Use NFD nightly with Mini-NDN

Mini-NDN is a network emulation tool that enables testing, experimentation, and research on the Named Data Networking (NDN) platform. It uses container technology to emulate a small-to-medium NDN network topology. Each container represents a network node, in which it runs NDN Forwarding Daemon (NFD), NLSR routing daemon, and other NDN programs. Virtual Ethernet adapters are added between containers to simulated network links.

During the recent 12th NDN hackathon, I worked with my buddy Saurab Dulal to improve Mini-NDN. One of our achievements was a shiny new Mini-NDN installation script. The new script can install NDN software binary packages from named-data PPA, which saves time significantly compared to the alternative of compiling from source code.

However, a drawback of named-data PPA is that, the binary packages available there are only updated after each NFD release, which occurs a few times a year. If it has been several months since the release, the PPA packages would be ancient. They would not include the latest features, improvements, and bug fixes in the NDN codebase.

If you want to use up-to-date NDN software, but do not want to wait for the software to compile from source, I can offer another option: install the weekly automated builds from NFD-nightly. This article explains how to do that.

Operating System

NFD nightly APT repository

This article contains instructions of NFD nightly APT repository, which provides automated builds of NDN Forwarding Daemon (NFD) and related software.

This article was latest updated on 2021-10-30 to reflect latest changes.

Instructions

To install NDN software from NFD nightly APT repository:

  1. If you have previously installed NDN software from named-data PPA or source code, you need to delete them to avoid conflict. See switch between installation methods section below.

  2. Visit https://nfd-nightly.ndn.today webpage, choose your operating system and CPU architecture, and you'll get a setup command.

    Run this setup command in the terminal, which adds NFD-nightly as a package source.

  3. Update package lists:

    sudo apt update
    
  4. Install desired packages, such as:

    sudo apt install nfd ndnping ndnpeek infoedit
    

    You can see available packages on https://nfd-nightly.ndn.today webpage.

Install Ubuntu from ISO on IPv6-only KVM Server in SolusIO

I recently obtained a KVM virtual server on SolusIO platform, and I want to install Ubuntu 20.04 Server from the official ISO image. This is not as easy as I hoped, but I figured it out.

Note: if you are in a hurry, skip the "Background" and start from "Part 1" section.

Background: SolusIO cannot Mount ISO Image

SolusIO is a virtual infrastructure management solution published by Plesk International Gmbh, the same company behind the popular SolusVM software. They describe SolusIO to be the successor of SolusVM, with more focus on the self-service approach for end users.

SolusIO inherits the same clean user interface from SolusVM, and is easy to use. However, as a power user, I notice several features are missing in SolusIO. One of these features is the ability to install the operating system from an ISO image.

Disabling VNC in Virtualizor ⇒ Lost Connectivity?

The KVM server hosting my website went offline last month. Thinking the server might have crashed, I went to Virtualizor, the VPS control panel, to reboot the VPS. It did not solve the problem, so I proceeded with my disaster recovery plan.

The hosting provider, Spartan Host, explained that it was a router bug. They fixed the router after 4 hours, but my server did not come online.

Symptom

To investigate what went wrong with my VPS, I came back to Virtualizor to enable VNC access. Having VNC access is like attaching a monitor and a keyboard to the server. It would allow me to see any error messages printed on the screen and login to check whether there are configuration errors.

I didn't see any error through VNC connection. Thinking it might be a routing problem, I logged in with username and password, and ran a traceroute. To my surprise, the traceroute was able to reach Internet destination. Moreover, I can SSH into this server again.

Rename WiFi Interface on Ubuntu 20.04

During an experiment, I need to use three WiFi interfaces on a Raspberry Pi running Ubuntu 20.04. In addition to Raspberry Pi's internal WiFi interface, I added two USB WiFi adapters. Three network interfaces showed up in the system (ip link command), and they are named wlan0, wlan1, and wlan2 by default.

I often need to capture packets with tcpdump, and I often have to be type these interface names manually. It isn't easy to remember the purpose of each network interface, so I wanted to rename the interfaces to reflect their role in my application. However, this isn't as easy as it sounds.

🚫 Netplan

Ubuntu 20.04 configures network interfaces using Netplan, so my first thought was: I can write a Netplan configuration that matches network interfaces with their MAC addresses, and assigns the desired name to each network interface.

The config file would look like this:

NFD nightly went APT

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

Last year, I started building NFD nightly packages in GitHub Actions. So far, installation is a manual procedure: the user must manually download the ZIP files from nfd-nightly.ndn.today, decompress them, and figure out the dependency among various .deb packages. Starting today, I'm publishing NFD nightly packages in an APT repository, and you can install them with apt-get command.

