MIL:SIM:MAO:HTN:QUAKE: Use of IPng in Combat Simulations

Eugene Leitl (
Sun, 18 May 1997 21:52:12 +0200 (MET DST)

Use of IPng in Combat Simulation
Susan Symington
David Wood
MITRE Corporation
J. Mark Pullen
George Mason University
(excerpted from "IPng Internet Protocol Next Generation",
Scott O. Bradner, Allison Mankin (ed.), Addison Wesley,
1996, pp. 95-100).

The Defense Modeling and Simulation (M&S) community is
a major user of packet networks and as such has a stake
in the definition of IPng. We will summarize the Distributed
Interactive Simulation environment that is under development,
with regards to its real-time nature, scope, and magnitude
of networking requirements. The requirements for real-time
response, multicast, and resource reservation are set forth,
based on on our best current understanding of the future of
Defense Modeling and Simulation.

<b>Introduction.</b> The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
is now in the process of designing the Internet Protocol next
generation (IPng). IPng is expected to be a driving force in
the future of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) networking
technology. It will have a major impact on what future
networking technologies are widely available, cost-effective,
and multi-vendor interoperable. Applications that have all
of their network layer requirements met by the standard
features of IPng will be at a great advantage, whereas those
that don't will have to rely on protocols that are not as
widely available and more costly, that may have limited
interoperability with the ubiquitous IPng-based COTS products.

We will specify the network layer requirements of Defense M&S
applications. It is important that the M&S community make its
unique requirements clear to IPng designers so that mechanisms
for meeting these requirements can be considered as standard
features for IPng. The intention is to make IPng's benefits
have wide COTS availability, multivendor interoperability,
and cost-effectiveness, all fully available to the M&S

<b>Overview of Distributed Interactive Simulation.</b> The
Defense M&S community requires an integrated, wide area,
wideband internetwork to perform Distributed Interactive
Simulation (DIS) {{ain't that the capital of Hell?}}
excercises among remote, dissimiliar simulation devices
located at worldwide sites. The network topology used
in current M&S excercises is typically that of a
high-speed cross-country adn trans-oceanic backbone
running between wideband packet switches, with tail
circuits running these packet switches to various nearby
sites. At any given site involved in an excercise, there
may be several internetworked local area networks on
which numerous simulation entity hots are running. Some
of these hosts may be executing computer-generated
semi-automated forces, while others may be manned
simulators. The entire system must accomodate delays
and delay variance compatible with human interaction
times in order to preserve an accurate order of events
and provide a realistic combat simulation. {{Notice
that here no attempt is being made to cope with fully
automatically initiated events well below the human
agent reaction time scale}}. While the sites themselves
may be geographically distant from one another, the
simulation entities running at different sites may
themselves be operating and interacting as though
they are in close proximity to one another in the
battlefield. Our goal is that all of this can take
place in a common network that supports all Defense
M&S needs, and hopefully is also shared with other
Defense applications.

In a typical DIS excercise, distributed simulators
exchange information over an internetwork in the form
of standardtized packets. The DIS protocols and packet
formats are currently under development. The first
generation has been standartized as IEEE 1278.1 and
used for small exercises (around 100 hosts), and
development of a second generation is underway. The
current Communications Architecture for DIS specifies
use of Internet protocols.

The amount, type, and sensitivity of information that
must be exchanged during a typical DIS exercise drives
the communication requirements for that exercise, and
depends on on the number and type of participating
entities and the nature and level of interaction among
those entities. Future DIS exercises now in planning
{{MAO:HTN--, eh?}} extend to hundreds of sites and
tens of thousands of simulation platforms worldwide.
For example, an exercise may consist of semi-automated
and individual manned tank, aircraft, and surface
ship simulators interacting on predefined geographic
terrain. The actual locations of these simulation
entities may be distributed amond sites in Virginia,
Kansas, Massachussetts, Germany, and Korea. The packets
that are exchanged among simulation entities running
at these sites must carry all of the information
necessary to inform each site regarding everything
relevant that occurs with regard to all other sites that
have the potential to affect it within the simulation
{{a light cone thing}}. Such information could include
the location of each entity, its direction and speed,
the orientation of its weapon systems, if any, the
frequency of on which it is transmitting and receiving
radio messages. If an entity launches a weapon, such
as a missile, a new entity representing this missile
will be created within the simulation and it will
begin transmitting packets containing relevant
information about its state, such as its location, and

A typical moving entity will generate between one and
two packets per second, with typical packet sizes of
220 Bytes and a maximum size of 1400 Bytes, although
rates 15 packets/second and higher are possible.
Stationary entities must generate some traffic to
refresh receiving simulators; under the current
standard this can be as little as 0.2 packets per
second. Compression techniques reducing packets size
by 50% or more are being investigated but are not
included in the current DIS standard {{methinks they
should be investigate quake}}.

With so much information being exchanged among
simulation entities at numerous locations, multicasting
is required to to minimize network bandwidth used and
to reduce input to individual simulation entities so
that each entity receives only those packets that
are of interest to it. For example, a given entity
need only receive information regarding the location,
speed, and direction of other entities that are close
enough to it within the geography of the simulation
that it could be affected by those entities.
Similiarly, an entity needs need not receive packets
containing the contents of radio transmissions that
are sent on a frequency other that on which this
entity is listening.

