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Network Coding for Content-Centric Networking / Named Data Networking: Considerations and Challenges

The information below is for an old version of the document that is already published as an RFC.
Document Type
This is an older version of an Internet-Draft that was ultimately published as RFC 9273.
Authors Kazuhisa Matsuzono , Hitoshi Asaeda , Cedric Westphal
Last updated 2022-08-17 (Latest revision 2022-02-27)
Replaces draft-matsuzono-nwcrg-nwc-ccn-reqs
RFC stream Internet Research Task Force (IRTF)
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Additional resources Mailing list discussion
Stream IRTF state Published RFC
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Document shepherd Marie-Jose Montpetit
Shepherd write-up Show Last changed 2021-03-11
IESG IESG state Became RFC 9273 (Informational)
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Send notices to Marie-Jose Montpetit <>
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NWCRG and ICNRG                                             K. Matsuzono
Internet-Draft                                                 H. Asaeda
Intended status: Informational                                      NICT
Expires: August 31, 2022                                     C. Westphal
                                                       February 27, 2022

 Network Coding for Content-Centric Networking / Named Data Networking:
                     Considerations and Challenges


   This document describes the current research outcomes in Network
   Coding (NC) for Content-Centric Networking (CCNx) / Named Data
   Networking (NDN), and clarifies the technical considerations and
   potential challenges for applying NC in CCNx/NDN.  This document is
   the product of the Coding for Efficient Network Communications
   Research Group (NWCRG) and the Information-Centric Networking
   Research Group (ICNRG).

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
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   This Internet-Draft will expire on August 31, 2022.

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   ( in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents

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   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
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   described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  Terminology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     2.1.  Definitions related to NC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     2.2.  Definitions related to CCNx/NDN . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   3.  CCNx/NDN Basics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   4.  NC Basics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   5.  Advantages of NC and CCNx/NDN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   6.  Technical Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
     6.1.  Content Naming  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
       6.1.1.  Unique Naming for NC Packets  . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
       6.1.2.  Non-Unique Naming for NC Packets  . . . . . . . . . .  10
     6.2.  Transport . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
       6.2.1.  Scope of NC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
       6.2.2.  Consumer Operation  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
       6.2.3.  Forwarder Operation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
       6.2.4.  Producer Operation  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
       6.2.5.  Backward Compatibility  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  14
     6.3.  In-network Caching  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  14
     6.4.  Seamless Consumer Mobility  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
   7.  Challenges  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
     7.1.  Adoption of Convolutional Coding  . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
     7.2.  Rate and Congestion Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
     7.3.  Security  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
     7.4.  Routing Scalability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  17
   8.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  17
   9.  Acknowledgements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  18
   10. Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  19
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22

1.  Introduction

   Information-Centric Networking (ICN) in general, and Content-Centric
   Networking (CCNx) [16] or Named Data Networking (NDN) [19] in
   particular, have emerged as a novel communication paradigm advocating
   the retrieval of data based on their names.  This paradigm pushes
   content awareness into the network layer.  It is expected to enable
   consumers to obtain the content they desire in a straightforward and
   efficient manner from the heterogenous networks they may be connected
   to.  The CCNx/NDN architecture has introduced innovative ideas and
   has stimulated research in a variety of areas, such as in-network

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   caching, name-based routing, multipath transport, and content
   security.  One key benefit of requesting content by name is that it
   eliminates the requirement to establish a session between the client
   and a specific server, and the content can thereby be retrieved from
   multiple sources.

   In parallel, there has been a growing interest in both academia and
   industry for better understanding the fundamental aspects of Network
   Coding (NC) toward enhancing key system performance metrics such as
   data throughput, robustness and reduction in the required number of
   transmissions through connected networks, and redundant transmission
   on broadcast or point-to-multipoint connections.  NC is a technique
   that is typically used for encoding packets to recover from lost
   source packets at the receiver, and for effectively obtaining the
   desired information in a fully distributed manner.  In addition, in
   terms of security aspects, NC can be managed using a practical
   security scheme that deals with pollution attacks [2], and can be
   utilized for preventing eavesdroppers from obtaining meaningful
   information [3] or protecting a wireless video stream while retaining
   the NC benefits [4] [5].

   From the perspective of the NC transport mechanism, NC can be divided
   into two major categories: coherent NC, and non-coherent NC [38]
   [39].  In coherent NC, the source and destination nodes know the
   exact network topology and the coding operations available at
   intermediate nodes.  When multiple consumers are attempting to
   receive the same content such as live video streaming, coherent NC
   could enable optimal throughput by sending the content flow over the
   constructed optimal multicast trees [32].  However, it requires a
   fully adjustable and specific routing mechanism, and a large
   computational capacity for central coordination.  In the case of non-
   coherent NC, which often uses Random Linear Coding (RLC), it is not
   necessary to know the network topology nor the intermediate coding
   operations [33].  As non-coherent NC works in a completely
   independent and decentralized manner, this approach is more feasible
   in terms of eliminating such a central coordination.

