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An OPNET Modeler Based Simulation Platform for Adaptive Routing Evaluation

Tatiana Brito Pereira, Lee Luan Ling

FEEC, UNICAMP Campinas, S.P., Brazil E-mail: Abstract In this work we describe the implementation of an OPNET Modeler based simulation platform for adaptive dynamic routing strategy evaluation. More specifically, link conditions and path lengths are taken into account for routing decisions. Link conditions are determined by link costs which change according to the estimated effective bandwidths for the currently traffic. The processor module implemented at the router interfaces estimates effective bandwidths and then the traffic is routed through the path/link having the lowest load accordingly. Introduction Today most routing protocols make routing decisions based on some static link costs. Under such a routing strategy traffic is always routed through the same paths, and as a result some links frequently have to support more traffic than others although those may not offer better conditions for routing. Recently, some adaptive routing approaches have been proposed that are capable of reflecting network traffic conditions and routing the traffic through less loaded paths [1][2][3]. In fact the idea of adaptive routing is not new. It had been used in the Arpanet in the 1970s and has survived to today implemented in some protocols like Ciscos IGRP/EIGRP. It is known that adaptive routing schemes can have pathologies in routing oscillation (route changes resulting from the routing adaptation). Thus, thresholds for link cost differences are normally used to reduce the routing oscillation [4][5]. In spite of this drawback, adaptive routing schemes can usually improve network performance and spread better the traffic through the network as soon as the oscillation level is under control. The present work intends to develop an OPNET Modeler based platform capable of evaluating the performance of two different routing strategies: the conventional and the adaptive ones. More specifically based on flexible structure of the OPNET Modeler, we implemented an adaptive router node model under a simulation platform for evaluating network performance and comparing the mentioned routing strategies. This paper is organized as follows. Firstly we present an overview of the designed simulation platform. Then, we describe the adaptive router node model with considerable details. Three following subsections respectively present three processor models used for the node modeling. Then one section is dedicated for the presentation of simulation results. Some conclusions and comments are found in the last section. Simulation Platform Overview A simulation platform for routing strategy evaluation should consist of the following basic elements: adaptive routers, links and network traffic information. A simulation scenario is built 1 through the specification of the interested network topology and involved network traffic. The network topology is specified through the arrangement of router elements and links that interconnect these router elements. The network traffic is specified in the source router by setting the following information: the start time, the stop time, the statistical distribution for packet interarrival times, the statistical distribution for packet sizes and the destination router. After having specified the network topology and traffic, a user specifies performance parameters for network condition evaluation and runs simulation under different routing strategies in the platform. Among many parameters for the network performance evaluation we focus on: network throughput, transfer delay and traffic drop rate. The comparison between the adaptive routing strategy and the conventional routing can be done through the execution of a simulation sequence. Two scenarios can be specified in the Configure Simulation Advanced, differing only by the option for an adaptive routing or a conventional routing and by the output vector file attributes (where statistics are stored). The execution of the simulation sequence reveals the parameters selected for the network condition evaluation and the comparison of the two scenarios can be done using the View Results Advanced. OPNET Modeler Adaptive Router Node Model It was mentioned in the previous section the need for adaptive router elements for network topology specification. In other words, the need for router elements capable of adjusting routing decisions according to network conditions. Thus, the main point of the platform designed is exactly the development of an adaptive router node model. In this work, the network condition is measured through bandwidth estimations. These estimations are performed at each router interface, measuring the load condition of each of the router output links and translating these measurements into link costs. Processor modules added to the router internal structure, one processor for each router interface, calculate these estimation values periodically and simultaneously. These processors are referred to as bandwidth estimation modules and can be seen in Figure 1 (named band_estimate_X, where X is the interface number). The time period chosen for bandwidth estimation is an important parameter for the adaptive routing. In general, shorter the period is, more precise the routing decisions will be. But, immediate consequences are more frequent change in the best routes (i.e. more routing oscillations) and then an increase in the network overhead due to cost up-dating messages propagation.

Figure 2: The bandwidth estimation process model. INIT state initializes internal data structures, allocates memory for interarrival times and sizes and schedules the first bandwidth estimation according to the chosen bandwidth estimation period. The transition to the ADD_PKT state occurs when a message containing information of packet interarrival times and sizes is received. This message causes a stream interrupt satisfying the NEW_PKT condition. The ESTIMATE condition, on the other hand, is satisfied by a self-interrupt and leads to a transition to the EST_BAND state. Self-interrupts are caused in the IDLE state by bandwidth estimation scheduling. In the ADD_PKT state the interarrival time and size are extracted from the received message and some initial calculations are done for the estimation. In the EST_BAND state the estimation calculations are concluded, the link new cost is obtained and reported to the OSPF module and the information stored is discarded symbolizing the initial of another period of bandwidth estimation. The Adaptive OSPF Process Model The adaptive OSPF process model adds to the existing OSPF process model (named ospf_v2) a way of dealing with new information on link costs. This process model is illustrated in Figure 3.

