Cisco and Verizon team up on Information-Centric Networking (ICN) software

Cisco and Verizon announced they recently tested the former company’s hybrid ICN software at the latter company’s lab outside Boston.

Cisco’s ICN software is based on Xerox research company PARC’s technology. PARC’s originally developed the technology under the name “Content-Centric Networking” (CCN). Cisco finished acquiring the company’s CCN platform in February 2017.

According to the companies, Verizon successfully demonstrated Cisco’s hybrid ICN over standard TCP/IP platforms for optimized mobile video delivery in a Verizon lab located in Waltham, Mass. Hybrid ICN is an approach to content-aware service offerings. By focusing network communication on “named data” instead of identifiers like IP addresses, the companies said they believe they could simplify next-generation architectures, enhance the user experience, and improve mobility, storage and security in the network.

The trial is significant in that it shows the benefits of ICN for optimized mobile video over standard TCP/IP networking. Among the key benefits of the ICN communication model include dynamic adaptive streaming solutions and load balancing of media. This provides various forwarding and caching strategies in the network to maximize traffic location and savings in the backhaul and core.

“The Hybrid-ICN solution delivers all the benefits of ICN communication with minimal existing IP infrastructure upgrades required,” said Srini Kalapala, vice president, technology architecture and strategy at Verizon, in a statement. “By demonstrating the benefits of a virtualized Hybrid-ICN network at scale, we showcased how the technology can simplify the way users access content in a mobile environment and lead to a better user experience. We’re pleased with the results of our collaboration with Cisco and with the promise of the technology.”

The potential applications of ICN aren’t bound to mobile videos, however. Content-aware networking is anticipated to be applied to many applications that 5G will support, from augmented reality to autonomous vehicles.

“Cisco’s Hybrid-ICN solution provides secure content-intelligent transport for network service providers,” said Dave Ward, senior vice president, CTO of engineering and chief architect at Cisco. “Through our co-development with Verizon, we found that H-ICN empowers the network edge with low latency caching and computing capabilities for the support of new revenue-generating applications such as enterprise multi-radio access, augmented and virtual reality, and IoT for 5G.”

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