   NC combines multiple packets together with parts of the same content,
   and may do this at the source and/or at other nodes in the network.
   Network coded packets are not associated with a specific server, as
   they may have been combined within the network.  As NC is focused on
   what information should be encoded in a network packet instead of the
   specific host at which it has been generated, it is in line with the
   architecture of the CCNx/NDN core networking layer.  NC allows for
   recovery of missing packets by encoding the information across
   several packets.  ICN is synergistic with NC, as it allows for
   caching of data packets throughout the network.  In a typical network
   that uses NC, the sender must transmit enough packets to retrieve the

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   original data.  ICN offers an opportunity to retrieve network coded
   packets directly from caches in the network and this makes the
   combination of ICN and NC particularly effective.  In fact, NC has
   already been implemented for information/content dissemination [6]
   [7] [8].  Montpetit, et al., first suggested that NC techniques be
   exploited to enhance key aspects of system performance in ICN [9].
   Although CCNx/NDN excels to exploit the benefits of NC (as described
   in Section 5), some technical considerations are needed to combine NC
   and CCNx/NDN owing to the unique features of CCNx/NDN (as described
   in Section 6).

   In this document, we consider how NC can be applied to the CCNx/NDN
   architecture and describe the technical considerations and potential
   challenges for making CCNx/NDN-based communications better using the
   NC technology.  It should be noted that the presentation of specific
   solutions (e.g., NC optimization methods) for enhancing CCNx/NDN
   performance metrics by exploiting NC is outside the scope of this

   This document represents the collaborative work and consensus of the
   Coding for Efficient Network Communications Research Group (NWCRG)
   and the Information-Centric Networking Research Group (ICNRG).  It is
   not an IETF product and is not a standard.

2.  Terminology

2.1.  Definitions related to NC

   This section provides the terms related to NC used in this document,
   which are defined in RFC8406 [21] produced by NWCRG.

   o  Source Packet: A packet originating from the source that
      contributes to one or more source symbols.  The source symbol is a
      unit of data originating from the source that is used as input to
      encoding operations.  For instance, a real-time transport protocol
      (RTP) packet as a whole can constitute a source symbol.  In other
      situations (e.g., to address variable size packets), a single RTP
      packet may contribute to various source symbols.

   o  Repair Packet: A packet containing one or more coded symbols (also
      called repair symbol).  Coded symbol or repair symbol is a unit of
      data that is the result of a coding operation, applied either to
      source symbols or (in case of re-coding) source and/or coded
      symbols.  When there is a single repair symbol per repair packet,
      a repair symbol corresponds to a repair packet.

   o  Encoding versus Re-coding versus Decoding: Encoding is an
      operation that takes source symbols as input and produces encoding

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      symbols (source or coded symbols) as output.  Re-coding is an
      operation that takes encoding symbols as input and produces
      encoding symbols as output.  Decoding is an operation takes
      encoding symbols as input and produces source symbols as output.

   The terms regarding coding types are defined as follows:

   o  Random Linear Coding (RLC): A particular form of linear coding
      using a set of random coding coefficients.  Linear coding performs
      linear combination of a set of input symbols (i.e., source and/or
      coded symbols) using a given set of coefficients and results in a
      repair symbol.

   o  Block Coding: A coding technique wherein the input flow(s) must be
      first segmented into a sequence of blocks; encoding and decoding
      are performed independently on a per-block basis.

   o  Sliding Window Coding or Convolutional Coding: A general class of
      coding techniques that rely on a sliding encoding window.
      Encoding window is a set of source (and coded in the case of re-
      coding) symbols used as input to the coding operations.  The set
      of symbols change over time, as the encoding window slides over
      the input flow(s).  This is an alternative solution to block

   o  Fixed or Elastic Sliding Window Coding: A coding technique that
      generates coded symbol(s) on the fly, from the set of source
      symbols present in the sliding encoding window at that time,
      usually by using linear coding.  The sliding window may be either
      of fixed size or of variable size over the time (also known as
      "Elastic Sliding Window").  For instance, the size may depend on
      acknowledgments sent by the receiver(s) for a particular source
      symbol or source packet (received, decoded, or decodable).

   The terms regarding low-level coding aspects are defined as follows:

   o  Rank of the Linear System or Degrees of Freedom: At a receiver,
      the number of linearly independent equations of the linear system.
      It is also known as "Degrees of Freedom".  The system may be of
      "full rank," wherein decoding is possible, or "partial rank",
      wherein only partial decoding is possible.

   o  Generation, or Block: With block codes, the set of source symbols
      of the input flow(s) that are logically grouped into a block,
      before doing encoding.

   o  Generation Size, or Block Size: With block codes, the number of
      source symbols belonging to a block.  It is equivalent to the

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      number of source packets when there is a single source symbol per
      source packet.

   o  Coding Coefficient: With linear coding, this is a coefficient in a
      certain finite field.  This coefficient may be chosen in different
      ways: for instance, randomly, in a predefined table, or using a
      predefined algorithm plus a seed.

   o  Coding Vector: A set of coding coefficients used to generate a
      certain coded symbol through linear coding.

   o  Finite Field: Finite fields, used in linear codes, have the
      desired property of having all elements (except zero) invertible
      for + and * and no operation over any elements can result in an
      overflow or underflow.  Examples of finite fields are prime fields
      {0..p^m-1}, where p is prime.  Most used fields use p=2 and are
      called binary extension fields {0..2^m-1}, where m often equals 1,
      4 or 8 for practical reasons.

2.2.  Definitions related to CCNx/NDN

   The terminology regarding CCNx/NDN used in this document is defined
   in RFC8793 [17] produced by ICNRG.  They are consistent with the
   relevant documents ([1] [18]).

3.  CCNx/NDN Basics

   We briefly explain the key concepts of CCNx/NDN.  In a CCNx/NDN
   network, there are two types of packets at the network level:
   interest and data packet (defined in Section 3.4 of [17]).  The term
   of content object, which means a unit of content data, is an alias to
   data packet [17].  The ICN consumer (defined in Section 3.2 of [17])
   requests a content object by sending an interest that carries the
   name of the data.

