The Named Data Networking Next Phase project (NDN-NP) is the next stage of a collaborative project (one of the three Future Internet Architecture Awards) for the research, development, and testbed deployment of a new Internet architecture that replaces IP with a network layer that routes directly on content names. For more information see http://www.named-data.net/ and the Named Data Networking Next Phase proposal and the supplement proposal.
Funding source: NSF CNS-1345286. Period of performance: May 1, 2014 - April 30, 2017.
The NDN design represents a transformational architecture blueprint for the Future Internet, with many unique opportunities and significant challenges that we have only begun to pursue. In this supplement proposal, we have described a concrete and exciting plan for completing the NP effort with the supplement funding. Ultimately, the success of a new Internet architecture requires broad community involvement and uptake, providing an overarching goal justifying this supplement. The proposed work is heavily informed by the explicit input of stakeholders in the Internet's future, in areas including:
- Industry Greenfields: The NDN consortium and other outreach efforts have exposed us to challenges faced by industry that they believe can be met by NDN-including Cisco's public description of information-centric networking as central to its 5G strategy, Intel's interest in near-term use of NDN to support edge analytics in IoT, and general interest in NDN for efficient content distribution.
- Scientific Research: Interest from DOE and other "big science" organizations suggests that NDN offers significant benefit for high-throughput networks used by the scientific community.
- Tactical Networking: Discussions with DARPA, leading to seedling proposals directly from the NDN team and via collaborators such as Boeing, suggest significant opportunities for NDN to support next-generation tactical networks in which IP's communication paradigm is highly challenged. Their requirements share a surprising number of characteristics for the needs other emerging fields such as next-generation vehicular networking.
Our current objective is to complete critical aspects of the NDN-NP project by continuing the critical momentum of R&D, sustaining engagement from NDN stakeholders, and evolving NDN towards a viable Future Internet Architecture that is being transformed into practice.
Demonstrating Application Opportunities via the Network Environments
Our efforts to develop pilot applications for key network environments were responsive to the FIA-NP challenge to use such applications to drive architecture research. In the process, we encountered unexpected but generative delays across the project - new collaborators, new discoveries, implementation challenges in related components, and tough architectural problems. The supplement support will enable us to draw these efforts to a reasonable conclusion and disseminate results to the research community and other stakeholders. Notably, we held to our goal of incorporating security from the ground up into our chosen environments, which yielded significant research outcomes. Multimedia and scientific big data applications drove us to deal with congestion control and performance, while all of our applications motivated progress in autoconfiguration that will make the reference implementations more robust for others to use. We have approached each application in a data-centric way, providing a detailed alternative perspective to existing host-centric IP-based paradigms.
Catalyzing Further Research via the NDN Platform
To support our own and others' experimentation, we developed a significant body of open source software, including 1) the NDN forwarding daemon, 2) communication and security libraries, 3) evaluation tools, 4) testbed orchestration and security infrastructure tools, and 5) application code. This work laid a solid foundation for research and development, but our rapid prototyping and iterative development focused on the step-by-step needs of the network environments, as well as providing platform support to unanticipated (but welcome) new collaborators and projects. Substantial work remains needed to produce a coherent and usable codebase advancing the research community's experimentation with the NDN architecture.
Transferring Knowledge via Documentation
During the five-year NDN design and development efforts, we encountered many design challenges and made decisions based on our best judgment about the design tradeoffs. In the process, we further developed NDN architectural principles. While some of these technical insights were captured in the NDN technical report series, more were buried in meeting minutes, email exchanges, and in people's memories. We will document these principles, the various design decisions we made based on them, the tradeoff considerations we articulated, and the lessons we learned. Additional software documentation sharing these research insights will help engage the broader research community in NDN design discussions thus supporting both fundamental research and the transition to practice.
The results of this project will prepare NDN for its next step of development, in which major portions of the architecture can be explored through translational research as enablers of critical greenfields (such as IoT, vehicular networking, 5G infrastructure) and of re-thinking challenging application areas (tactical networks, cyberphysical systems, next generation media distribution), even as fundamental research continues in critical areas such as security and scalable forwarding.