Add the NFD nightly APT repository

Add the repository with the command that matches your platform:

# Ubuntu 18.04 (bionic), amd64 (laptops and servers)
echo "deb [trusted=yes] https://nfd-nightly-apt.ndn.today/ubuntu bionic main" \
  | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/nfd-nightly.list

# Ubuntu 20.04 (focal), amd64 (laptops and servers)
echo "deb [trusted=yes] https://nfd-nightly-apt.ndn.today/ubuntu focal main" \
  | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/nfd-nightly.list

# Debian 10 (buster), amd64 (laptops and servers)
echo "deb [trusted=yes] https://nfd-nightly-apt.ndn.today/debian buster main" \
  | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/nfd-nightly.list

# Debian 10 (buster), armv7 (Raspberry Pi 3 or 4)
echo "deb [trusted=yes] https://nfd-nightly-apt.ndn.today/debian buster main" \
  | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/nfd-nightly.list

# Debian 10 (buster), armv6 (Raspberry Pi Zero W)
echo "deb [trusted=yes] https://nfd-nightly-apt.ndn.today/raspberrypi buster main" \
  | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/nfd-nightly.list

How to Host a Website in Oracle Cloud Free Tier

Oracle Cloud is a cloud computing service offered by Oracle Corporation. Oracle Cloud has a generous free tier that offers two "always free" virtual machine (VM) instances with the following specification:

  • KVM virtualization
  • 1/8 CPU cores (AMD EPYC 7551)
  • 1GB memory
  • 45GB disk storage
  • 1 IPv4 address, no IPv6
  • 48Mbps Internet bandwidth

I signed up for Oracle Cloud, so that I can have some more free computing resources to play with. The sign-up procedure requires a credit card for identity confirmation purpose, but the credit card will not be charged. During sign-up, there's a choice of home region, which determines the location of VM instances; once selected, it cannot be changed in the future.

A common use case for a virtual machine is to host a website. Due to the firewalls, hosting a website on Oracle Cloud needs a few more steps. Here's exactly how to deploy a website in a Oracle Cloud Free Tier VM instance.

Create a VM Instance

How to Select Default IPv6 Source Address for Outbound Traffic with Netplan

I bought a few Virtual Private Servers (VPS) on Black Friday, and have been busy setting them up. Nowadays, most VPS comes with an IPv6 subnet that contains millions of possible addresses. Initially, only one IPv6 address is assigned to the server, but the user can assign additional addresses as desired. Given that I plan to run multiple services within a server, I added a few more IPv6 addresses so that each service can have a unique IPv6 address.

One of my servers is using KVM virtualization technology, in which I installed Ubuntu 20.04 operating system manually from an ISO image. Unlike a template-based installation, an ISO-installed Ubuntu 20.04 system manages its networks using Netplan, a backend-agnostic network configuration utility that generates network configuration from YAML files. Most VPS control panels, including SolusVM and Virtualizer, are unable to generate the YAML files needed by Netplan. IPv4 works out of box via DHCP, but IPv6 has to be configured manually. To assign two IPv6 addresses to my server, I need to write the following in /etc/netplan/01-netcfg.yaml:

network:
  version: 2
  ethernets:
    ens3:
      dhcp4: true
      addresses:
        - 2001:db8:30fa:5877::1/64
        - 2001:db8:30fa:5877::beef/64
      routes:
        - to: ::/0
          via: 2001:db8:30fa::1
          on-link: true
      nameservers:
        addresses:
        - 2001:4860:4860::8888
        - 2606:4700:4700::1111

I intend to host my secret beef recipes on its unique IPv6 address 2001:db8:30fa:5877::beef, and use the other address 2001:db8:30fa:5877::1 for outbound traffic such as pings and traceroutes. However, I noticed that the wrong address is being selected for outgoing packets:

$ ping 2001:db8:57eb:8479::2

$ sudo tcpdump -n icmp6
tcpdump: verbose output suppressed, use -v or -vv for full protocol decode
listening on venet0, link-type LINUX_SLL (Linux cooked), capture size 262144 bytes
00:44:48.704099 IP6 2001:db8:30fa:5877::beef > 2001:db8:57eb:8479::2: ICMP6, echo request, seq 1, length 64
00:44:48.704188 IP6 2001:db8:57eb:8479::2 > 2001:db8:30fa:5877::beef: ICMP6, echo reply, seq 1, length 64
00:44:49.704011 IP6 2001:db8:30fa:5877::beef > 2001:db8:57eb:8479::2: ICMP6, echo request, seq 2, length 64
00:44:49.704099 IP6 2001:db8:57eb:8479::2 > 2001:db8:30fa:5877::beef: ICMP6, echo reply, seq 2, length 64

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

Instructions

Which platform should I choose?

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
SCRIPT

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
  end
  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"
end

Differences from 2017