   Once an ICN forwarder (defined in Section 3.2 of [17]) receives an
   interest, it performs a series of lookups: first it checks if it has
   a copy of the requested content object available in the cache storage
   called Content Store (CS) (defined in Section 3.3 of [17]).  If it
   does, it returns the data, and the transaction is considered to have
   been successfully completed.

   If it does not have a copy of the requested content object in the CS,
   it performs a lookup of the Pending Interest Table (PIT) (defined in
   Section 3.3 of [17]) to check if there is already an outgoing
   interest for the same content object.  If there is no such interest,
   then it creates an entry in the PIT that lists the name included in
   the interest, and the interfaces from which it received the interest.

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   This is later used to send the content object back, as interest
   packets do not carry a source field that identifies the consumer.  If
   there is already a PIT entry for this name, it is updated with the
   incoming interface of this new interest, and the interest is

   After the PIT lookup, the interest undergoes a Forwarding Information
   Base (FIB) (defined in Section 3.3 of [17]) lookup for selecting an
   outgoing interface.  The FIB lists name prefixes and their
   corresponding forwarding interfaces in order to send the interest
   towards a forwarder that possesses a copy of the requested data.

   Once a copy of the data is retrieved, it is sent back to the
   consumer(s) using the trail of PIT entries; forwarders remove the PIT
   state every time that an interest is satisfied, and may store the
   data in their CS.

   Data packets carry some information for verifying data integrity and
   origin authentication, and in particular, that the data is indeed
   that which corresponds to the name [24].  This is necessary because
   authentication of the object is crucial in CCNx/NDN.  However, this
   step is optional at forwarders in order to speed up the processing.

   The key aspect of CCNx/NDN is that the consumer of the content does
   not establish a session with a specific server.  Indeed, the
   forwarder or producer (defined in Section 3.2 of [17]) that returns
   the content object is not aware of the network location of the
   consumer and the consumer is not aware of the network location of the
   node that provides the content.  This, in theory, allows the
   interests to follow different paths within a network or even to be
   sent over completely different networks.

4.  NC Basics

   While the forwarding node simply relays received data packets in
   conventional IP communication networks, NC allows the node to combine
   some data packets that are already received into one or several
   output packets to be sent.  In this section, we simply describe the
   basic operations of NC.  Herein, we focus on RLC in a block coding
   manner that is well known as a major coding technique.

   For simplicity, let us consider an example case of end-to-end coding
   wherein a producer and consumer respectively perform encoding and
   decoding for a content object.  This end-to-end coding is regarded as
   a special case of NC.  The producer splits the content into several
   blocks called generations.  Encoding and decoding are performed
   independently on a per-block (per-generation) basis.  Let us assume
   that each generation consists of K original source packets of the

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   same size.  When the packets do not have the same size, zero padding
   is added.  In order to generate one repair packet within a certain
   generation, the producer linearly combines K of the original source
   packets, where additions and multiplications are performed using a
   coding vector consisting of K coding coefficients that are randomly
   selected in a certain finite field.  The producer may respond to
   interests to send the corresponding source packets and repair packets
   in the content flow (called systematic coding), where the repair
   packets are typically used for recovering lost source packets.

   Repair packets can also be used for performing encoding.  If the
   forwarding nodes know each coding vector and generation identifier
   (hereinafter referred to as generation ID) of the received repair
   packets, they may perform an encoding operation (called re-coding),
   which is the most distinctie feature of NC compared to other coding

   At the consumer, decoding is performed by solving a set of linear
   equations that are represented by the coding vectors of the received
   source and repair packets (possibly only repair packets) within a
   certain generation.  In order to obtain all the source packets, the
   consumer requires K linearly independent equations.  In other words,
   the consumer must receive at least K linearly independent data
   packets (called innovative packets).  As receiving a linearly
   dependent data packet is not useful for decoding, re-coding should
   generate and provide innovative packets.  One of major benefits of
   RLC is that even for a small-sized finite field (e.g., q=2^8), the
   probability of generating linearly dependent packets is negligible

5.  Advantages of NC and CCNx/NDN

   Combining NC and CCNx/NDN can contribute to effective large-scale
   content/information dissemination.  They individually provide similar
   benefits such as throughput/capacity gain and robustness enhancement.
   The difference between their approaches is that, the former considers
   content flow as algebraic information that is to be combined [20],
   while the latter focuses on the content/information itself at the
   networking layer.  Because these approaches are complementary and
   their combination would be advantageous, it is natural to combine

   The name-based communication in CCNx/NDN enables consumers to obtain
   requested content objects without establishing and maintaining end-
   to-end communication channels between nodes.  This feature
   facilitates the exploitation of the in-network cache and multipath/
   multisource retrieval and also supports consumer mobility without the
   need for updating the location information/identifier during handover

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   [16].  Furthermore, the name-based communication intrinsically
   supports multicast communication because identical interests are
   aggregated at the forwarders.

   NC can enable the CCNx/NDN transport system to effectively distribute
   and cache the data associated with multipath data retrieval [9].
   Exploiting multipath data retrieval and in-network caching with NC
   contributes to not only improving the cache hit rate but also
   expanding the anonymity set of each consumer (the set of potential
   routers that can serve a given consumer) [30].  The expansion makes
   it difficult for adversaries to infer the content consumed by others,
   and thus contributes to improving cache privacy.  Others also have
   introduced some use cases of the application of NC in CCNx/NDN, such
   as the cases of content dissemination with in-network caching [10]
   [13] [14], seamless consumer mobility [11] [36], and low-latency low-
   loss video streaming [15].  In this context, it is well worth
   considering NC integration in CCNx/NDN.

