Open Network Laboratory

A Resource for Networking Researchers and Educators

ONL is in the process of moving to a new location. Please be patient.

When citing ONL, please use the following Citation:
A Remotely Accessible Network Processor-Based Router for Network Experimentation, by Charlie Wiseman, Jonathan Turner, Michela Becchi, Patrick Crowley, John DeHart, Mart Haitjema, Shakir James, Fred Kuhns, Jing Lu, Jyoti Parwatikar, Ritun Patney, Michael Wilson, Ken Wong and David Zar. In ''Proceedings of ANCS'', 11/2008.

We are always accepting new users.
Click on the Get an account link in the sidebar and follow the instructions.

The Open Network Laboratory is a resource for the networking research and educational communities, designed to enable experimental evaluation of advanced networking concepts in a realistic working environment. The National Science Foundation has supported ONL through grants CNS 0230826, CNS 05551651 and MRI 12-29553. The laboratory is built around open-source, extensible, high performance routers that have been developed at Washington University, and which can be accessed by remote users through a Remote Laboratory Interface (RLI). The RLI allows users to configure the testbed network, run applications and monitor those running applications using the built-in data gathering mechanisms that the routers provide. The RLI provides support for data visualization and real-time remote displays, allowing users to develop the insights needed to understand the behavior of new capabilities within a complex operating environment.

The routers that support the testbed are Software Routers (SWRs) hosted on standard Dell servers running the Ubuntu operating system. They come in a variety of configurations. This technology enables systems researchers to evaluate and refine their ideas, and then to demonstrate them to those interested in moving the technology into new products and services.

The organization of the ONL is shown to the right. (figure needs updating) The facility has 24 SWRs which come in a variety of configurations. (for example: 5 1G interfaces, 2 10G interfaces, 16 1G interfaces or 8 1G interfaces). These routers can be linked together in a variety of network topologies, using a central Virtual Network Switch (VNS), which serves as an electronic patch panel. The facility also includes over 100 rackmount computers, which serve as end systems. All of the end systems and SWR ports are connected to the VNS. ONL also includes multi-core servers which support Virtual Machines (VMs) for end user use.

The figure below shows the user interface. (figure needs updating) New configurations can be built by instantiating routers and hosts and connecting them together graphically. Routing tables can configured through pull-down menus accessed by clicking on router ports. Packet filters and custom software plugins can be specified in much the same way. Once a configuration has been created, it can be saved to a file for later use. When a user is conducting an experiment, the configuration is submitted to the ONL management server, which generates the low level control messages to configure the various system components to realize the specified configuration.

The graphical interface also serves as a control mechanism, allowing access to various hardware and software control variables and traffic counters. The counters can be used to generate charts of traffic rates, or queue lengths as a function of time, to allow users to observe what happens at various points in the network during during their experiment and to allow them to document the results of the experiment for presentation and publication. An example of such a chart is shown to the right.

Supported by: National Science Foundation under grants CNS 0230826, CNS 05551651 and MRI 12-29553. Disclaimer: Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recomendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF).