Information Centric Networking Challenges, Issues & Trends

About Information Centric Networking

Interactions on Internet nowadays pertain mainly to the access of various types of online content. To support efficient content access over the Internet, efforts limited to improving the transmission speeds of the underlying networks or increasing their capacity might not prove sufficient. We would require introducing significant changes to the Internet infrastructure and transmission mechanisms and would have to embrace a complete shift in the manner we would traditionally communicate. Initiatives such as Information Centric Networking (ICN) have thus been gaining interest of the researchers due to which, the ICN has become one of the most talked about research topics of the modern era of communication and networks.

In the current internet infrastructure, transfer of content takes place primarily through an end-to-end connection between the hosts. Considering that the users are interested in named content and not in the hosts on which the content resides on, the significance of the current approach of end-to-end communication becomes questionable. The core concept of ICN however is based on P2P overlays in which primarily, the content server becomes transparent with regards to accessing the named content and allowing access to the cached copies of content. ICN relies on infrastructure that requires in-network caching of content to support efficiency, mobility, availability and location transparency. ICN provisions named content (as replicas) transparently through network devices capable of caching, thus ensuring greater guarantees on availability of the named content and also making ICN more mobility tolerant compared to traditional networking approaches.

Challenges, Issue & Trends in ICN

ICN as a technology aims to revolutionize the current concept of Internet thus posed by various challenges. Content naming lies at the core of ICN research. Devising naming strategies, categorising names in perspective of efficient navigation to the content, impact of mobility on content naming, addressing issues like scalability in naming are some of the key research areas under this domain.

ICN relies on name based routing for efficient navigation to the content and its retrieval as a consequence. Naming is intricately linked with routing and therefore, routing in ICN becomes yet another challenging research area. With regards to effective and efficient content retrieval, there is a huge incentive in addressing issues like exploiting off-path temporary item copies [4] and interest based forwarding [2].

Security of users and the content is an important aspect of any technology. Issues like security and authentication of content (and replicas), authentication of users and trust management, ensuring per information object security and the spamming control are some of the key research areas in ICN. Measures against issues such as Denial of Service (DoS) attacks are another important area of focus of research in ICN [3].

ICN claims to address the depleting IP address problem through content naming. Issues such as incremental deployment and the ability to gradually migrate without obliterating existing IPv4/v6 infrastructure are of key focus in ICN research. Manageability, provision of incentives and novel business models to engage customers, and object identification for making ICN efficiently and elegantly handle real time traffic are some other important areas in ICN research [3].

Caching is another core concept ICN relies heavily upon. Besides naming, the mechanism of caching in the network infrastructure makes ICN different than existing technologies like WSN and cloud computing. Some of the key research areas in ICN that pertain to caching are availability of up to date replicas of content, caching efficiency, caching affordability and storage management [1]

Related Research

Preliminary work in this domain was based on Content Delivery Networks (CDN) [8] and P2P overlay networking. Significant breakthroughs in ICN research however were made through proposing and improving of architectures such as Content Centric Networking (CCN) [5], Named Data Networking (NDN) [6], Data Oriented Network Architecture (DONA) [7], Publish-Subscribe Internet Routing Paradigm (PSIRP) [9] and Network of Information (NetInf) [10].

Further Reading

[1] Carofiglio G. et. al. ,” Experimental Evaluation of Memory Management in Content-Centric Networking”, proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC), Tokyo, Japan, June 2011.

[2] Raffaele  Chiocchetti et. al., “INFORM: a Dynamic Interest Forwarding Mechanism for Information Centric Networking”, proceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM Workshop on Information-Centric Networking, Hong Kong, August 2013.

[3] Tobias Lauinger et. al., “Security & Scalability of Content-Centric Networking”, Master's Thesis, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany, September 2010.

[4] Tong Niu et. al., “Topology-aware Content-centric Networking”, proceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM, Hong Kong, August 2013.

[5] Van Jacobson et. al., “Networking Named Content”, proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Emerging Networking Experiments and Technologies, Rome, Italy, December 2009.

[6] Lixia Zhang et. al., “Named Data Networking”, ACM SIGCOMM Computer Communication Review, Volume 44, Number 3, July 2014. 

[7] Teemu Koponen et. al., “A Data-Oriented (and Beyond) Network Architecture”, proceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM, Kyoto, Japan, August 2007.

[8] Dilley, J. et. al., “Globally Distributed Content Delivery”, IEEE Internet Computing, Volume 6, Number 5, October 2002.

[9] Vladimir Dimitrov et. al., ”PSIRP Project - Publish-Subscribe Internet Routing Paradigm: New Ideas for Future Internet”, proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Computer Systems and Technologies, June 2010.

[10] Christian Dannewitza, et. al., “Network of Information (NetInf) - An Information-centric Networking Architecture”, Computer Communications, Volume 36, Issue 7, April 2013.

Author’s Profile

M A Shahzad is a researcher at Middlesex University. He has a vast industry and academia experience in various domains of ubiquitous and cloud computing. His research interests include Internet of Things, Content Centric Networking, Mobile Ad-hoc and Sensor Networks, Cloud Computing and Mobile Security.


  • Date 2018-11-17
  • Author M A Shahzad
  • Subject Computing
  • Views 141

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