Requirements for a useful network simulator

July 21, 2012

A virtual network simulation solution will allow a researcher to emulate the the operation of a complex, heterogenous telecommunication network on a single host computer. It will have of the following functionality:

  1. It will create a simulated network with eight or more virtual hosts and/or virtual routers connected together via virtual links, all on a single physical computer.
  2. It will link the network interfaces on these virtual machines to each other in different configurations, as determined by the user.
  3. It will include software that performs packet routing functions, and that software can run on each virtual machine.
  4. It will also include software that performs host and server networking functions and that software can run on each virtual machine.
  5. It will support scripting so that it can automate the setup of different configurations of connected virtual machines to configure functionality on each virtual machine.
  6. We can create lab scenarios that can be saved for future use.
  7. And, it will be beneficial if the tool already comes with some prepared lab scenarios that allow the user to try out the tool without having to learn all the details of configuring it.
  8. We can save the state of a lab session and start again from the same state.
  9. We can run a variety of different networking-related programs on the virtual hosts and etworkrouters.
  10. We will be able to inspect and/or change the configuration of the software on each virtual host or virtual router via a terminal.
  11. Good documentation must be available
  12. User-interface performance must be “tolerable”. For example: starting a new router should take less than a minute; logging into an existing router should take less than 5 seconds; and pressing “enter” at a router’s command prompt should respond within one second.
  13. It will be “usable” as a tool for teaching people networking concepts and/or for people who are self-learning networking concepts.