The open source distribution provides a few application examples: a MPEG-DASH video player, a HTTP reverse proxy, a command line HTTP GET client.

hICN sockets have been successfully used to serve HTTP, RTP and RSockets application protocols.


Build dependencies:

  • C++14 ( clang++ / g++ )

  • CMake 3.5 or higher

Basic dependencies:

  • OpenSSL

  • pthreads

  • libevent

  • libparc

  • libcurl

  • libhicntransport



hicn-http-proxy is a reverse proxy which can be used for augmenting the performance of a legacy HTTP/TCP server by making use of hICN. It performs the following operations:

  • Receive a HTTP request from a hICN client

  • Forward it to a HTTP server over TCP

  • Receive the response from the server and send it back to the client

hicn-http-proxy [HTTP_PREFIX] [OPTIONS]

HTTP_PREFIX: The prefix used for building the hicn names.

-a <server_address>   = origin server address
-p <server_port>      = origin server port
-c <cache_size>       = cache size of the proxy, in number of hicn data packets
-m <mtu>              = mtu of hicn packets
-P <prefix>           = optional most significant 16 bits of hicn prefix, in hexadecimal format


./hicn-http-proxy http://webserver -a -p 8080 -c 10000 -m 1200 -P b001

The hICN names used by the hicn-http-proxy for naming the HTTP responses are composed in the following way, starting from the most significant byte:

  • The first 2 bytes are the prefix specified in the -P option

  • The next 6 bytes are the hash (Fowler–Noll–Vo non-crypto hash) of the locator (in the example webserver, without the http:// part)

  • The last 8 bytes are the hash (Fowler–Noll–Vo non-crypto hash) of the http request corresponding to the response being forwarded back to the client.


Higet is a non-interactive HTTP client working on top oh hICN.

higet [option]... [url]
-O <output_path>            = write documents to <output_file>. Use '-' for stdout.
-S                          = print server response.
-P                          = optional first 16 bits of hicn prefix, in hexadecimal format

./higet -P b001 -O - http://webserver/index.html

The hICN names used by higet for naming the HTTP requests are composed the way described in hicn-http-proxy.

HTTP client-server with hicn-http-proxy

We consider the following topology, consisting on two linux VMs which are able to communicate through an IP network (you can also use containers or physical machines):

|client (; 9001::1/64)|======|server (; 9001::2/64)|

Install the hICN suite on two linux VM. This tutorial makes use of Ubuntu 18.04, but it could easily be adapted to other platforms. You can either install the hICN stack using binaries or compile the code. In this tutorial we will make use of docker container and binaries packages.

The client will use of the hicn-light forwarder, which is lightweight and tailored for devices such as android and laptops. The server will use the hicn-plugin of vpp, which guarantees better performances and it is the best choice for server applications.

Keep in mind that on the same system the stack based on vpp forwarder cannot coexist with the stack based on hicn light.

For running the hicn-plugin at the server there are two main alternatives:

  • Use a docker container

  • Run the hicn-plugin directly in a VM or Bare Metal Server

Docker VPP hICN proxy

Install docker in the server VM:

server$ curl | bash

Run the hicn-http-proxy container. Here we use a public server at localhost as origin and HTTP traffic is server with an IPv6 name prefix b001.


# http proxy options

# udp punting

vppctl create tap id ${TAP_ID}
vppctl set int state ${TAP_NAME} up
vppctl set interface ip address tap0 ${TAP_ADDRESS_VPP}/24
ip addr add ${TAP_ADDRESS_KER}/24 brd + dev ${TAP_NAME}

# Redirect the udp traffic on port 33567 (The one used for hicn) to vpp
iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -p udp --dport ${HICN_LISTENER_PORT} -j DNAT \
                   --to-destination ${TAP_ADDRESS_VPP}:${HICN_LISTENER_PORT}
# Masquerade all the traffic coming from vpp
iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -j MASQUERADE --src ${TAP_ADDRESS_NET} ! \
                                 --dst ${TAP_ADDRESS_NET} -o eth0
# Add default route to vpp
vppctl ip route add via ${TAP_ADDRESS_KER} ${TAP_NAME}
# Set UDP punting
vppctl hicn punting add prefix ${FIRST_IPV6_WORD}::/16 intfc ${TAP_NAME}\
                                type udp4 dst_port ${HICN_LISTENER_PORT}

# Run the http proxy
if [ "${USE_MANIFEST}" = "true" ]; then
  PARAMS+="-M "

hicn-http-proxy ${PARAMS} ${HICN_PREFIX}

Docker images of the example above are available at Images can be pulled using the following tags.

docker pull icnteam/vhttpproxy:amd64
docker pull icnteam/vhttpproxy:arm64

Client side

Run the hicn-light forwarder:

client$ sudo /usr/bin/hicn-light-daemon --daemon --capacity 1000 --log-file \
                   ${HOME}/hicn-light.log --config ${HOME}/etc/hicn-light.conf

Run the http client higet and print the http response on stdout:

client$ /usr/bin/higet -O - http://webserver/index.html -P c001


You can install the hicn-plugin of vpp on your VM and directly use DPDK compatible nics, forwarding hicn packets directly over the network. DPDK compatible nics can be used inside a container as well.

server$ sudo apt-get install -y hicn-plugin vpp-plugin-dpdk hicn-apps-memif

It will install all the required deps (vpp, hicn apps and libraries compiled for communicating with vpp using shared memories). Configure VPP following the steps described here.

This tutorial assumes you configured two interfaces in your server VM:

  • One interface which uses the DPDK driver, to be used by VPP

  • One interface which is still owned by the kernel

The DPDK interface will be used for connecting the server with the hicn client, while the other interface will guarantee connectivity to the applications running in the VM, including the hicn-http-proxy. If you run the commands:

server$ sudo systemctl restart vpp
server$ vppctl show int

The output must show the dpdk interface owned by VPP:

              Name               Idx    State  MTU (L3/IP4/IP6/MPLS)     Counter          Count
GigabitEthernetb/0/0              1     down         9000/0/0/0
local0                            0     down          0/0/0/0

If the interface is down, bring it up and assign the correct ip address to it:

server$ vppctl set int state GigabitEthernetb/0/0 up
server$ vppctl set interface ip address GigabitEthernetb/0/0 9001::1/64

Take care of replacing the interface name (GigabitEthernetb/0/0) with the actual name of your interface.

Now enable the hicn plugin and set the punting for the hicn packets:

server$ vppctl hicn control start
server$ vppctl hicn punting add prefix c001::/16 intfc GigabitEthernetb/0/0 type ip

Run the hicn-http-proxy app:

server$ sudo /usr/bin/hicn-http-proxy -a -p 80 -c 10000 -m 1200 -P c001 http://webserver

Configure the client for sending hicn packets without any udp encapsulation:

client$ mkdir -p ${HOME}/etc
client$ LOCAL_IP="9001::2"
client$ REMOTE_IP="9001::1"
client$ cat << EOF > ${HOME}/etc/hicn-light.conf
add listener hicn lst 0::0
add punting lst c001::/16
add listener hicn list0 ${LOCAL_IP}
add connection hicn conn0 ${REMOTE_IP} ${LOCAL_IP}
add route conn0 c001::/16 1

Restart the forwarder:

client$ sudo killall -INT hicn-light-daemon
client$ sudo /usr/bin/hicn-light-daemon --daemon --capacity 1000 --log-file ${HOME}/hicn-light.log --config ${HOME}/etc/hicn-light.conf

Retrieve a web page:

client$ /usr/bin/higet -O - http://webserver/index.html -P c001