DataCast (content-centric network protocol)

Duration:   01.08.2010 - 31.12.2013
Projectleader:  Prof. Dr. Horst Hellbrück
Staff: Mohamed Hail, Torsten Teubler


Besides evolutionary development of the future Internet also completely new approaches evolve which propose an entirely different communication paradigm. The project "Datacast" investigates data-centric network protocols in the Internet for the development and evaluation of content-centric communication paradigms. Let us first take a look into the current functioning of the Internet. Today, a key element of the internet is an end-to-end connection for data transfer, a communication paradigm that has its origins in the 60 years of the last century. End-to-end means that two communicating partners exchange messages directly with each other. These messages are "just" transmitted through the network and are not addressable. Our research follows the "content-centric" paradigm, where transmitted data is being addressable. The CoSA research group examine the role of this approach in a future "content-centric" Internet.


The focus of Datacast is the development and evaluation of a content-centric communication paradigm for the Internet. This approach should replace the existing end-to-end communication paradigm. The goal of this project is new models, software architecture, algorithms and protocols for future data-centric Internet.

RoombaNet – Testbed for mobile networks

Testbed Struktur zur Evaluation und zum Testen von mobilen Netzwerkprotokollen
Testbed architecture for the evaluation and testing of mobile network protocols

A testbed has been created for evaluation and testing of new approaches and algorithms at the University of Applied Sciences Lübeck. The testbed consists of stationary and mobile sensor nodes that are deployed on mobile Roomba household robots. The mobile robots are simple and effective to control over a serial interface and perfect for use as carrier systems for wireless devices. The mobile nodes can return to to their charging stations by sending a command.

TriSOS Sensorknoten auf dem Roomba-Roboter
A mobile node on a
Roomba household robot

The mobile nodes communicate either via IEEE 802.11 or IEEE 802.15.4 and are controlled independently. During the test, the data is collected via wireless LAN and stored on the testbed server. Then the data can be analyzed and evaluated. The automated test run starts, when the mobile node received its configuration, the protocol and software. In addition, the RoombaNet is integrated in the testbed "Wisebed" and thus fully remotely controllable over the Internet.

Content-centric Network

An example of data distribution in a data-centric network
An example of data distribution in a data-centric network

Data-centric protocols use data storage on each network level. The data storage in data-centric networks is a packet-level cache and is available in each node of the network. Data can therefore be stored closer to the user. The response time (data transmission, waiting time and processing time) is shortened from the user's query until receiving the associated response. Because the data is requested from the data store in the vicinity of the user rather than the more distant source, the amount of traffic (number of packets and packet size) is reduced in the entire network.
Another advantage of data-centric networks is the flexible use of security mechanisms. The data may prove their authenticity, for example, by a cryptographic signature, during the transmitting. The data-centric approach also plays a large role in sensor networks. During the data distribution, the network nodes are able to cache data from the sources efficiently to answer questions.


Publications during the project:

