NDN-DPDK: NDN Forwarding at 100 Gbps on Commodity Hardware

Presented at: 7th ACM Conference on Information-Centric Networking (ICN 2020)

Since the Named Data Networking (NDN) data plane requires name-based lookup of potentially large tables using variable-length hierarchical names as well as per-packet state updates, achieving high-speed NDN forwarding remains a challenge. In order to address this gap, we developed a high-performance NDN router capable of reaching forwarding rates higher than 100 Gbps while running on commodity hardware. In this paper we present our design and discuss its tradeoffs. We achieved this performance through several optimization techniques that include adopting better algorithms and efficient data structures, as well as making use of the parallelism offered by modern multi-core CPUs and multiple hardware queues with user-space drivers for kernel bypass. Our open-source forwarder is the first software implementation of NDN to exceed 100 Gbps throughput while supporting the full protocol semantics. We also present the results of extensive benchmarking carried out to assess a number of performance dimensions and to diagnose the current bottlenecks in the packet processing pipeline for future scalability enhancements. Finally, we identify future work which includes hardware-assisted ingress traffic dispatching, dynamic load balancing across forwarding threads, and novel caching solutions to accommodate on-disk content stores.

Read full paper at ACM Digital Library: NDN-DPDK: NDN Forwarding at 100 Gbps on Commodity Hardware


NDNts Demo at NDN Community Meeting 2020

NDN Community Meeting is an annual event that brings together a large community of researchers from academia, industry, and government, as well as users and other parties interested in the development of Named Data Networking (NDN) technology. Having no peer review process, it is a prime opportunity to showcase my personal projects to the community. I demo'ed my ndn-js home surveillance camera at NDNcomm 2018. This time, I decide to demo my flagship product, NDNts: NDN Libraries for the Modern Web.

The Demo Video

NDNts is a set of libraries with many different features, where do I start? I decide to select a subset of unique features that are not found in any other library:

  • The Endpoint API that enhances face by automatically handling repetitive tasks such as Interest retransmissions and packet signing/verification, so that app developers can focus on the application logic.
  • An implementation of trust schemas.
  • NDN Certificate Management protocol implementation, including a graphical user interface for the certificate authority component.

I also threw in two web applications:

Getting Started with NDNts Web Application using webpack

This article shows how to get started with NDNts, Named Data Networking (NDN) libraries for the modern web. In particular, it demonstrates how to write a consumer-only web application that connects to the NDN testbed, transmits a few Interests, and gets responses. This application uses JavaScript programming language and webpack module bundler.

Code samples in this article were last updated on 2021-09-20 to reflect latest changes.

Prepare the System

To use NDNts, you must have Node.js. As of this writing, NDNts works best with Node.js 18.x, and you should install that version. The easiest way to install Node.js is through Node Version Manager (nvm) or Node Version Manager (nvm) for Windows.

On Ubuntu 20.04, you can install nvm and Node.js with the following commands:

NDNts Nightly Build

NDNts nightly build is a set of NPM-compatible tarballs compiled automatically from the development branch of NDNts, Named Data Networking (NDN) libraries for the modern web. They are built by the Continuous Integration (CI) system and uploaded to the NDNts nightly build website: ndnts-nightly.ndn.today. Homepage of that website displays a list of URIs of available tarballs.

How to install NDNts nightly build

You can find available tarballs on NDNts nightly build website: ndnts-nightly.ndn.today.

To install a tarball as a local dependency within the current project, you can execute something like:

$ npm install https://ndnts-nightly.ndn.today/packet.tgz
+ @ndn/packet@0.0.20200822-nightly.a471902
added 5 packages from 3 contributors and audited 5 packages in 1.612s
found 0 vulnerabilities

NFD nightly packages

NOTICE Instructions in this article are outdated. Please see latest information in NFD nightly usage.

NDN Forwarding Daemon (NFD) is the reference implementation of Named Data Networking (NDN) forwarding plane. The software is continuously developed, but binary releases happen rather infrequently. Recently, I made a workflow to build NFD and related software automatically.

Download page: nfd-nightly.ndn.today


Which platform should I choose?

Getting Started with NDNts in Node.js

This article shows how to get started with NDNts, Named Data Networking (NDN) libraries for the modern web. In particular, it demonstrates how to write a producer and a consumer application in Node.js using JavaScript programming language, and transmit a few Interest and Data packets via NFD forwarder on the local machine.

Code samples in this article were last updated on 2022-03-25 to reflect latest changes.

Prepare the System

This guide is written for Ubuntu 20.04 operating system. If you have a Windows PC, you can enable Windows Subsystem for Linux and install Ubuntu 20.04 from the Microsoft Store. If you have a Macbook or a Linux machine other than Ubuntu 20.04, you can install Vagrant, and create a virtual machine from bento/ubuntu-20.04 template. All steps below should be executed inside Ubuntu 20.04 environment.

To use NDNts, you must have Node.js. As of this writing, NDNts works best with Node.js 18.x, and you should install that version. The easiest way to install Node.js is through Node Version Manager (nvm). To install nvm and then install Node.js, type the following commands in Ubuntu 20.04 terminal:

Introducing NDNph and New Version of esp8266ndn

NDNph is my latest Named Data Networking (NDN) client library. This article gives an overview of this library.

