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ns-3's GSoC 2017

This webpage highlights project ideas for ns-3's Google Summer of Code 2017 effort.

The thirteen week coding period for projects runs from 30 May to 25 August, 2017. The full project timeline is here:

About the ns-3 project

ns-3 is a discrete-event network simulator, with a particular emphasis on network research and education.

Users of ns-3 can construct simulations of computer networks using models of traffic generators, protocols such as TCP/IP, and devices and channels such as WiFi, and analyze or visualize the results. Simulation plays a vital role in the research and education process, because of the ability for simulations to obtain reproducible results (particularly for wireless protocol design), scale to large networks, and study systems that have not yet been implemented. A particular emphasis in ns-3 is the high degree of realism in the models (including frameworks for real application and kernel code) and integration of the tool with virtual machine environments and testbeds; we view that researchers need to move more effortlessly between simulation, testbeds, and live experiments, and ns-3 is designed to facilitate that.

Our GSoC organizational admin is Tom Henderson and our backup org admin is Tommaso Pecorella. The project has participated in past GSoCs during 2008-10 and 2012-15.

Mentors will be paired with students based on the projects that are selected. Mentors from companies are welcome, if the employer will permit the mentor sufficient time to perform the mentoring. Prospective mentors should notify Tom Henderson or Tommaso Pecorella of interest. Mentors familiar with ns-3 development practices will be preferred, to improve the chances of student code merge.

ns-3 and other GSoC mentoring organisations

Students interested in ns-3 and GSoC are also encouraged to explore whether other organizations might be a suitable mentoring organization for their project idea. Please keep in mind, though, that the ns-3 project is not involved in the selection process for these other mentoring organizations, and you will have to apply there instead.

Students: how to participate

For students interested in applying to ns-3 for GSOC, first wait to see if ns-3 will be selected. If so, then go through the following list to get started:

Below is a list of #Project Ideas proposed by the ns-3 team for Google Summer of Code 2017. Please note that these ideas are not limited to GSoC; anyone is welcome to work on them. Please email the ns-developers list if you have a different idea that you'd like to work on, to see if a mentor may be interested. Applicants are encouraged to look over this list, pick one that especially interests them, think about it, and discuss potential approaches on the ns-developers list. Previous experience with the Google Summer of Code programmes suggest that the more you discuss and refine your proposal on the mailing list beforehand, the stronger the proposal it will develop into, and the higher your chances of being accepted into the programme.

Each project idea within a particular priority has been tagged with the following properties:

  • Required Experience: Languages, concepts, or packages with which applicants must be familiar.
  • Bonus Experience: Other experience or familiarity which would be greatly helpful to applicants for this project.
  • Interests: Areas of particular relevance to this project, and an indicator of where successful students might apply their experiences coming out of this project.
  • Difficulty: easy, medium or difficult
  • Recommended reading: pointers to documentation, papers, specific bugs, etc.

Note that all of the projects require some experience and comfort with C++. Project ideas for which C++ is noted as a required experience will require more and deeper familiarity with the language. A similar notion applies to computer networking, BSD sockets, etc: Familiarity is strongly preferred, but is not required except where explicitly noted due to the topic being more advanced in that regard.

Mentors: how to participate

The ns-3 project is open to the proposal of new project ideas by developers interested in being a GSoC mentor. For mentors who're adding project ideas to the list below, please ensure that:

  • The projects are sized such that there can be a code merge by the end of the coding period. The scope of the project should be such that it is very difficult to not have a code merge by the end of the summer.
  • The proposed projects are not too open-ended. That is, if the deliverables or a clear path to the same are not well understood, it is better kept outside GSOC.
  • There should be a clear merge path to one of the main project code repositories (ns-3-dev, ns-3-dce, bake) by the end of the summer, either because the patches directly apply to these repositories, or because they apply to an ns-3 module that is in the process of being merged with ns-3-dev.

Project Ideas

Note to students: These ideas are not listed in any priority order.

Usability improvements

Mentors: Tom Henderson, others TBD

Usability of ns-3 can always be improved, whether it is help with building simulations, running simulation campaigns, using the ns-3 C++ API, improving the Python user experience, visualizing simulations or data, software packaging (e.g. binary packages or Docker containers), or documentation. This project is for a student who has been using ns-3 for a while and has ideas on how to make it better during GSoC. We don't want to limit the scope of proposals here; we will consider any project ideas that improve ns-3 usability in some way (please explain to us why the usability improvement is important to users beyond yourself, and why you would argue for your particular solution, and of course describe how you plan to get it done during the timeframe of GSoC).