Refereed Articles and Book Chapters
[2012] Transparent Integration of Non-IP WSN into IP Based Networks (Torsten Teubler, Mohamed A. Hail, Horst Hellbrück), In International Conference on Distributed Computing in Sensor Systems and Workshops IEEE Computer Society, 2012. [bib] [abstract]
Embedded devices connected to the Internet will start an increasing growth of the Internet in near future. Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) will play a major role in that growth. In the past several solutions were proposed to make sensor networks IP capable. Today there are IPv6-Stacks available including web servers running on sensor nodes. However, a gateway is always needed to convert the routing protocols and MAC-Layer Protocols including compression of IP packets to run on these devices. The overhead using IPv6 on the nodes is very high in respect of code size and message overhead. Therefore, in our approach we design and implement a system based on simple protocols target for sensor network nodes and a flexible gateway working in a hybrid fashion for our sensor network testbed. We successfully integrated this non-IP WSN in the Internet and our testbed is productive available from any computer connected to the Internet for reference. In this paper we present the architecture of our solution and present the implementation details of a standard WSN application that can be used for evaluation.
Refereed Conference Papers
[2014] A Solution for the Naming Problem for Name-Centric Services (Torsten Teubler, Mohamed Ahmed M. Hail, Horst Hellbrück), In 12th International Conference on Wired & Wireless Internet Communications (WWIC 2014), 2014. [bib] [abstract]
In recent past name-centric or content-centric networking (CCN) has gained substantial attention in the networking community. In a further development step name-centric service architecture enables the flexible placement and distribution of services in the network especially in a heterogeneous environment of wired and wireless (sensor) networks. However, the problem of structuring and creating hierarchies for names in name-centric networks is not solved yet. E.g. there is no configuration of service names in name-centric service WSN, no concept of unsolicited names or link-local names in CCN. In IP networks, DHCP or IPv6 auto- configuration is available, but no equivalent technique exists for CCN. We analyze the naming problem in the software development life cycle for name-centric services in WSN and propose a structure, hierarchy, and configuration mechanism for names. The paper introduces the overall concept and preliminary steps of implementation.
[2013] Wiseman - A Management and Deployment Approach for WSN Testbed Software (Torsten Teubler, Horst Hellbrück), In 2013 IEEE INFOCOM Student Poster Session (INFOCOM'2013 Student Posters), 2013. [bib] [pdf] [abstract]
Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) are an emerging technology. Today research in this field focuses on WSN testbeds to evaluate algorithms under realistic conditions. Numerous WSN testbed platforms allow remote deployment of WSN code and control of WSN experiments. However, one major aspect for testbeds was not addressed until now, namely the deployment and management of the testbed software itself. By deployment we mean installation and configuration of software. Once deployed on the testbed machines executables or services need maintenance and management. During testbed lifetime, periodic redeployment of testbed software is necessary due to new software versions, configuration changes, or an extension of the testbed. In this work, we present Wiseman a management and deployment approach and an implementation of Wiseman for the Wisebed WSN testbed software.
[2013] Name-Centric Service Architecture for Cyber-Physical Systems (Short Paper) (Horst Hellbrück, Torsten Teubler, Stefan Fischer), In Service-Oriented Computing and Applications (SOCA), 2013 6th IEEE International Conference on, 2013. [bib] [abstract]
The goal of Service-Oriented Architectures (SOA) is to enable easy cooperation of a large number of computers and orchestration of services that are connected via a network. However, SOA for wireless senor networks (WSN) and cyber-physical systems (CPS) is still a challenging task. Consequently, for design and development of large CPS like WSNs connected to clouds, SOA has not yet evolved as an integral technology. One of the limiting issues is service registration and discovery. In large CPS discovery of services is tedious, mostly due to the fact that services are often semantically bound to a region or an application function while SOA forces service endpoints to be based on addresses of nodes. Also, today, SOA technologies are not used for service composition within sensor nodes and between sensor nodes, and even worse, different methods exist for service access in a WSN and in the backend. Therefore, service development differs largely in WSN and cloud. To overcome this limitation, we suggest a name-centric service architecture for cyber-physical systems. Our architecture is based on (a) using URNs instead of URLs to provide a service-centric architecture instead of service- or location-centric networking, (b) using the well-known CCNx protocol as a basis for our architecture which supports location and access transparency, and (c) employing CCN-WSN as the resource-efficient lightweight implementation for WSNs to build a name-based service bus for CPS. We evaluate the architecture by implementing an example application for facility management.
[2013] CCN-WSN - a lightweight, flexible Content-Centric Networking Protocol for Wireless Sensor Networks (Zhong Ren, Mohamed A. Hail, Horst Hellbrück), In 2013 IEEE Eighth International Conference on Intelligent Sensors, Sensor Networks and Information Processing (IEEE ISSNIP 2013), 2013. [bib] [abstract]