Figure 1: The adaptive router node model. Every time a link cost is computed by a bandwidth estimation module, it is reported to the routing protocol module present in each router via a link cost message. In this work the chosen routing protocol was the OSPF (Open Shortest Path First [6]) implemented through a processor module (the OSPF module, named ospf in Figure 1). The OSPF module, included into the adaptive router node model, is capable of processing link cost messages and of updating routing decisions. As mentioned above, the bandwidth estimation for all router output links is done simultaneously. This is due to the fact that the link cost updating message provided by the OSPF protocol contains the cost estimates of all router output links. Also, the same period was adopted by all routers for bandwidth estimation. Setting different periods for each router will cause the updating messages will not be introduced exactly at the same time by all routers. We believe it can improve the network performance, because the network global updating rate is increased. However, this was not simulated. The other module found in the router node model is the traffic generator module (named generator in Figure 1). This module is responsible for generating the IP packet traffic originated in a particular router. All these modules modified or included in the router node model developed (the bandwidth estimation modules, the OSPF module and the traffic generator module) are represented (as mentioned) by processor modules. Three different process models describe the behavior of these processor modules. The next three sections present these process models in detail. The Bandwidth Estimation Process Model A bandwidth estimation process model was developed in order to: receive messages of packet interarrival times and sizes, store this information, realize bandwidth estimations periodically from the data stored, translate this estimation in a link cost and finally send this cost to the routing module. This process model can be seen in Figure 2.

Figure 3: The adaptive OSPF process model. All OSPF states, except the NEW COST PROCESS state, belong to the existing OSPF process model. In other words, the only change necessary to get an adaptive OSPF routing was the inclusion of the NEW COST PROCESS state. From the IDLE 2

state the process transits to the NEW COST PROCESS state when it receives a stream interrupt and the message received corresponds to a new cost message1. In the NEW COST PROCESS state the interface number and the corresponding output link new cost are extracted from the message received and calculations are done in order to decide whether the router output link new costs should be updated or not. The decision basically depends on the adopted level of cost variation. That is, the router output link costs are updated only if the cost variation (old link cost minus new link cost) of at least one router interface is greater than the minimum value. Finally, if the result is a decision for updating: the OSPF link state database is updated and a message describing the new link costs is flooded. In the other case, no updating occurs and the new cost values are ignored. The Traffic Generator Process Model The traffic generator process model (illustrated in Figure 4) is closely similar to the existing simple_source process model. It was developed to introduce the traffic into the network. Every router in the network is represented by an instance of the exposed adaptive router node model. And among the various attributes of this router we have the traffic description parameters as mentioned before in the simulation platform overview: the start time, the stop time, the distribution for packet interarrival times, the distribution for packet sizes and the destination router. All these parameters are used to specify the IP packet traffic generated by the traffic generator process model present in a router instance. The traffic is generated since the start time until the stop time, destined to the destination router and following two distribution functions. The distribution for packet interarrival times permits the scheduling of the next packet generation time, while the other distribution (for packet size) provides the next packet size.

indicates the occurrence of a self-interrupt (result of a packet creation scheduling) and causes the generation of an IP v4 packet through the SS_PACKET_GENERATE function. Simulation Results In this section we present our simulation results for an example network topology illustrated in Figure 5. The time period used for the bandwidth estimation self-interrupts was 57 seconds. This period value was adopted by the fact that the OSPF module verifies its routing table for recalculation every 60 seconds.

Figure 5: Example Network Topology Three different traffic loads were analyzed. This implies six different simulation scenarios (varying the traffic load and the routing strategy chosen). The traffic loads correspond to packets transmitted from node_0 to node_13 (since time 250 sec until time 20 minutes, with mean interarrival time equals to 800s) and packets transmitted from node_11 to node_15 (since time 180 sec until time 20 minutes, with mean interarrival time equals to 500s), varying the packet mean values according to Tables 1, 2 and 3. The scenarios 1a, 2a and 3a correspond to the simulations under the adaptive routing strategy while the scenarios 1c, 2c and 3c correspond to the simulations under the conventional routing strategy submitted to the packet mean sizes defined in Tables 1, 2 and 3 respectively. Source Router node_0 node_11 Packet Mean Size Destination (bytes) Router 250 node_13 200 node_15 Table 1: Packet Mean Sizes - Example 1 Packet Mean Size Destination (bytes) Router 250 node_13 250 node_15 Table 2: Packet Mean Sizes - Example 2

Figure 4: The traffic generator process model INIT state only initializes some structures. The START and STOP conditions indicate respectively the initial (by the start time occurrence) and the end (by the stop time occurrence) of packet generations. In the GENERATE state the creation of the next packet is scheduled. The PACKET_GENERATE condition A stream interruption received in the IDLE state may correspond to the reception of either an OSPF message or a new cost message. A new cost message is a message sent by a bandwidth estimation module that defines the interface number and the interface new cost. 3

Source Router node_0 node_11

Source Router node_0 node_11

Packet Mean Size Destination (bytes) Router 300 node_13 280 node_15 Table 3: Packet Mean Sizes - Example 3

oscillate) occasioning in better link utilizations and therefore, better average throughput.

