ICN is a networking paradigm that decouples content ID from its location, enabling persistent access to content by its name. Nowadays, to access a content, the user should point to the URL where it is located in the web. For example, named-data.net/project/archoverview. The network translates the domain name to an IP address (of an web server) and forwards the request to it. Contents are accessed via a web server where they are stored. The main drawback of this approach is that all users in the world requiring a content should forward their requests to the same web server, no matter its neighbor already has the same content. Many content and Internet providers address this problem by caching contents in their networks.
With ICN, the network itself is capable to locate contents by their names. There is no need to point to where it is located. In other words, the network understands the information object being requested (not the web) and delivers it from the closest network cache (e.g. a cache in a ISP). In other words, the network solves the problem of accessing contents by their names, not the web.
The Cisco initiative is focused on the Content Centric Network (CCN) [ 1 ] software acquired from PARC (Xerox company). The idea is to support continuous ICN development in a larger open source community.
CCN can run over the current Internet stack, as an overlay network, or replace TCP/IP with a novel named-content routing approach. In CCN, interest packets are sent to request the desired content with its name in the packet header. There is no destination host address in the packets!! Nodes that receive the request and have the desired content in their caches, answer with a data packet. The network is responsible to populate name prefixes in nodes, enabling routing of requests.
To accelerate ICN for 5G, Cisco is releasing a Hybrid ICN (hICN) approach. hICN put content names into IPv6 addresses, aiming at natively support ICN in IPv6, instead of an overlay network. More details of how this is done can be found at Fast Data Project (FD.io)
Cisco contends that ICN is relevant for 5G, since it provides content awareness.
I am the coordinator of a research project started in 2008, which proposes an alternative ICN architecture called NovaGenesis. NovaGenesis means new digital beginning. It is disruptive as CCN, but it includes many other paradigms rather than ICN. For example, it also supports: Service Centric Networking (SCN), Network Function Virtualization (NFV), Network Self-Organization (SON), Software-Defined Networking (SDN), Cognitive Radio (CR), Internet of Things (IoT), among others. NovaGenesis has a prototype running since 2013.
We have proposed a replacement for DNS [ 2 ] and we are applying NovaGenesis for dynamic spectrum management in IoT [ 3 ]. NovaGenesis can be applied for 5G as well.
More details on NovaGenesis are available here: www.inatel.br/novagenesis. Also, check it out ICT Lab from Inatel - Instituto Nacional de Telecomunicações, Brasil.
[ 1 ] Jacobson, V., Smetters, D., Thorton, J., Plass, M., Briggs, N., and R. Braynard, "Networking Named Content", In proc. of IEEE CoNEXT, 2009.
[ 2 ] Antonio Marcos Alberti, Marco Aurelio Favoreto Casaroli, Dhananjay Singh, Rodrigo da Rosa Righi, Naming and name resolution in the future internet: Introducing the NovaGenesis approach, Future Generation Computer Systems, Volume 67, February 2017, Pages 163-179, ISSN 0167-739X, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.future.2016.07.015.
[ 3 ] Antonio M. Alberti, Daniel Mazzer, M.M. Bontempo, Lucio H. de Oliveira, Rodrigo da Rosa Righi, Arismar Cerqueira Sodré Jr., Cognitive radio in the context of internet of things using a novel future internet architecture called NovaGenesis, Computers & Electrical Engineering, Volume 57, January 2017, Pages 147-161, ISSN 0045-7906, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compeleceng.2016.07.008.
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