6.  Technical Considerations

   This section presents the considerations for CCNx/NDN with NC in
   terms of network architecture and protocol.  This document focuses on
   NC when employed in a block coding manner.

6.1.  Content Naming

   Naming content objects is as important for CCNx/NDN as naming hosts
   is in the current-day Internet [24].  In this section, two possible
   naming schemes are presented.

6.1.1.  Unique Naming for NC Packets

   Each source and repair packet (hereinafter referred to as NC packet)
   may have a unique name as each original content object has in CCNx/
   NDN, as PIT and CS operations typically require a unique name for
   identifying the NC packet.  As a method of naming an NC packet that
   takes into account the feature of block coding, the coding vector and
   the generation ID can be used as a part of the content object name.
   As in [10], when the generation ID is "g-id", generation size is 4,
   and coding vector is (1,0,0,0), the name could be /
   g-id/1000.  Some other identifiers and/or parameters related to the
   encoding scheme can also be used as name components.  For instance,
   the encoding ID specifying the coding scheme may be used with "enc-
   id" such as /, as defined in the FEC
   Framework (FECFRAME) [26].  This naming scheme is simple and can
   support the delivery of NC packets with exactly the same operations
   in the PIT/CS as those for the content objects.

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   If a content-naming schema such as the one presented above is used,
   an interest requesting an NC packet may have the full name including
   a generation ID and coding vector (/ or
   only the name prefix including only a generation ID (/
   A/g-id).  In the former case, exact name matching to the PIT is
   simply performed at data forwarders (as in CCNx/NDN).  The consumer
   is able to specify and retrieve an innovative packet necessary for
   the consumer to decode successfully.  This could shift the generation
   of the coding vector from the data forwarder onto the consumer.

   In the latter case, partial name matching is required at the data
   forwarders.  As the interest with only the prefix name matches any NC
   packet with the same prefix, the consumer could immediately obtain an
   NC packet from a nearby CS (in-network cache) without knowing the
   coding vectors of the cached NC packets in advance.  In the case
   wherein NC packets in transit are modified by in-network re-coding
   performed at forwarders, the consumer could also receive the modified
   NC packets.  However, in contrast to the former case, the consumer
   may fail to obtain sufficient degrees of freedom (see Section 6.2.3).
   To address this issue, a new TLV type in an interest message may be
   required for specifying further coding information in order to limit
   the NC packets to be received.  For instance, this is enabled by
   specifying the coding vectors of innovative packets for the consumer
   (also called decoding matrix) as in [9].  This extension may incur an
   interest packet of significantly increased size, and it may thus be
   useful to use compression techniques for coding vectors [27] [28].
   Without such coding information provided by the interest, the
   forwarder would be required to maintain some records regarding the
   interest packets that were satisfied previously (See Section 6.2.3).

6.1.2.  Non-Unique Naming for NC Packets

   An NC packet may have a name that indicates that it is an NC packet,
   and move the coding information into a metadata field in the payload
   (i.e., the name includes the data type, source or repair packet).
   This would not be beneficial for applications or services that may
   not need to understand the packet payload.  Owing to the possibility
   that multiple NC packets may have the same name, some mechanism is
   required for the consumer to obtain innovative packets.  As described
   in Section 6.3, a mechanism for managing the multiple innovative
   packets in the CS would also be required.  In addition, extra
   computational overhead would be incurred when the payload is being

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6.2.  Transport

   The pull-based request-response feature of CCNx/NDN is a fundamental
   principle of its transport layer; one interest retrieves at most one
   data packet.  This means that a forwarder or producer cannot inject
   unrequested data packets on its own initiative.  It is believed that
   it is important that this rule not be violated, as 1) it would open
   denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, 2) it invalidates existing
   congestion control approaches following this rule, and 3) it would
   reduce the efficiency of existing consumer mobility approaches.
   Thus, the following basic operation should be considered for applying
   NC to CCNx/NDN.  Nevertheless, such security considerations must be
   addressed if this rule were to be violated.

6.2.1.  Scope of NC

   An open question is whether data forwarder can perform in-network re-
   coding with data packets that are being received in transit, or if
   only the data that matches an interest can be subject to NC
   operations.  In the latter case, encoding or re-coding is performed
   to generate the NC packet at any forwarder that is able to respond to
   the interest.  This could occur when each NC packet has a unique name
   and interest has the full name.  On the other hand, if interest has a
   partial name without any coding vector information or multiple NC
   packets have the same name, the former case may occur; re-coding
   occurs anywhere in the network where it is possible to modify the
   received NC packet and forward it.  As CCNx/NDN comprises mechanisms
   for ensuring the integrity of the data during transfer, in-network
   re-coding introduces complexities in the network that needs
   consideration for the integrity mechanisms to still work.  Similarly,
   in-network caching of NC packets at forwarders may be valuable;
   however, the forwarders would require some mechanisms to validate the
   NC packets (see Section 8).

