Skip to main content

Using ICN in disaster scenarios

The information below is for an old version of the document.
Document Type
This is an older version of an Internet-Draft whose latest revision state is "Expired".
Authors Mayutan Arumaithurai , Jan Seedorf , Atsushi Tagami , Dr. K. K. Ramakrishnan , Nicola Blefari-Melazzi
Last updated 2013-07-15
RFC stream (None)
Stream Stream state (No stream defined)
Consensus boilerplate Unknown
RFC Editor Note (None)
IESG IESG state I-D Exists
Telechat date (None)
Responsible AD (None)
Send notices to (None)
ICNRG                                                    M. Arumaithurai
Internet-Draft                                                J. Seedorf
Intended status: Informational                                       NEC
Expires: January 16, 2014                                      A. Tagami
                                                           KDDI R&D Labs
                                                         K. Ramakrishnan
                                                      N. Blefari Melazzi
                                                       Univ. Tor Vergata
                                                           July 15, 2013

                    Using ICN in disaster scenarios


   Information Centric Networking is a new paradigm where the network
   provides users with named content, instead of communication channels
   between hosts.  This document outlines some research directions for
   Information Centric Networking (ICN) with respect to applying ICN
   approaches for coping with natural or human-generated, large-scale

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
   Task Force (IETF).  Note that other groups may also distribute
   working documents as Internet-Drafts.  The list of current Internet-
   Drafts is at

   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
   and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
   time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

   This Internet-Draft will expire on January 16, 2014.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2013 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents

Arumaithurai, et al.    Expires January 16, 2014                [Page 1]
Internet-Draft                ICN disaster                     July 2013

   ( in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
   to this document.  Code Components extracted from this document must
   include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of
   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  Disaster Scenarios  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   3.  Research Challenges and Benefits of ICN . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     3.1.  High-Level Research Challenges  . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     3.2.  How ICN can be Beneficial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   4.  The GreenICN Project  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   5.  Conclusion  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   6.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   Appendix A.  Acknowledgment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6

1.  Introduction

   This document summarizes some research challenges for coping with
   natural or human-generated, large-scale disasters.  Further, the
   document discusses potential directions for applying Information
   Centric Networking (ICN) to address these challenges.

   Section 2 gives some examples of what can be considered a large-scale
   disaster and what the effects of such disasters on communication
   networks are.  Section 3 outlines why ICN can be beneficial in such
   scenarios and provides a high-level overview on corresponding
   research challenges.  Related research activities are ongoing in the
   GreenICN research project; Section 4 provides an overview of this

2.  Disaster Scenarios

   An enormous earthquake hit Northeastern Japan (Tohoku areas) on March
   11, 2011, and caused extensive damages including blackouts, fires,
   tsunamis and a nuclear crisis.  The lack of information and means of
   communication caused the isolation of several Japanese cities.  This
   impacted the safety and well-being of residents, and affected rescue
   work, evacuation activities, and the supply chain for food and other
   essential items.  Even in the Tokyo area that is 300km away from the
   Tohoku area, more than 100,000 people became 'returner' refugees, who
   could not reach their homes because they had no means of public
   transportation (the Japanese government has estimated that more than

Arumaithurai, et al.    Expires January 16, 2014                [Page 2]
Internet-Draft                ICN disaster                     July 2013

   6.5 million people would become returner refugees if such a
   catastrophic disaster were to hit the Tokyo area).  This recent
   earthquake in Northeastern Japan also showed that the current network
   is vulnerable against disasters and that mobile phones have become
   the lifelines for communication including safety confirmation.  The
   aftermath of a disaster puts a high strain on available resources due
   to the need for communication by everyone.  Authorities such as the
   President/Prime-Minister, local authorities, Police, fire brigades,
   and rescue and medical personnel would like to inform the citizens of
   possible shelters, food, or even of impending danger.  Relatives
   would like to communicate with each other and be informed about their
   wellbeing.  Affected citizens would like to make enquiries of food
   distribution centres, shelters or report trapped, missing people to
   the authorities.  Moreover, damage to communication equipment, in
   addition to the already existing heavy demand for communication
   highlights the issue of fault-tolerance and energy efficiency.

