A DEVICE INDEPENDENT ROUTER MODEL: FROM MEASUREMENTS TO SIMULATIONS
Tech report number
CERIAS TR 2008-23
Simulation, emulation, and wide-area testbeds exhibit different tradeoffs with respect to fidelity, scalability, and manageability. Network security and network planning/dimensioning experiments introduce additional requirements compared to traditional networking and distributed system experiments. For example, high capacity attack or multimedia flows can push packet forwarding devices to the limit and expose unexpected behaviors. Many popular simulation and emulation tools use high-level models of forwarding behavior in switches and routers, and give little guidance on setting model parameters such as buffer sizes. Thus, a myriad of papers report results that are highly sensitive to the forwarding model or buffer size used. In this work, we first motivate the need for better models by performing an extensive comparison between simulation and emulation environments for the same Denial of Service (DoS) attack experiment. Our results reveal that there are drastic differences between emulated and simulated results and between various emulation testbeds. We then argue that measurement-based models for routers and other forwarding devices are crucial. We devise such a model and validate it with measurements from three types of Cisco routers and one Juniper router, under varying traffic conditions. The structure of our model is device-independent, but requires device-specific parameters. The compactness of the parameter tables and simplicity of the model make it versatile for high-fidelity simulations that preserve simulation scalability. We construct a black box profiler to infer parameter tables within a few hours. Our results indicate that our model can approximate different types of routers. Additionally, the results indicate that queue characteristics vary dramatically among the devices we measure, and that backplane contention must be modeled.
2008 – 3 – 31