issues and Principles

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Named Data Networking (NDN) is a recently proposed general-purpose network architecture that leverages the strengths of Internet architecture while aiming to address its weaknesses. NDN names packets rather than end-hosts, and most of NDN’s characteristics are a consequence of this fact.
In this paper, we focus on the packet forwarding model of NDN. Each packet has a unique name which is used to make forwarding decisions in the network. NDN forwarding differs substantially from that in IP; namely, NDN forwards based on variable-length names and has a read-write data plane.
Designing and evaluating a scalable NDN forwarding node architecture is a major effort within the overall NDN research agenda. In this paper, we present the concepts, issues and principles of scalable NDN forwarding plane design. The essential function of NDN forwarding plane is fast name lookup.
By studying the performance of the NDN reference implementation, known as CCNx, and simplifying its forwarding structure, we identify three key issues in the design of a scalable NDN forwarding plane:
1) exact string matching with fast updates,
2) longest prefix matching for variable-length and unbounded names and
3) large-scale flow maintenance.
We also present five forwarding plane design principles for achieving 1 Gbps throughput in software implementation and 10 Gbps with hardware acceleration.