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Available tools and networking

Tools for simulation and support for collection and analysis of data support the users. These provide out-of-the-box integration with some of the testbeds. 

With respect to networking, by default the interconnection of testbeds is done via the Internet. For many scenarios the Internet is not sufficient. OpenLab will support specialised solutions for networking.


ns-3 [] is a free open-source discrete-event network simulator for Internet systems. Though not an experiment controller, it interacts nicely with experiment controllers to run real experiments in simulated or mixed environments. In addition to the simulation core, ns-3 includes an object framework for simulation configuration and event tracing, a set of 802.11 MAC and PHY models, and TCP/IP network stacks. ns-3 is the first network simulator to transparently and efficiently support the automatic conversion of network packets to and from simulation objects, thereby supporting real-time simulation. In addition, ns-3 integrates a robust and efficient Direct Code Execution (DCE) framework that encompasses arbitrary user space and kernel space protocol implementations written in C or C++ for Linux. It interfaces nicely with the NEPI tool described above, allowing automated setup and deployment of mixed experiments that involve a real-time simulation, a testbed, and a field experiment. A consortium to promote ns-3 was recently founded by INRIA and the University of Washington. More than 80 individuals have contributed ns-3 code, 4000 to 8000 separate users download the latest release each month, and more than 800 people are subscribed to the support mailing list.

nmVO (Network Measurement Virtual Observatory)

ELTE’s nmVO [] is a framework to efficiently store and share research data. It provides data collection and archiving as well as easy-to-use analysis tools via both human and machine-readable interfaces. Users edit and run customized SQL queries on nmVO-integrated databases containing several billion records dating from January 2006. Services available both through a web interface and via web services include: registration, login, schema browsing, batch queries, MyDB, import, and history browsing.

Multi-Hop Packet Tracking

Multi-Hop Packet Tracking [] is a free Open Source distributed measurement tool that allows researchers to capture the path of packets and their hop-by-hop transmission quality in terms of loss, delay and jitter. The measurement results are exported using the IPFIX measurement protocol. Users can analyze and visualize the captured results in real-time and query the collection point for flow specific data. The software also supports a synchronized coordinated sampling approach that makes it possible to adjust the measurement overhead to available resources. The measurement probe which is installed on all nodes is written in C and available for UNIX distributions, an embedded version is also available for OpenWRT.  Packet Tracking has been used in multiple testbeds such as Federica, Planetlab, VINI and G-Lab.

OFP (the OpenFlow Protocol)

OpenFlow is a vendor-independent communications protocol for accessing a switch’s forwarding plane. Switches that support OpenFlow implement, among other features, a programmable flow table that enables easy definition of flow paths across a network of OpenFlow switches. This approach significantly simplifies network management, as a single control element can manage an entire network of switches. Also, the system’s high configurability permits network infrastructure to be partitioned and shared between production and experimental needs. In OpenLab, OFP will be integrated into several testbeds.

IGW (Interconnection Gateways)

In commercial grade networks, interconnection gateways connect networks that are based on different technologies at the data plane by providing media transcoding functions, protocol translation, traffic rate decoupling, and other services. IGWs can also interconnect the data planes of experimental testbeds of differing technologies and/or in different locations. IGW prototypes have been used to establish links between the Panlab testbeds in the PII project and between GENI nodes in the US. In PII, IGWs support multi-homed experiments. In OpenLab, IGWs will interconnect the wired testbeds (a feature that could potentially be extended to the wireless testbeds as well). IGWs will be made controllable by testbed tools, and IGW functionality will be considerably enhanced with the capability of establishing experimentation paths between physical and virtual infrastructure networks.