Direct Code Execution upgrade

Mentors: Tom Henderson, others TBD

ns-3 has an extension known as Direct Code Execution, which allows users to build C or C++-based applications, and open source (Linux, FreeBSD) kernels, into ns-3. However, support for the latest kernels (e.g. Linux kernel 4 series) and latest gcc versions has languished. We also could better integrate DCE with the main ns-3 tree. This project seeks a student interested in DCE, improving usability, and making it current with latest kernels and toolchains. The payoff of this type of project is very high since DCE makes available a lot of real-world models for use in ns-3. If you select this project idea, please engage with us on the developers list, and consider to take a look at solving one of the open DCE issues in our tracker, for starters.

App Store

Mentor: Tom Henderson

ns-3 needs an App Store as it modularizes its code base. What do we have in mind? It would look something like Cytoscape's App Store (imagine this being repurposed for ns-3). In fact, Cytoscape has been so kind as to publish all of their source code, a wiki, and even Docker containers. So, what we have in mind is a student who will get a variant of Cytoscape App Store up and running for us and work on all of the integration details, and to seed it with some initial apps. This is not a traditional ns-3 summer code project, but if done well, it would have high impact on the project's dissemination and usability.

  • Required or Preferred Experience: Wordpress, djanjo, Python, Apache
  • Difficulty: you tell us :)

Windows Visual Studio Community support

Note: Robert Ammon is already working on this, so we are removing it from GSoC suggested ideas

Mentors: Tom Henderson

ns-3 is primarily developed on Linux and OS X, and has had some unofficial Visual Studio support in the past: In this suggested project, the student will help ns-3 produce a maintainable Visual Studio version for the latest free version of Visual Studio (Visual Studio Community 2015). This will require not only working with the core maintainers on solving compiler compatibility issues, but also providing clear documentation for Windows users, support for NetAnim animator, support for standing up a Windows buildslave in our regression testbed, and any other things that the student feels will enhance the Windows ns-3 experience (time permitting). If you select this project idea, please tell us about your experience/ability to work with Visual Studio, and how you plan to take what has already been done for Visual Studio 2012 and improve it.

  • Required Experience: Windows Visual Studio
  • Interests: build systems, IDEs
  • Difficulty: Medium.

Freshen ns-3/Click integration

Mentors: Tom Henderson

ns-3 and Click modular routing were first integrated in an ns-3 GSoC project from 2010. We seek a student interested in the following tasks:

  • Since 2010, Ipv4L3Protocol has continued to evolve, but Ipv4L3ClickProtocol has not kept pace with the changes. Also, IPv6 is not supported. Refactor Ipv4L3Protocol and Ipv4L3ClickProtocol (or delete Ipv4L3ClickProtocol altogether) so that the click-specific pieces are limited and can be maintained more easily.
    • Current thoughts on this are that we would like to modify the approach. It would be nice for Click to run on ns-3 in a manner that is as close as possible to its working outside simulation (raw sockets + tun/tap devices). This will hopefully allow us to delete IPv4L3ClickProtocol and avoid needed ns-3 code to expect Click to provide a routing table. ns-3 traffic generators should then be able to send packets to an ns-3 equivalent of a tun/tap device (which doesn't presently exist), have packets show up in Click, and then get Click to push those packets directly to an interface using raw sockets from inside ns-3.
  • There was an ns-3 2011 summer project (not part of GSoC, but a follow-on project) to try to finish the integration with ClickMac. We'd like to update it, finish it off, and merge it with ns-3-dev. Some brief discussion was here:
    • The blocking issue at the time was in the Wi-Fi module; the changes in radiotap and frame injection over monitor mode, which Click needed, were not finished (accepted).
  • Anything else that a student thinks would be useful to support regarding click and ns-3 integration. Consider to review in the recent literature (see Google Scholar) how Click is now being used for research, and think about then what might be research-driven priorities for support in ns-3. Provide evidence (citations) in your application.

The list is not exhaustive and not limiting. I.e., the candidate can propose other points and/or concentrate on a specific subset.

  • Required Experience: C++
  • Bonus Experience: IPv4, IPv6, Click.
  • Interests: Software integration.
  • Difficulty: Medium.

TCP variants for Data Center Networks

Mentors: Mohit P. Tahiliani

Improving the performance of TCP in Data Center Networks is an interesting research topic. Some promising solutions are available, such as Data Center TCP (DCTCP), Deadline-Aware Dataceter TCP (D2TCP), Incast Congestion Control for TCP (ICTCP) and others. ns-3-dev has a rich set of TCP variants, but lacks support for TCPs which are designed for Data Center Networks. This project aims to develop models and examples for TCP variants that are tailored to perform well in Data Center environment.