   Additionally, disasters caused by humans such as a terrorist attack
   need to be considered, i.e. disasters that are caused deliberately
   and willfully and have the element of human intent.  In such cases,
   the perpetrators could be actively harming the network by launching a
   Denial-of-Service attack or by monitoring the network passively to
   obtain information exchanged, even after the main disaster itself has
   taken place.  Unlike some natural disasters that are predictable
   using weather forecasting technologies and have a slower onset and
   occur in known geographical regions and seasons, terrorist attacks
   may occur suddenly without any advance warning.  Nevertheless, there
   exist many commonalities between natural and human-induced disasters,
   particularly relating to response and recovery, communication, search
   and rescue, and coordination of volunteers.

3.  Research Challenges and Benefits of ICN

3.1.  High-Level Research Challenges

   Given a disaster scenario as described in Section 2, on a high-level
   one can derive the following (incomplete) list of corresponding
   technical challenges:

   o  Enabling usage of functional parts of the infrastructure, even
      when these are disconnected from the rest of the network: Assuming
      that parts of the network infrastructure (i.e. cables/links,
      routers, mobile bases stations, ...) are functional after a
      disaster has taken place, it is desirable to be able to continue
      using such components for communication as much as possible.  This
      is challenging when these components are disconnected from the
      backhaul, thus forming fragmented networks.  This is especially
      true for today's mobile networks which are comprised of a

Arumaithurai, et al.    Expires January 16, 2014                [Page 3]
Internet-Draft                ICN disaster                     July 2013

      centralised architecture, mandating connectivity to central
      entities (which are located in the core of the mobile network) for
      communication.  But also in fixed networks, access to a name
      resolution service is often necessary to access some given

   o  Decentralised authentication: In mobile networks, users are
      authenticated via central entities.  In order to communicate in
      fragmented or disconnected parts of a mobile network, the
      challenge of decentralising such user authentication arises.
      Independently of the network being fixed or mobile, data origin
      authentication of content retrieved from the network is
      challenging when being 'offline' (e.g. disconnected from servers
      of a security infrastructure such as a PKI).

   o  Delivering/obtaining information in congested networks: Due to
      broken cables, failed routers, etc., it is likely that in a
      disaster scenario the communication network has much less overall
      capacity for handling traffic.  Thus, significant congestion can
      be expected in parts of the infrastructure.  It is therefore a
      challenge to guarantee message delivery in such a scenario.  This
      is even more important as in the case of a disaster aftermath, it
      may be crucial to deliver certain information to recipients (e.g.
      warnings to citizens).

   The list above is most likely incomplete; future revisions of this
   document intend to add additional challenges to the list.

3.2.  How ICN can be Beneficial

   Several aspects of ICN make related approaches attractive candidates
   for addressing the challenges described in Section 3.1.  Below is an
   (incomplete) list of considerations why ICN approaches can be
   beneficial to address these challenges:

   o  Routing-by-name: ICN protocols natively route by named data
      objects and can identify devices by names, effectively moving the
      process of name resolution from the application layer to the
      network layer.  This functionality is very handy in a fragmented
      network where reference to location-based, fixed addresses may not
      work as a consequence of disruptions.  For instance, name
      resolution with ICN does not necessarily rely on the reachability
      of application-layer servers (e.g. DNS resolvers).

   o  Authentication of named data objects: ICN is built around the
      concept of named data objects.  Several proposals exist for
      integrating the concept of 'self-certifying data' into a naming
      scheme (see e.g. [RFC6920]).  With such approaches, the origin of

Arumaithurai, et al.    Expires January 16, 2014                [Page 4]
Internet-Draft                ICN disaster                     July 2013

      data retrieved from the network can be authenticated without
      relying on a trusted third party or PKI.

   o  Content-based access control: ICN can regulate access to data
      objects (e.g. only to a specific user or class of users) by means
      of content-based security; this functionality could facilitate
      trusted communications among peer users in isolated areas of the

   o  Caching: Caching content along a delivery path is an inherent
      concept in ICN.  Caching helps in handling huge amounts of
      traffic, and can help to avoid congestion in the network (e.g.
      congestion in backhaul links can be avoided by delivering content
      from caches at access nodes).

   The list above is most likely incomplete; future revisions of this
   document intend to add more considerations to the list and to argue
   in more detail why ICN is suitable for addressing the aforementioned
   research challenges.