In future Internet research, content centric networking (CCN) is a new promising approach. CCNx has been introduced recently as an open source protocol suite for CCN and implementation base for practical research. In wireless sensor networks (WSNs) research, data or content centric approaches like in-network processing and data aggregation are important. While the principle of CCN is a suitable approach in WSNs, the CCNx protocol suite designed for PCs is not applicable to resource-constrained WSNs. Additionally, gateways necessary between CCNx and WSN are difficult to implement. Therefore, we design, implement and evaluate a lightweight variant of a CCN protocol specifically for WSNs called CCN-WSN. Key concepts of CCNx protocol are integrated but a variety of aspects are revised to meet the memory and computational constraints of sensor nodes and communication patterns in WSNs. E.g. the message format is simplified and some fields are omitted completely. Instead, we propose a flexible naming strategy which extends the functionality of content names to add small amount of data in interest messages. For performance evaluation a challenging time-synchronization application was implemented with CCN-WSN to demonstrate the flexibility of the approach and a comparison with a reference protocol for data dissemination called AutoCast is presented.
[2011] API for Data Dissemination Protocols - Evaluation with AutoCast (Sebastian Ebers, Mohamed A. Hail, Stefan Fischer, Horst Hellbrück), In The Third World Congress on Nature and Biologically Inspired Computing (NaBIC 2011) IEEE, 2011. [bib] [pdf] [abstract]
In the past various protocols inspired by nature and biology have been proposed to disseminate or transfer data in mobile or static ad-hoc networks. Many of them are designed for usage in wireless sensor networks or vehicular ad-hoc networks. Recently, we have developed and designed a general purpose data dissemination protocol called AutoCast in this field that we evaluated in detail by simulations. When we started to use AutoCast in real applications, we found out that the description of AutoCast is incomplete, as we provided the algorithms of AutoCast in details but did neither provide nor describe a suitable Application Programming Interface (API) and AutoCast was closely coupled to the application. The focus of this article is twofold. First, we propose an appropriate API to encapsulate data dissemination protocols like AutoCast and we specify the service interface of AutoCast in detail. This API can serve as a reference model for other nature and biologically inspired data dissemination approaches and applications. Second, we evaluate two applications based on our API with AutoCast in the field of wireless sensor networks and vehicular ad-hoc networks to illustrate the usage of the API and demonstrate the flexibility of this approach.
Refereed Workshop Papers
[2013] Efficient Data Aggregation with CCNx in Wireless Sensor Networks (Torsten Teubler, Mohamed Ahmed M. Hail, Horst Hellbrück), In 19th EUNICE Workshop on Advances in Communication Networking (EUNICE 2013), 2013. [bib] [abstract]
CCNx is the reference implementation for a content centric networking (CCN) protocol developed by the Palo Alto Research Center CCNx group. It serves also as reference for our CCN-WSN, a CCNx implementation for wireless sensor networks (WSN). Efficient data aggregation with CCN-WSN is a challenge. In order to collect data from source in the network data sinks have to poll data sources with interests and exclude fields in interests are necessary bloating the interest messages. We solve the problem by introducing three building blocks in CCN-WSN: unicast faces for packet filtering and ``link'' abstraction, a forwarding service for creating network overlay structures used by applications and an intra-node protocol providing an API for applications to interact with the forwarding service. For evaluation purpose we implement an application using a forwarding service implementing a tree topology to collect data in the WSN.
[2011] RoombaNet - Testbed for Mobile Networks (Mohamed A. Hail, Jan Pinkowski, Torsten Teubler, Maick Danckwardt, Dennis Pfisterer, Horst Hellbrück), In Proceedings of the Workshops der wissenschaftlichen Konferenz Kommunikation in verteilten Systemen 2011 (WowKiVS 2011) Electronic Communications of the EASST (Tiziana Margaria, Julia Padberg, Gabriele Taentzer, eds.), volume 37, 2011. [bib] [abstract]
The design and deployment of wireless networks needs careful planning including various tools for analysis, simulation and evaluation. Therefore, development of software to support deployment of wireless networks has been subject of intensive research for several years. In particular the evaluation of the influence of mobility remains a challenging task. For deployment of mobile communication networks operators perform simulations and measurements during the planning process with large efforts. In the past the research community based their decisions on development of new protocols on simulations exclusively. While network simulators provide fast investigation of huge and also mobile networks they rely on theoretical models which are often considered as inaccurate and too optimistic. Therefore, more and more real wireless network environments called testbeds are established worldwide most of them with static nodes. Testbeds dedicated towards mobile networks remain a challenge as the effort to build such a network increases with mobility. The work here presents an approach for a fully automated real-world mobile network testbed where nodes are piggybacked on mobile robots. The platform with up to 30 mobile nodes and additional 30 static nodes can emulate various scenarios especially suited for pedestrian scenarios or for slow car movements. In this paper we introduce this testbed which is integrated into the larger Real-World GLab Internet testbed facility. We provide first details of the hardware and software components and provide first evaluations as well as present application examples.
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Project Partners

  • Institute of Telematics, University of Lübeck
  • Fluid Operation GmbH
  • DiWiSH Cluster Digitale Wirtschaft Schleswig-Holstein
  • G-Lab


This project is funded by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research.
Project number 17PNT017, DataCast