  • Required Experience: Familiarity with TCP congestion control algorithms, C++ programming.
  • Bonus Experience: TCP performance analysis.
  • Interests: Data Center Networking, TCP performance.
  • Difficulty: Medium to Hard, depending on the depth of the project.
  • Recommended reading:

Linux-like Proportional Rate Reduction (PRR) for ns-3 TCP

Mentors: Mohit P. Tahiliani

Proportional Rate Reduction (PRR) algorithm is an alternative to the traditional Fast Recovery and Rate Halving approaches in TCP, and has been the default congestion avoidance algorithm since Linux 3.2+ kernels. PRR is described in RFC 6937 and has been designed to improve the accuracy of the amount of data sent by TCP during loss recovery. This project proposal is to: extend ns-3 TCP to support the PRR algorithm, test the correctness of its implementation and provide examples.

  • Required Experience: Familiarity with TCP congestion control algorithms, C++ programming.
  • Bonus Experience: Loss recovery algorithms for TCP.
  • Interests: TCP performance enhancements.
  • Difficulty: Easy to Medium.
  • Recommended reading:

High performance ns-3 emulation

Mentors: Stefano Avallone

The current ns-3 emulation framework has certain limitations in terms of throughput and latency performance, due to the computationally intensive polling between the user space ns-3 instance and the kernel, and lack of flow control support, because the emulated netdevice cannot detect when the real device queue is full. The aim of this project would be to improve the current situation by investigating two alternatives: the use of the PACKET_TX_RING/PACKET_RX_RING options of the AF_PACKET socket and the use of kernel bypass techniques such as netmap. The former requires to extend the existing FdNetDevice object (which uses AF_PACKET sockets), while the latter requires to develop a new netdevice exploiting the netmap API. The performance of the developed solution(s) shall be evaluated and compared to the current situation.

802.15.4 Bootstrap

Mentors: Tommaso Pecorella

The lr-wpan model is an 802.15.4 PHY and MAC model currently in development. The model is able to simulate an 802.15.4 network in ad-hoc mode, much like Contiki-os nodes do. An useful extension is to fully support the node bootstrap phase, including node association and beacon request/reply. The goal of the project is to enhance the lr-wpan module so to use beacons in the bootstrap phase along with network scanning and pan-id resolution for in-range coordinators.

  • Required Experience: C++, WSN
  • Bonus Experience: 802.15.4 standard
  • Interests: WSN
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Recommended reading:

802.15.4 Beacon-enabled mode

Mentors: Tommaso Pecorella

The lr-wpan model is an 802.15.4 PHY and MAC model currently in development. The model is able to simulate an 802.15.4 network in ad-hoc mode, much like Contiki-os nodes do. Unlike Contiki-os, the model could benefit from supporting beacon-enabled mode of operation. The beacon-enabled mode is a fully slotted transmission mode, with guaranteed slots and bound performances, unlike the ad-hoc mode. This is especially important because the L3 routing protocols might be strongly affected by the lower-layer topology. Hence it is of paramount importance to be able to simulate both in ns-3. The goal of the project is to develop the new beacon-enabled MAC layer for the lr-wpan module.

  • Required Experience: C++, WSN
  • Bonus Experience: 802.15.4 standard
  • Interests: WSN
  • Difficulty: medium/hard
  • Recommended reading:

DSR routing RFC compliance

Mentors: Tommaso Pecorella

The DSR routing module is not compliant with the RFC 4728. This leads to a number of small issues, like simulation imprecision and impossibility to decode the messages with Wireshark. The goal of the project is to enhance the current model and to make it RFC-compliant, eventually doing a code refectory where needed. A possible enhancement over the base protocol could also be to include support for IPv6 in the implementation.

  • Required Experience: C++
  • Bonus Experience: DSR standard
  • Interests: Ad-hoc routing
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Recommended reading:

Implementation of realistic traffic shaping algorithms in ns-3

Mentors: Mohit P. Tahiliani, Stefano Avallone

ns-3 has a traffic control layer which allows the user to simulate a Linux-like traffic control subsystem and perform tasks such as traffic shaping and queue management. There are models for queue management such as pfifo_fast, RED, Adaptive RED, CoDel and PIE in ns-3, but we need realistic traffic shaping algorithms like Token Bucket Filter (TBF), Hierarchical Token Bucket (HTB) and more. This project proposal is to extend the traffic control layer of ns-3 to support realistic traffic shaping algorithms, test the correctness of their implementation and provide examples.