6.2.2.  Consumer Operation

   To obtain NC benefits (possibly associated with in-network caching),
   the consumer is required to issue interests that direct the forwarder
   (or producer) to respond with innovative packets if available.  In
   the case where each NC packet may have a unique name (as described in
   Section 6.1), by issuing an interest specifying a unique name with
   g-id and the coding vector for an NC packet, the consumer could
   appropriately receive an innovative packet if it is available at some

   In order to specify the exact name of the NC packet to be retrieved,
   the consumer is required to know the valid naming scheme.  From a
   practical viewpoint, it is desirable for the consumer application to

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   automatically construct the right name components without depending
   on any application specifications.  To this end, the consumer
   application may retrieve and refer to a manifest [1] that enumerates
   the content objects including NC packets, or may use some coding
   scheme specifier as a name component to construct the name components
   of interests to request innovative packets.

   Conversely, the consumer without decoding capability (e.g., specific
   sensor node) may want to receive only the source packets.  As
   described in Section 6.1, because the NC packet can have a name that
   is explicitly different from source packets, issuing interests for
   retrieving source packets is possible.

6.2.3.  Forwarder Operation

   If the forwarder constantly responds to the incoming interests by
   returning non-innovative packets, the consumer(s) cannot decode and
   obtain the source packets.  This issue could happen when 1) incoming
   interests for NC packets do not specify some coding parameters such
   as the coding vectors to be used, and 2) the forwarder does not have
   a sufficient number of linearly independent NC packets (possibly in
   the CS) to use for re-coding.  In this case, the forwarder is
   required to determine whether or not it can generate innovative
   packets to be forwarded to the interface(s) at which the interests
   arrived.  An approach to deal with this issue is that the forwarder
   maintains a tally of the interests for a specific name, generation ID
   and the incoming interface(s), in order to record how many degrees of
   freedom have already been provided [10].  As such a scheme requires
   state management (and potentially timers) in forwarders, scalability
   and practicality must be considered.  In addition, some transport
   mechanism for in-network loss detection and recovery [15] [36] at
   forwarder as well as a consumer-driven mechanism could be
   indispensable for enabling fast loss recovery and realising NC gains.
   If a forwarder cannot either return a matching innovative packet from
   its local content store, nor produce on-the-fly a recoded packet that
   is innovative, it is important that the forwarder not simply return a
   non-innovative packet but instead do a forwarding lookup in its FIB
   and forward the interest toward the producer or upstream forwarder
   that can provide an innovative packet.  In this context, to retrieve
   innovative packet effectively and quickly, an appropriate setting of
   the FIB and efficient interest forwarding strategies should also be

   In another possible case, when receiving interests only for source
   packets, the forwarder may attempt to decode and obtain all the
   source packets and store them (if the full cache capacity are
   available), thus enabling a faster response to subsequent interests.
   As re-coding or decoding results in an extra computational overhead,

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   the forwarder is required to determine how to respond to received
   interests according to the use case (e.g., a delay-sensitive or
   delay-tolerant application) and the forwarder situation, such as
   available cache space and computational capability.

6.2.4.  Producer Operation

   Before performing NC for specified content in CCNx/NDN, the producer
   is responsible for splitting the overall content into small content
   objects to avoid packet fragmentation that could cause unnecessary
   packet processing and degraded throughput.  The size of the content
   objects should be within the allowable packet size in order to avoid
   packet fragmentation in CCNx/NDN network.  The producer performs the
   encoding operation for a set of the small content objects, and the
   naming process for the NC packets.

   If the producer takes the lead in determining what coding vectors to
   use in generating the NC packets, there are three general strategies
   for naming and producing the NC packets:

   1.  consumers themselves understand in detail the naming conventions
       used for NC packets and thereby can send the corresponding
       interests toward the producer to obtain NC packets whose coding
       parameters have already been determined by the producer.

   2.  the producer determines the coding vectors and generates the NC
       packets after receiving interests specifying the packets the
       consumer wished to receive.

   3.  The naming scheme for specifying the coding vectors and
       corresponding NC packets is explicitly represented via a
       "Manifest" (e.g., FLIC [23]) that can be obtained by the consumer
       and used to select among the available coding vectors and their
       corresponding packets, and thereby send the corresponding

   In the first case, although the consumers cannot flexibly specify a
   coding vector for generating the NC packet to obtain, the latency for
   obtaining the NC packet is less than in the latter two cases.  For
   the second case, there is a latency penalty for the additional NC
   operations performed after receiving the interests.  For the third
   case, the NC packets to be included in the manifest must be pre-
   computed by the producer (since the manifest references NC packets by
   their hashes, not their names), but the producer can select which to
   include the manifest, and produce multiple manifests either in
   advance or on demand with different coding tradeoffs if so desired.

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   A common benefit the first two approaches to end-to-end coding is
   that if the producer adds a signature on the NC packets, data
   validation becomes possible throughout (as is the case with CCNx/NDN
   operation in the absence of NC).  The third approach of using a
   manifest trades off the additional latency incurred by the need to
   fetch the manifest against the efficiency of needing a signature only
   on the manifest and not on each individual NC packet.

6.2.5.  Backward Compatibility

   NC operations should be applied in addition to the regular ICN
   behavior, and should function alongside regular ICN operations.
   Hence, nodes which do not support NC should still be able to properly
   handle packets, not only in being able to forward the NC packets, but
   also to cache these packets.  An NC framework should be compatible
   with a regular framework in order to facilitate backward
   compatibility and smooth migration from one framework to the other.

6.3.  In-network Caching

   Caching is a useful technique used for improving throughput and
   latency in various applications.  In-network caching in CCNx/NDN
   essentially provides support at network level and is highly
   beneficial owing to the involved exploitation of NC for enabling
   effective multicast transmission [37], multipath data retrieval [10]
   [11], fast loss recovery [15].  However, there remain several issues
   to be considered.