Resource reservation mechanisms are also essential to
guarantee performance requirements of DIS exercises:
reliability and real-time transmission are necessary
to accomodate the manned simulators {{yet}} participating
in an exercise.

M&S exercises that include humans in the loop and
are executed in real-time require rapid network response
times in order to provide realistic combat simulations.
For DIS, latency requirements between the ouput of a
packet at the application level of the simulator and
input of that packet at the application level of any
other simulator in that exercise have been defined as:

* 100 ms for exercises containing simulated units
whose interactions are tightly coupled

* 300 ms for exercises whose interactions are not
tightly coupled [17]

The reliability of best-effort datagram delivery service
supporting DIS should be such that 98% of all datagrams are
delivered to all intended destination sites, with missing
datagrams randomly distributed. [18]

While these number may be refined for some classes of
simulation data in the future, latency requirements are
expected to remain under a few hundred milliseconds in
all cases. It is also required that delay variance (jitter)
be low enough that smoothing by buffering the data stream
at the recieving simulator des not cause the stated latency
specifications to be exceeded.

There are currently several architectures under considerations
for the M&S network of the future. Under fully distributed
models, all simulation entities rely directly on the network
protocols for multicasting and are therefore endowed with much
flexibility with regard to their ability to join and leave
multicast groups dynamically, in large numbers.

In some cases, the M&S exercises will involve the transmission
of classified data over the network. For example, messages
may contain sensitive data regarding warfare tactics and
weapons system characteristics, or an exercise itself may be
a rehearsal of an imminent military operation. This means the
data communications used for these exercises must meet
security constraints defined by the National Security Agency
(NSA) {{No Such Agency}}. Such such requirements can be met in
current systems by use of end-to-end packet encryption (E3)
systems. E3 systems provide adequate protection from disclosure
and tampering, while allowing multiple security partitions
to use the same network simultaneously.

Currently the M&S community is using the experimental Internet
Stream protocol version 2 (ST2) to provide resource reservation
and multicast. There is much interest in converting to IPv4
multicast as it becomes available across the COTS base, but this
cannot happen until IPv45 has a resource reservation capability.
The RSVP work ongoing in the IETF is being watched in expectation
that it will provide such a capability. Also some tests have
been made of IPv4 multicast without resource reservation;
results have been positive, now larger tests are required to
confirm the expected scalability of IPv4 multicast. But issues
remain, for security reasons, some M&S exercises will require
sender-intiated joining of members of multicast groups. In
addition, it is not clear that IPv4 multicast will be able to
make use of link-layer multicast available in ATM systems,
which the M&S community expects to use to achieve the performance
necessary for large exercises.

<b>Specific Requirements.</b> It is recognized that some
of the capabilities described below may be provided not
from IPng but form companion protocols, e.g. RSVP [19]
and IGMP. The M&S requirement is for a compatible suite
of protocols that are available in commercial products.

<i>Real-time Response.</i> DIS will continue to have
requirements to communicate real-time data, therefore
the extent to which IPng lends itself to implementing
real-time networks will be a measure of its utility for
M&S networking.

<i>Multicasting.</i> M&S requires a multicasting capability
and a capability for managing multicast group membership.
These multicasting capabilities must meet the following

* Scalable to hundreds of sites and, potentially, to
tens of thousands of simulation platforms.

* It is highly desirable that the network-layer
multicasting protocol be able to use the multicasting
capabilities of link-level technologies, such as
broadcast LANs, Frame Relay, and ATM. (By highly
desirable, we mean that the capabilities are not
essential, but they will enable more direct and
cost-effective networking solutions).

* The group management mechanics must have the
characteristics that thousands of multicast groups
consisting of tens of thousands of members each can
be supported on a given network and that a host should
be able to to belong to hundreds of multicast groups

* Multicast group members must be able to be added to
or to removed from groups dynamically, in less than
one second {{notice the timescale}}. It is not possible
to predict what special cases may develop, thus this
requirement is for all the members of all groups.

* The network layer must support options for both sender-
and receiever-initiated joining of multicast groups.

<i>Resource Reservation</i> The M&S community requires performance
guarantees in supporting networks. This implies that IPng must
be compatible with a capability to reserve bandwidth and other
necessary allocations in a multicast environment, in order to
guarantee network capacity from simulator-to-simulator across a
shared network for the duration of the user's interaction with
the network. Such a resource reservation capability is esential
to optimizing the use of limited network resources, increasing
reliabilit, and decreasing delay and delay variance of priority
traffic, especialy in cases in which network resources are
heavily used. The resource reservations should be accomplished
in such a way that traffic without performance guarantees will
be re-routed, dropped, or blocked before reserved bandwidth
traffic is affected.

In addition, it would be highly desirable for the resource
reservation capaibility to provide mechanisms for:

* invoking additional network resources (on-demand
capacity) when needed.

* The network to feed back its loading status to the
applications to enable graceful degradation of performance.