Enhancing LTE mobility by adding a radio link failure support

Mentors: Biljana Bojovic, Zoraze Ali

In current LTE model of ns-3 the Radio Link Failure (RLF) is not handled, which means that RRC supports only the CONNECTED mode. In other words, with the current model, an UE that experiences bad link quality and that does not perform handover (because of, e.g., no neighbour cells, handover disabled, handover thresholds misconfigured) just stay associated with the same eNB, and the scheduler will stop allocating resources to it for communications. In order to model RLF properly, RRC IDLE mode should be supported, including in particular idle mode cell (re-)selection.

Enabling LTE CA handover to secondary cell

Mentors: Biljana Bojovic

In current LTE carrier aggregation (CA) model of ns-3 the handover among different component carriers is not supported. This is because the current LTE CA model does not treat different component carriers as different cells. Additionally, the primary component carrier is fixed and there is no procedure that allows change of a primary component carrier. In order to allow handover among component carriers, it is necessary to enhance SAP interfaces between RRC and component carrier manager (CCM), and also between CCM and lower layers (MAC, PHY) to allow change of primary component carrier, and also to extend the model so that each component carrier is treated as independent cell. Optionally, measurements framework may be extended to allow A6 event.

User-friendly internet-apps

Mentors: Tom Henderson

Ping is a ubiquitous application for reachability and latency measurements. ns-3 already has a ping model (the and However, a user-friendly API could still be added. It is not straightforward to configure an ns-3 program to do in a single statement, for example, "Ping the IP address W.X.Y.Z from node 0 between times 5 and 50 seconds in my program, and save the output in traditional format to the file <filename.txt>", or to configure the many options found in the ping man page. This project is therefore not about developing brand new features as much as it is about making ping super-easy to use with a great API. Have a look at how ns-3 programs are written, and tell us what kind of API makes sense to you, and why, and how you would go about prioritizing its implementation. If ping is solved very early, the project can follow the same pattern for one or two more applications (e.g. netperf, iperf, etc.).

  • Required Experience:C++
  • Interests: Network performance management
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Recommended reading:

nam upgrade and support for ns-3

Mentors: Tom Henderson

nam is a Tcl/Tk-based animator for ns-2. Some example videos are found at YouTube. nam has been functionally replaced in many ways by NetAnim, but it still has some attractive features and might make a complementary animation tool for ns-3. In fact, someone did a proof-of-concept support of nam for ns-3 many years ago: This project would involve upgrading nam support to the latest Tcl/Tk release series (8.6) and then using the existing ns-3 trace system to generate nam output files such as in ns-2, and documenting and testing the results, including some demonstration videos.

  • Required Experience:C++, Tcl/Tk also preferred
  • Interests: Network visualization/animation
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Recommended reading:
    • the links listed above

ns-2 ports to ns-3

Mentors: Tom Henderson, Mohit P. Tahiliani

ns-2 is the predecessor to ns-3, but some popular models still exist in ns-2 and are not yet ported to ns-3. Google Scholar can be used to find topics for which people still are publishing papers using ns-2. This project idea is for someone who is fond of some feature or model found in ns-2 but not in ns-3. A successful application of this type will make a good case that the port is still relevant to network research, that people are using ns-2 due to this model, and will describe the technical approach that is planned to make the port (e.g. how OTcl default variables will be ported to ns-3). Please note that the networking relevance is very important part of the application; if you propose to port some feature of ns-2 that is dated or unlikely to be of much interest because its applicability is very narrow, your proposal will not be selected.

  • Required Experience:C++, ns-2 also preferred
  • Difficulty: Low to medium
  • Recommended reading:
    • ns-2 and ns-3 manuals

TCP analysis

Mentors: Tom Henderson, Mohit P. Tahiliani

This project is not about developing new TCP variants, but about developing a TCP analysis capability that is user-friendly and produces output similar to (perhaps integrates with?) tools such as captcp, Wireshark TCP analysis, tcptrace, Tstat, or other similar tools. An important part of your application will be a description of how a user will enable it in a user program, and some description of how it will be implemented.

  • Required Experience:C++, TCP
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Recommended reading:
    • ns-2 and ns-3 manuals

LTE IPv6 support

Mentors: Tommaso Pecorella, Tom Henderson

This project aims at supporting IPv6 in the LTE module. Actually, LTE module only supports IPv4, and the IPv6 proposals, so far, have been not completely satisfactory. The project should consider two main issues: 1) the IPv6 use in the `core' network (i.e., all the EPC part), using ULAs or link-local addresses, and 2) the IPv6 forwarding in the LTE data plane, enabling the UE to receive and use a /64 prefix, as stated in the standard. Point 1 could aim at replacing altogether the IPv4 in the EPC, while point 2 must maintain the dual stack capabilities in the UE.

  • Required Experience: C++, IPv6, LTE
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Recommended reading:
    • ns-2 and ns-3 manuals