   There generally exist limitations in the CS capacity, and the caching
   policy affects the consumer's performance [29] [34] [35].  It is thus
   crucial for forwarders to determine which content objects should be
   cached and which discarded.  As delay-sensitive applications often do
   not require an in-network cache for a long period owing to their
   real-time constraints, forwarders have to know the necessity for
   caching received content objects to save the caching volume.  In
   CCNx, this could be made possible by setting a Recommended Cache Time
   (RCT) in the optional header of the data packet at the producer side.
   The RCT serves as a guideline for the CS cache in determining how
   long to retain the content object.  When the RCT is set as zero, the
   forwarder recognizes that caching the content object is not useful.
   Conversely, the forwarder may cache it when the RCT has a greater
   value.  In NDN, the TLV type of FreshnessPeriod could be used.

   One key aspect of in-network caching is whether or not forwarders can
   cache NC packets in their CS.  They may be caching the NC packets
   without having the ability to perform a validation of the content
   objects.  Therefore, the caching of the NC packets would require some
   mechanism to validate the NC packets (see Section 8).  In the case

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   wherein the NC packets have the same name, it would also require some
   mechanism to identify them.

6.4.  Seamless Consumer Mobility

   A key feature of CCNx/NDN is that it is sessionless, which enables
   the consumer and forwarder to send multiple interests toward
   different copies of the content in parallel, by using multiple
   interfaces at the same time in an asynchronous manner.  Through the
   multipath data retrieval, the consumer could obtain the content from
   multiple copies that are distributed while using the aggregate
   capacity of multiple interfaces.  For the link between the consumer
   and the multiple copies, the consumer can perform a certain rate
   adaptation mechanism for video streaming [11] or congestion control
   for content acquisition [12].

   NC adds a reliability layer to CCNx in a distributed and asynchronous
   manner, because NC provides a mechanism for ensuring that the
   interests sent to multiple copies of the content in parallel retrieve
   innovative packets, even in the case of packet losses on some of the
   paths/networks to these copies.  This applies to consumer mobility
   events [11], wherein the consumer could receive additional degrees of
   freedom with any innovative packet if at least one available
   interface exists during the mobility event.  An interest forwarding
   strategy at the consumer (and possibly forwarder) for efficiently
   obtaining innovative packets would be required for the consumer to
   achieve seamless consumer mobility.

7.  Challenges

   This section presents several primary challenges and research items
   to be considered when applying NC in CCNx/NDN.

7.1.  Adoption of Convolutional Coding

   Several block coding approaches have been proposed thus far; however,
   there is still not sufficient discussion and application of the
   convolutional coding approach (e.g., sliding or elastic window
   coding) in CCNx/NDN.  Convolutional coding is often appropriate for
   situations wherein a fully or partially reliable delivery of
   continuous data flows is required, and especially when these data
   flows feature realtime constraints.  As in [40], on an end-to-end
   coding basis, it would be advantageous for continuous content flow to
   adopt sliding window coding in CCNx/NDN.  In this case, the producer
   is required to appropriately set coding parameters and let the
   consumer know the information, and the consumer is required to send
   interests augmented with feedback information regarding the data
   reception and/or decoding status.  As CCNx/NDN utilises hop-by-hop

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   forwarding state, it would be worth discussing and investigating how
   convolutional coding can be applied in a hop-by-hop manner and what
   benefits might accrue.  In particular, in the case wherein in-network
   re-coding could occur at forwarders, both the encoding window and CS
   management would be required, and the corresponding feasibility and
   practicality should be considered.

7.2.  Rate and Congestion Control

   The addition of redundancy using repair packets may result in further
   network congestion and could adversely affect the overall throughput.
   In particular, in a situation wherein fair bandwidth sharing is more
   desirable, each streaming flow must adapt to the network conditions
   to fairly consume the available link bandwidth.  It is thus necessary
   that each content flow cooperatively implement congestion control to
   adjust the consumed bandwidth [22].  From this perspective, an
   effective deployment approach (e.g., a forwarder-supported approach
   that can provide benefits under partial deployment) is required.

   As described in Section 6.4, NC can contribute to seamless consumer
   mobility by obtaining innovative packets without receiving duplicated
   packets through multipath data retrieval, and avoiding duplicated
   packets has congestion control benefits as well.  It can be
   challenging to develop an effective rate and congestion control
   mechanism in order to achieve seamless consumer mobility while
   improving the overall throughput or latency by fully exploiting NC

7.3.  Security

   While CCNx/NDN introduces new security issues at the networking layer
   that are different from the IP network, such as a cache poisoning and
   pollution attacks, a DoS attack using interest packets, some security
   approaches are already provided [24] [25].  The application of NC in
   CCNx/NDN brings two potential security aspects that need to be dealt

   The first is in-network re-coding at forwarders.  Some mechanism for
   ensuring the integrity of the NC packets newly produced by in-network
   re-coding is required in order for consumers or other forwarders to
   receive valid NC packets.  To this end, there are some possible
   approaches described in Section 8, but there may be more effective
   method with lower complexity and computation overhead.

