Emulated Net Device Model

Collaboration diagram for Emulated Net Device Model:

Emulated Net Device Model Overview

The emulated net device allows a simulation node to send and receive packets a real network.

The emulated net device relies on a specified interface being in promiscuous mode. It opens a raw socket and binds to that interface. We perform MAC spoofing to separate simulation network traffic from other network traffic that may be flowing to and from the host.

Normally, the use case for emulated net devices is in collections of small simulations that connect to the outside world through specific interfaces. For example, one could construct a number of virtual machines and connect them via a host-only network. To use the emulated net device, you would need to set all of the host-only interfaces in promiscuous mode and provide an appropriate device name, "eth1" for example.

One could also use the emulated net device in a testbed situation where the host on which the simulation is running has a specific interface of interest which drives the testbed hardware. You would also need to set this specific interface into promiscuous mode and provide an appropriate device name to the ns-3 emulated net device.

The emulated net device only works if the underlying interface is up in promiscuous mode. We could just turn it on, but the situation is that we expect the other considerations listed above to have been dealt with. To verify that these issues are dealt with, we just make sure that the end result of that process has taken place and that the specified interface is in promiscuous mode.

Packets will be sent out over the device, but we use MAC spoofing. The MAC addresses will be generated using the Organizationally Unique Identifier (OUI) 00:00:00 as a base. This vendor code is not assigned to any organization and so should not conflict with any real hardware.

It is always up to you to determine that using these MAC addresses is okay on your network and won't conflict with anything else (including another simulation using emu devices) on your network. If you are using the emulated net device in separate simulations you must consider global MAC address assignment issues and ensure that MAC addresses are unique across all simulations. The emulated net device respects the MAC address provided in the SetAddress method so you can do this manually. For larger simulations, you may want to set the OUI in the MAC address allocation function.

IP addresses corresponding to the emulated net devices are the addresses generated in the simulation, which are generated in the usual way via helper functions.

The emulated net device comes with a helper function as all ns-3 devices do. One unique aspect is that there is no channel associated with the underlying medium. We really have no idea what this medium is, and so have not made an effort to model it abstractly. The primary thing to be aware of is the implication this has for static global routing. The global router module attempts to walk the channels looking for adjacent networks. Since there is no channel, the global router will be unable to do this.

Emulated Net Device Tracing Model

Like all ns-3 devices, the Emu Model provides a number of trace sources. These trace sources can be hooked using your own custom trace code, or you can use our helper functions to arrange for tracing to be enabled on devices you specify.

Upper-Level (MAC) Hooks

From the point of view of tracing in the net device, there are several interesting points to insert trace hooks. A convention inherited from other simulators is that packets destined for transmission onto attached networks pass through a single "transmit queue" in the net device. We provide trace hooks at this point in packet flow, which corresponds (abstractly) only to a transition from the network to data link layer, and call them collectively the device MAC hooks.

When a packet is sent to the Emu net device for transmission it always passes through the transmit queue. The transmit queue in the EmuNetDevice inherits from Queue, and therefore inherits three trace sources:

The upper-level (MAC) trace hooks for the EmuNetDevice are, in fact, exactly these three trace sources on the single transmit queue of the device.

The m_traceEnqueue event is triggered when a packet is placed on the transmit queue. This happens at the time that ns3::EmuNetDevice::Send or ns3::EmuNetDevice::SendFrom is called by a higher layer to queue a packet for transmission.

The m_traceDequeue event is triggered when a packet is removed from the transmit queue. Dequeues from the transmit queue happen immediately after the packet was enqueued and only indicate that the packet is about to be sent to an underlying raw socket. The actual time at which the packet is sent out on the wire is not available.

Lower-Level (PHY) Hooks

Similar to the upper level trace hooks, there are trace hooks available at the lower levels of the net device. We call these the PHY hooks. These events fire from the device methods that talk directly to the underlying raw socket.

The trace source m_dropTrace is not used in the Emu net device since that is really the business of the underlying "real" device driver.

The other low-level trace source fires on reception of an accepted packet (see ns3::EmuNetDevice::m_rxTrace). A packet is accepted if it is destined for the broadcast address, a multicast address, or to the MAC address assigned to the Emu net device.

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