NetAnim 1.0

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A simple animator is presented here, called NetAnim. Written by George Riley, and based on the multi-platform QT4 GUI toolkit, it is capable of animating simulations with PointToPoint links in ns-3. It depicts frames on the links as they travel from node to node. NetAnim requires a custom trace file for animation. This trace file is generated by an animation interface and is included in the current version of ns-3. See NetAnim for newer versions.

The NetAnim GUI


The animator requires the QT4 development packages.

Debian or Ubuntu Linux distribution


If you are using an Red Hat /Fedora based distribution, look for similar qt4 packages (or libqt4*) and install these using yum. Typically "yum install qt" and "yum install qt-devel" should be sufficient

Mac users should install the binaries:

Make sure to download the binary package; look for a link to something without the word "src" or "debug" in the download filename. These will be the library binaries you need.

Also, you will require mercurial. See your distribution's packages or the mercurial website for more info.

Downloading NetAnim

The tarball of the source code is available here. Download it, then untar it:

tar -xzvf NetAnim.tar.gz

See NetAnim for information on newer versions.

Building NetAnim

NetAnim uses a QT4 build tool called qmake; this is similar to the configure script from autotools in that it generates the Makefile, which make then uses to build the project. qmake is different on different versions of Qt, so we'll provide some additional information that is system dependent. You can check your default version of qmake:

qmake --version
Qmake version: 1.07a (Qt 3.3.8b)
Qmake is free software from Trolltech ASA.

If you see something like the above, where it says Qt 3.x.x, find the qt4 version of qmake on your system and explicitly call it instead.

In General

cd NetAnim

On Mac OS X

cd NetAnim

Note that above, the x.y is the specific version of Qt4 you are running. As of April 1st 2009, the latest version is 4.5.0, although you might have an older version already installed.

If the above steps do not work , please see the suggestion below from a user

1. Download Qt libraries for Mac from the page
    for example: []
2. Download NetAnim from []
3. $tar -xzvf NetAnim.tar.gz
4. $cd NetAnim
5. $/usr/bin/qmake-4.7
    This will create xcode project NetAnim.xcodeproj
6. Open NetAnim.xcodeproj with xcode and build.You will get NetAnim executable.

On Ubuntu/Debian with Qt3 AND Qt4

cd NetAnim

The Animation Interface for ns-3

The NetAnim GUI requires a custom trace file for animation. This trace file is created by an animation interface in ns-3. The animation interface has been merged with the main tree as of ns-3.6. The source code for the animation interface is located in src/helper.

Running an Example File

Two example scripts exist in ns-3 for NetAnim, dumbbell-animation and grid-animation. They are located under examples/animation. The examples can be executed with the following commmands:

./waf --run 'examples/animation/dumbbell-animation --nLeftLeaf=5 --nRightLeaf=5'
./waf --run 'examples/animation/grid-animation --xSize=5 --ySize=5'

This command generates the custom trace output for the NetAnim GUI. Take the output file we generated, and feed it into NetAnim. Copy the file from ns-3 directory to the NetAnim directory. From the NetAnim directory:


This should produce an animation of the packets in the simulation. The sliders control the behavior of the speed of animation.

Creating Custom Scripts for Animation

If you would like to create custom scripts for animation because you need more than a simple dumbbell or grid topology, please keep in mind that nodes must be assigned locations for your animation to show up. Some example code for assigning node locations exists in point-to-point-grid-helper and point-to-point-dumbbell helper, specifically in the BoundingBox functions.