   The second is that attackers maliciously request and inject NC
   packets, which could amplify some attacks.  As NC packets are
   unpopular in general use, they could be targeted by a cache pollution
   attack that requests less popular content objects more frequently to

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   undermine popularity-based caching by skewing the content popularity.
   Such an attack needs to be dealt with in order to maintain the in-
   network cache efficiency.  By injecting invalid NC packets with the
   goal of filling the CSs at the forwarders with them, the cache
   poisoning attack could be effectual depending on the exact integrity
   coverage on NC packets.  On the assumption that each NC packet has
   the valid signature, the straightforward approach would comprise the
   forwarders verifying the signature within the NC packets in transit
   and only transmitting and storing the validated NC packets.  However,
   as performing a signature verification by the forwarders may be
   infeasible at line speed, some mechanisms should be considered for
   distributing and reducing the load of signature verification, in
   order to maintain in-network cache benefits such as latency and
   network-load reduction.

7.4.  Routing Scalability

   In CCNx/NDN, a name-based routing protocol without a resolution
   process streamlines the routing process and reduces the overall
   latency.  In IP routing, the growth in the routing table size has
   become a concern.  It is thus necessary to use a hierarchical naming
   scheme in order to improve the routing scalability by enabling the
   aggregation of the routing information.

   To realize the benefits of NC, consumers need to efficiently obtain
   innovative packets using multipath retrieval mechanisms of CCNx/NDN.
   This would require some efficient routing mechanism to appropriately
   set the FIB and also an efficient interest forwarding strategy.  Such
   routing coordination may create routing scalability issues.  It would
   be challenging to achieve effective and scalable routing for
   interests requesting NC packets as well as to simplify the routing

8.  Security Considerations

   In-network re-coding is a distinguishing feature of NC.  Only valid
   NC packets produced by in-network re-coding must be requested and
   utilized (and possibly stored).  To this end, there exist some
   possible approaches.  First, as a signature verification approach,
   the exploitation of multi-signature capability could be applied.
   This allows not only the original content producer but also some
   forwarders responsible for in-network re-coding to have their own
   unique signing key.  Each forwarder of the group signs newly
   generated NC packet in order for other nodes to be able to validate
   the data with the signature.  The CS may verify the signature within
   the NC packet before storing it to avoid invalid data caching.
   Second, as a consumer-dependent approach, the consumer puts a
   restriction on the matching rule using only the name of the requested

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   data.  The interest ambiguity can be clarified by specifying both the
   name and the key identifier (the producer's public key digest) used
   for matching to the requested data.  This KeyId restriction is built
   in the CCNx design [1].  Only the requested data packet satisfying
   the interest with the KeyId restriction would be forwarded and stored
   in the CS, thus resulting in a reduction in the chances of cache
   poisoning.  Moreover, in the CCNx design, there exists the rule that
   the CS obeys in order to avoid amplifying invalid data; if an
   interest has a KeyID restriction, the CS must not reply unless it
   knows that the signature on the matching content object is correct.
   If the CS cannot verify the signature, the interest may be treated as
   a cache miss and forwarded to the upstream forwarder(s).  Third, as a
   certificate chain management approach (possibly without certificate
   authority), some mechanism such as [31] could be used to establish a
   trustworthy data delivery path.  This approach adopts the hop-by-hop
   authentication mechanism, wherein forwarding-integrated hop-by-hop
   certificate collection is performed to provide suspension certificate
   chains such that the data retrieval is trustworthy.

   Depending on the adopted caching strategy such as cache replacement
   policies, forwarders should also take caution when storing and
   retaining the NC packets in the CS as they could be targeted by cache
   pollution attacks.  In order to mitigate the cache pollution attacks'
   impact, forwarders should check the content request frequencies to
   detect the attack and may limit requests by ignoring some of the
   consecutive requests.  The forwarders can then decide to apply or
   change to the other cache replacement mechanism.

   The forwarders or producers require careful attention to the DoS
   attacks aiming at provoking the high load of NC operations by using
   the interests for NC packets.  In order to mitigate such attacks, the
   forwarders could adopt a rate-limiting approach.  For instance, they
   could monitor the PIT size growth for NC packets per content to
   detect the attacks, and limit the interest arrival rate when
   necessary.  If the NC application wishes to secure an interest
   (considered as the NC actuator) in order to prevent such attacks, the
   application should consider using an encrypted wrapper and an
   explicit protocol.

9.  Acknowledgements

   The authors would like to thank ICNRG and NWCRG members, especially
   Marie-Jose Montpetit, David Oran, Vincent Roca, and Thierry Turletti,
   for their valuable comments and suggestions on this document.

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10.  Informative References

   [1]        Mosko, M. and et al., "Content-Centric Networking (CCNx)
              Semantics", RFC 8569, July 2019,

   [2]        Gkantsidis, C. and P. Rodriguez, "Cooperative Security for
              Network Coding File Distribution", Proc. Infocom, IEEE,
              April 2006.

   [3]        Cai, N. and R. Yeung, "Secure network coding", Proc.
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   [4]        Lima, L., Gheorghiu, S., Barros, J., Medard, M., and A.
              Toledo, "Secure Network Coding for Multi-Resolution
              Wireless Video Streaming", IEEE Journal of Selected Area
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   [5]        Vilea, J., Lima, L., and J. Barros, "Lightweight security
              for network coding", Proc. ICC, IEEE, May 2008.

   [6]        Dimarkis, A., Godfrey, P., Wu, Y., Wainwright, M., and K.
              Ramchandran, "Network Coding for Distributed Storage
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   [7]        Gkantsidis, C. and P. Rodriguez, "Network coding for large
              scale content distribution", Proc. Infocom, IEEE, March

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   [9]        Montpetit, M., Westphal, C., and D. Trossen, "Network
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   [10]       Saltarin, J., Bourtsoulatze, E., Thomos, N., and T. Braun,
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   [11]       Ramakrishnan, A., Westphal, C., and J. Saltarin, "Adaptive
              Video Streaming over CCN with Network Coding for Seamless
              Mobility", Proc. International Symposium on Multimedia
              (ISM), IEEE, December 2016.