History and Motivation

In 2016, I started esp8266ndn. It contains a copy of ndn-cpp-lite, UCLA REMAP's C++ library that does not use dynamic memory allocations. I then added integrations with ESP8266's network stack and crypto functions, making esp8266ndn the first NDN library that works on the ESP8266 microcontroller. Using this library, I built several projects, including a wearable jewelry and a call button. University of Memphis also deployed several sensor nodes using esp8266ndn.

Over the years, esp8266ndn gained many new features, and widened platform support to include ESP32 and nRF52. However, using ndn-cpp-lite as the core is becoming problematic:

  • New protocol features show up slowly, because ndn-cpp-lite author would not add a feature until ndn-cxx has it, and design discussions for ndn-cxx sometimes take several years.
  • There is no generic TLV encoder/decoder, making it difficult to support TLV structures in application layer.
  • ndn-cpp-lite is bloated with obsolete features, due to their backwards compatibility guarantees. Consequently, binary code size is unnecessarily large.
  • Although I can add patches to ndn-cpp-lite during importing into esp8266ndn, it has been difficult to test these patches. This isn't ndn-cpp-lite's fault, but is still an issue.

Introducing NDNts, Named Data Networking libraries for the Modern Web

I'm creating a new Named Data Networking (NDN) client library, NDNts. The initial NPM release, v0.0.20191223-beta.1, was uploaded yesterday. This article explains why I'm doing this, and why you should consider using my library.


I've been developing Named Data Networking (NDN) for several years. Although my specialty is in the forwarding plane, I occasionally build NDN applications, such as a home surveillance camera. A common ingredient of every NDN application is some sort of client libraries, which provides APIs that allow the application to encode/decode NDN packets and communicate over NDN networks in accordance with the NDN protocol. One of these client libraries is the NDN Common Client Libraries (NDN-CCL), which provide a consistent API across several programming languages.

I adopted ndn-js, the JavaScript variant of NDN-CCL, in several projects, and was unhappy about it:

  • The API feels like Java, not JavaScript.
  • Callbacks everywhere, leading to callback hell.
  • The library inserts over 50 symbols to the browser's global scope, causing name conflicts.
  • All features are bundled into a single file that weighs over 500KB.
  • There's no unit testing for the most part, let alone continuous integration.

ESP8266 Call Button

It's NDN Community Meeting again and this time I'm officially presenting HomeCam at the demo session. I'm the sole presenter of this project. Normally, I have to stay at my table to show my project to the audience. However, I don't want to miss the chance of seeing what others have been doing. To solve this dilemma, I come up with an idea: a call button.

I put a big button on my table. It is labelled as: if I'm not here, press the button to send an Interest. Then, I wear a battery powered light ring on my body. Whenever someone presses the button, it lights up for 15 seconds.

me wearing a light ring at NDNcomm demo session

How It Works

Both the button and the light ring are based on ESP8266. The light ring unit acts as WiFi access point and NDN producer. The button unit acts as WiFi station and NDN consumer. When the button is pressed, the consumer transmits a signed Interest, and the producer turns on the light for 15 seconds after verifying the signature. Since the light ring unit is battery-powered, it enters deep sleep mode if there's no connected WiFi client.

Ubuntu 16.04 NFD Development Machine

I shared how I setup my NFD development machine in 2017. Back then, NFD's minimum system requirement is Ubuntu 14.04 so my virtual machine is 14.04 as well. In May 2018, ndn-cxx started requiring Ubuntu 16.04, so it's time for a rebuild.

Vagrantfile for NFD Development in Ubuntu 16.04

Here's my new Vagrantfile:

$vmname = "devbox"
$sshhostport = 2222

$deps = <<SCRIPT
export DEBIAN_FRONTEND=noninteractive
apt-get update
apt-get dist-upgrade -yq
apt-get install -yq git build-essential gdb valgrind libssl-dev libsqlite3-dev libboost-all-dev pkg-config libpcap-dev doxygen graphviz python-sphinx python-pip
pip install sphinxcontrib-doxylink sphinxcontrib-googleanalytics

Vagrant.configure(2) do |config|
  config.vm.box = "bento/ubuntu-16.04"
  config.vm.network :forwarded_port, guest: 22, host: $sshhostport, id: "ssh"
  config.vm.provider "virtualbox" do |vb|
    vb.name = $vmname
    vb.memory = 6144
    vb.cpus = 8
  config.vm.provision "deps", type: "shell", inline: $deps
  config.vm.provision "hostname", type: "shell", inline: "echo " + $vmname + " > /etc/hostname; hostname " + $vmname
  config.vm.provision "sshpvtkey", type: "file", source: "~/.ssh/id_rsa", destination: ".ssh/id_rsa"
  config.vm.provision "sshpubkey", type: "file", source: "~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub", destination: ".ssh/id_rsa.pub"
  config.vm.provision "sshauth", type: "shell", inline: "cd .ssh; cat id_rsa.pub >> authorized_keys"
  config.vm.provision "gitconfig", type: "file", source: "~/.gitconfig", destination: ".gitconfig"

Differences from 2017