4.  The GreenICN Project

   This section provides a brief overview of the GreenICN project.  You
   can find more information at the project web site http://

   The recently formed GreenICN project, funded by the EU and Japan,
   aims to accelerate the practical deployment of ICN, addressing how
   ICN networks and devices can operate in a highly scalable and energy-
   efficient way.  The project will exploit the designed infrastructure
   to support multiple applications including the following two broad
   exemplary scenarios: 1) The aftermath of a disaster, e.g. hurricane,
   earthquake, tsunami, or a human-generated network breakdown when
   energy and communication resources are at a premium and it is
   critical to efficiently distribute disaster notification and critical
   rescue information.  Key to this is the ability to exploit fragmented
   networks with only intermittent connectivity, the potential
   exploitation of multiple modalities of communication and use of query
   /response and pub/sub approaches; 2) Scalable, efficient pub/sub
   video delivery, a key requirement in both normal and disaster

   GreenICN will expose a functionality-rich API to spur the creation of
   new applications and services expected to drive industry and
   consumers, with special focus on the EU and Japanese environments,
   into ICN adoption.  Our team, comprising researchers with diverse
   expertise, system and network equipment manufacturers, device
   vendors, a startup, and mobile telecommunications operators, is very

Arumaithurai, et al.    Expires January 16, 2014                [Page 5]
Internet-Draft                ICN disaster                     July 2013

   well positioned to design, prototype and deploy GreenICN technology,
   and validate usability and performance of real-world GreenICN
   applications, contributing to create a new, low-energy, Information-
   Centric global communications infrastructure.  We also plan to make
   contributions to standards bodies to further the adoption of ICN

5.  Conclusion

   This document outlines some research directions for Information
   Centric Networking (ICN) with respect to applying ICN approaches for
   coping with natural or human-generated, large-scale disasters.  The
   document describes high-level research challenges as well as a
   general rationale why ICN approaches could be beneficial to address
   these challenges.  One main objective of this document is to gather
   feedback from the ICN community within the IETF and IRTF regarding
   how ICN approaches can be suitable to solve the presented research
   challenges.  Future revisions of this draft intend to include
   additional research challenges and to discuss what implications this
   research area has regarding related, future IETF standardisation.

6.  Normative References

   [RFC6920]  Farrell, S., Kutscher, D., Dannewitz, C., Ohlman, B.,
              Keranen, A., and P. Hallam-Baker, "Naming Things with
              Hashes", RFC 6920, April 2013.

Appendix A.  Acknowledgment

   This document has been supported by the GreenICN project (GreenICN:
   Architecture and Applications of Green Information Centric Networking
   ), a research project supported jointly by the European Commission
   under its 7th Framework Program (contract no. 608518) and the
   National Institute of Information and Communications Technology
   (NICT) in Japan (contract no. 167).  The views and conclusions
   contained herein are those of the authors and should not be
   interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies or
   endorsements, either expressed or implied, of the GreenICN project,
   the European Commission, or NICT.

Authors' Addresses

Arumaithurai, et al.    Expires January 16, 2014                [Page 6]
Internet-Draft                ICN disaster                     July 2013

   Mayutan Arumaithurai
   Kurfuerstenanlage 36
   Heidelberg  69115

   Phone: +49 6221 4342 187
   Fax:   +49 6221 4342 155

   Jan Seedorf
   Kurfuerstenanlage 36
   Heidelberg  69115

   Phone: +49 6221 4342 221
   Fax:   +49 6221 4342 155

   Atsushi Tagami
   KDDI R&D Labs
   2-1-15 Ohara
   Fujimino, Saitama    356-85025

   Phone: +81 49 278 73651
   Fax:   +81 49 278 7510

   K. K. Ramakrishnan
   180 Park Ave
   Florham Park  NJ 07932


Arumaithurai, et al.    Expires January 16, 2014                [Page 7]
Internet-Draft                ICN disaster                     July 2013

   Nicola Blefari Melazzi
   Univ. Tor Vergata
   Via del Politecnico, 1
   Roma  00133

   Phone: +39 06 7259 7501
   Fax:   +39 06 7259 7435

Arumaithurai, et al.    Expires January 16, 2014                [Page 8]