UCLA, Cisco & more join forces to replace TCP/IP

Named Data Networking Consortium makes its debut in LA

Big name academic and vendor organizations have unveiled a consortium this week that's pushing Named Data Networking (NDN), an emerging Internet architecture designed to better accommodate data and application access in an increasingly mobile world.

The Named Data Networking Consortium members, which include universities such as UCLA and China's Tsinghua University as well as vendors such as Cisco and VeriSign, are meeting this week at a two-day workshop at UCLA to discuss NDN's promise for scientific research. Big data, eHealth and climate research are among the application areas on the table. 

The NDN effort has been backed in large part by the National Science Foundation, which has put more than $13.5 million into it since 2010. Since that time, participating organizations have somewhat quietly been working on new protocols and specifications, including a new packet format, that have been put through their paces in a testbed that spans from the United States to Asia. Their aim is to put forth an Internet architecture that's more secure, able to support more bandwidth and friendlier to app developers. Cryptographic authentication, flow balance and adaptive routing/forwarding are among the key underlying principles.

NDN NDN Consortium

IP vs. NDN architectures

UCLA has been particularly involved in the NDN effort, and the consortium has been organized by researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science. Interestingly, among those involved is Jeff Burke, Assistant Dean for Technology and Innovation at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, emphasizing the interdisciplinary approach being taken with NDN.

Co-leaders of the project are Lixia Zhang, UCLA’s Jonathan B. Postel Chair in Computer Science, and Van Jacobson, an Internet Hall of Famer and adjunct professor at UCLA. NDN has its roots in content-centric networking, a concept that Jacobson started at Xerox PARC.

Other participants are in charge of various aspects of the project: Washington University in St. Louis, for instance, is spearheading scalable NDN forwarding technologies and managing the global testbed.

NDN testbed NDN

It's no surprise to see Cisco getting into NDN early either (it costs $25K for commercial entities to join, though is free for certain academic institutions). David Oran, a Cisco Fellow and VoIP expert, said in a statement that the consortium "will help evolve NDN by establishing a multifaceted community of academics, industry and users. We expect this consortium to be a major help in advancing the design, producing open-source software, and fostering standardization and adoption of the technology.”

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