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HEN - Heterogeneous Experimental Network

HEN is UCL Network Research Group's Heterogeneous Experimental Network, a facility designed to enable network research in a controllable, reconfigurable and reproducible network environment.

HEN consists of a variety of experimental network nodes of varying capability. Each node has multiple networking interfaces, and is network-booted from a central server, allowing the experimenter to quickly change the operating system running on each node. The backbone of HEN consists of a Force 10 E1200 switch, with nearly 500 high-speed network ports. This switch can be soft-configured using VLANs so that the experimenter can build complex network topologies with ease. The switch is non-blocking, so multiple experiments can run on HEN simultaneously.

The goal of HEN is to bridge the gap between simulation and real-work deployment. All too often network research has been confined to simulation, sometimes resulting in an over-simplification of the problem or doubt about the validity of results. The alternative was either very small scale testing using desktop machines, or real-world deployment leading to irreproducible or incomprehensible results. HEN is our attempt to bridge the two: experiments can be large enough to be interesting, but the network environment is still under the researcher's control, leading to a better understanding of what is really going on.

HEN is available for use by all networking researchers at UCL.


HEN Wiki
Start here.

HEN Status
UCL Only

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Prof. Mark Handley