The 2STiC testbed is a multi-domain P4-programmable network, consisting of six different sites interconnected by SURF's optical network. With this programmable network we can experiment with new internet infrastructures, open programmable network equipment, new network functions such as path control and verification, and network slicing across administrative domains.
For programmability we use P4, which is a domain-specific programming language that allows network developers to program the data plane of a packet forwarding device. P4 enables us to implement any (internetworking) protocol on the hardware in the testbed, as long as it aligns with the physical layer of the Ethernet frame. That makes it very suitable for research on new network functions and (non-IP) protocols, such as SCION and RINA. The usage of programmable hardware switches and interfaces augments research using network simulators and software switches, because it offers the possibility of verifying results on hardware, for example by showing that a protocol can run on physical switches.
Figure 1 shows the 2STiC testbed, which currently connects six of the eight 2STiC consortium partners. We use a star-shaped network centred on the SURF location in Amsterdam, which allows us to configure different network topologies.
Each node contains a P4 programmable switch with a Barefoot Tofino ASIC, which can be seen in Figure 2. We can expand the nodes with additional hardware, from a simple server with a programmable Netronome SmartNIC to a complete research group testbed.
You can read more about our plans for the testbed and examples of how we have used it in this blog post.
If you are interested in using or joining the 2STiC testbed, please contact us at testbed (at) 2stic (dot) nl.