Figure 6 proves that the adaptive strategy causes more routing oscillation than the conventional strategy by observing the IP packet traffic sent through the node_0 interfaces in scenarios 3c and 3a. It is difficult to measure the routing oscillation level. But this oscillation can be observed in Figure 6. While the conventional strategy forwarded traffic only through the interface 0, the adaptive strategy adopted used the interfaces 0, 1, 2 and 3 to forward the traffic. The traffic bursts observed through the interfaces 4 and 5 are due to messages for updating.

Figure 7: Network Throughput (packets/sec) in function of time

Figure 6: Routing Oscillation In spite of more observed routing oscillation, it is important to see the improved performance provided by the adaptive routing strategy. The parameters chosen for network performance analysis were: throughput, delay and amount of dropped traffic. Figures 7, 8 and 9 show the results for the six scenarios above described. In terms of network throughput (Figure 7), we can evaluate the network traffic distribution through the network. Routing strategies that better distribute traffic through the network offer higher network throughput. More specifically for the scenarios above described, Figure 7 shows better network throughput achieved by using the adaptive strategy; that is, Scenarios 1a, 2a and 3a (the adaptive routing) present better throughput than scenarios 1c, 2c and 3c (the conventional routing) respectively. These results can be explained by the fact that the adaptive routing strategy is able to select best routes that change (or 4

Figure 8: Network Delay (sec) in function of time In terms of network delay (Figure 8), we can evaluate the overload introduced by the adaptive routing updating messages. Updating messages fill buffers and could lead to greater delay if

sent without restrictions. Results of network delay help the evaluation of these restrictions and of the adaptive approach efficiency. In particularly, we found that the adaptive routing strategy in scenarios 2a and 3a presented smaller transfer delays than scenarios 2c and 3c respectively. On the other hand, for the scenario 1a the adaptive routing strategy causes larger transfer delay than scenario 1c. These results can be explained by the fact that choosing the best routes according to the link conditions take advantage of forwarding packets through less loaded paths and therefore suffer less transmission delay measurements (like scenarios 2a and 3a). In addition, we found that adaptive strategies are better choices for networks under heavy input traffic loads. Under low input traffic loads the overhead introduced by the updating messages may increase the delay (like scenario 1a).

Intuitively the updating messages introduced by adaptive routing may increase the traffic drop rate. In Figure 9, we can observe that for scenario 1a the traffic drop rate was so much greater than scenario 1c. And considering the results of network delay presented for these two scenarios (1a and 1c), we can conclude that the adaptive routing wasnt a good idea in this case. On the other hand, analyzing the results of scenarios 2a, 2c, 3a and 3c, we can observe that the traffic drop rates didnt present so much different when comparing the adaptive and the conventional routing approaches. Mostly important, scenarios 2a and 3a presented good increase in network throughput and decrease in network delay when compared with scenarios 2c and 3c respectively. Finally, network performance results are useful to understand the updating messages overloads and to evaluate the efficiency of an adaptive routing strategy for a particular network topology submitted to a network traffic range. Conclusion This work presents an OPNET Modeler based simulation platform useful for evaluating the influence of an adaptive routing strategy on the network performance. The designed platform permits us to understand the impact caused by the routing decisions taken and help us to evaluate the advantages (or disadvantages) of the strategy in terms of particular network topology and traffic range. References [1] D. W. Glazer, C. Tropper, A New Metric for Dynamic Routing Algorithms, IEEE Transactions on Communications, Vol. 38. No. 3, March 1990. [2] H. T. Kaur, K. S. Vastola, The Tunability of Network Routing Using Online Simulation, SCS Symposium on Performance Evaluation of Computer and Telecommunication Systems (SPECTS 2000), Vancouver, BC, July 2000. [3] A. Shaikh, J. Rexford, K. G. Shin, Load-Sensitive Routing of Long-Lived IP Flows, Conference on Applications, Technologies, Architectures, and Protocols for Computer Communication, p. 215-266, 1999. [4] G. Apostolopoulos, R. Gurin, S. Kamat, S. K. Tripathi, Quality of Service Based Routing: A Performance Perspective, SIGCOMM 1998, Vancouver, BC, 1998. [5] A. Shaikh, J. Rexford, K. G. Shin, Evaluating the Impact of Stale Link State on Quality-of-Service Routing, IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking, Vol. 9, No. 2, April 2001. [6] J. Moy, OSPF Version 2, RFC 2328, April 1998.

Figure 9: Network Traffic Dropped (packets/sec) in function of time