   [12]       Mahdian, M., Arianfar, S., Gibson, J., and D. Oran,
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              Control", Proc. Conference on Information-Centric
              Networking (ICN), ACM, September 2016.

   [13]       Wang, J., Ren, J., Lu, K., Wang, J., Liu, S., and C.
              Westphal, "An Optimal Cache Management Framework for
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   [14]       Wang, J., Ren, J., Lu, K., Wang, J., Liu, S., and C.
              Westphal, "A Minimum Cost Cache Management Framework for
              Information-Centric Networks with Network Coding",
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   [15]       Matsuzono, K., Asaeda, H., and T. Turletti, "Low Latency
              Low Loss Streaming using In-Network Coding and Caching",
              Proc. Infocom, IEEE, May 2017.

   [16]       Jacobson, V., Smetters, D., Thornton, J., Plass, M.,
              Briggs, N., and R. Braynard, "Networking Named Content",
              Proc. CoNEXT, ACM, December 2009.

   [17]       Wissingh, B. and et al., "Information-Centric Networking
              (ICN): Content-Centric Networking (CCNx) and Named Data
              Networking (NDN) Terminology", RFC 8793, June 2020,

   [18]       Mosko, M. and et al., "Content-Centric Networking (CCNx)
              Messages in TLV Format", RFC 8609, July 2019,

   [19]       Zhang, L., Afanasyev, A., Burke, J., Jacobson, V., Claffy,
              K., Crowley, P., Papadopoulos, C., Wang, L., and B. Zhang,
              "Named data networking", ACM Comput. Commun. Rev., vol.
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   [20]       Koetter, R. and M. Medard, "An Algebraic Approach to
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   [21]       Adamson, B. and et al., "Taxonomy of Coding Techniques for
              Efficient Network Communications", RFC 8406, June 2018,

   [22]       Kuhn, N., Lochin, E., Michel, F., and M. Welzl, "Coding
              and Congestion Control in Transport", Work in Progress,
              draft-irtf-nwcrg-coding-and-congestion-09, June 2021.

   [23]       Tschudin, C., Wood, C., Mosko, M., and D. Oran, "File-Like
              ICN Collections (FLIC)", Work in Progress, draft-irtf-
              icnrg-flic-03, Nov. 2021.

   [24]       Kutscher, D. and et al., "Information-Centric Networking
              (ICN) Research Challenges", RFC 7927, July 2016.

   [25]       Pentikousis, K. and et al., "Information-Centric
              Networking: Evaluation and Security Considerations",
              RFC 7945, July 2019.

   [26]       Watson, M. and et al., "Forward Error Correction (FEC)
              Framework", RFC 6363, Oct. 2011.

   [27]       Thomos, N. and P. Frossard, "Toward one Symbol Network
              Coding Vectors", IEEE Communications letters, vol. 16, no.
              11, November 2012.

   [28]       Lucani, D., Pedersen, M., Heide, J., and F. Fitzek,
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   [30]       Wu, Q., Li, Z., Tyson, G., Uhlig, S., Kaafar, M., and G.
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   [31]       Li, R., Asaeda, H., and J. Wu, "DCAuth: Data-Centric
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   [32]       Wu, Y., Chou, P., and K. Jain, "A comparison of network
              coding and tree packing", Proc. ISIT, IEEE, June 2004.

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   [33]       Ho, T., Medard, M., Koetter, R., Karger, R., Effros, D.,
              Shi, M., and B. Leong, "A Random Linear Network Coding
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   [34]       Podlipnig, S. and L. Osz, "A Survey of Web Cache
              Replacement Strategies", Proc. ACM Computing Surveys vol.
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   [35]       Rossini, G. and D. Rossi, "Evaluating CCN multi-path
              interest forwarding strategies", Elsevier Computer
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   [36]       Carofiglio, G., Muscariello, L., Papalini, M., Rozhnova,
              N., and X. Zeng, "Leveraging ICN In-network Control for
              Loss Detection and Recovery in Wireless Mobile networks",
              Proc. ICN ACM, September 2016.

   [37]       Ali, M. and U. Niesen, "Coding for Caching: Fundamental
              Limits and Practical Challenges", IEEE Communications
              Magazine vol. 54, no. 8, August 2016.

   [38]       Koetter, R. and F. Kschischang, "An algebraic approach to
              network coding", IEEE Trans. Netw. vol.11, no.5, October

   [39]       Vyetrenko, S., Ho, T., Effros, M., Kliewer, J., and E.
              Erez, "Rate regions for coherent and noncoherent
              multisource network error correction", Proc. International
              Symposium on Information Theory (ISIT), IEEE, July 2009.

   [40]       Tournoux, P., Lochin, E., Lacan, J., Bouabdallah, A., and
              V. Roca, "On-the-Fly Erasure Coding for Real-Time Video
              Applications", IEEE Trans. Multimeda vol.13, no.4, August

Authors' Addresses

   Kazuhisa Matsuzono
   National Institute of Information and Communications Technology
   4-2-1 Nukui-Kitamachi
   Koganei, Tokyo  184-8795


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   Hitoshi Asaeda
   National Institute of Information and Communications Technology
   4-2-1 Nukui-Kitamachi
   Koganei, Tokyo  184-8795


   Cedric Westphal
   2330 Central Expressway
   Santa Clara, California  95050


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