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The ability to conduct accurate and realistic experiments is critical in furthering the research and development of network routing protocols. Existing framework for routing experiments is found to be lacking in one or more of the three required features: realism, scalability, and flexibility. Authors develop a new software infrastructure that combines the scalability and flexibility benefits of real-time network simulation with the realism of open-source routing protocol implementations. The infrastructure seamlessly integrates the open-source XORP router software with a previously developed real-time network simulation engine. The design of the infrastructure uses a novel forwarding plane offloading approach that decouples routing from forwarding and confines the more resource consuming forwarding operations inside the simulation engine to reduce I/O overhead.
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