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NISAC  National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center




NISAC Tools: MIITS

Overview

The Multi-Scale Integrated Information and Telecommunications System (MIITS) module is a scalable, end-to-end simulation environment for representing and analyzing extremely large, complex communication networks of any type, including cellular networks, public switched telephone networks (PSTN), the Internet, and ad hoc mesh networks. MIITS offers network representation in several resolutions, ranging from packet-level simulation to flow-based approaches.

Model Characteristics

MIITS’ modular architecture

MIITS’ modular architecture (yellow boxes) allows for efficient extensions to other network types. MIITS takes detailed population data as key input, supplemented by various network topology and communication device use surveys(left blue boxes). MIITS’ output is a set of analyses (right green boxes).
(Click graphic to enlarge)

At one end of the spectrum, MIITS constructs detailed representations of network loads based on individual device usage and real survey data. At the other end, MIITS employs multiple abstraction levels for network protocol stack simulations paired with powerful distributed discrete-event simulation technology to achieve scalability. MIITS fills the technology gap that exists in (1) methods for design, analysis, and development of current and future large-scale communication networks and (2) infrastructure-interdependency-aware simulation and analysis tools for wireless and wireline networks.

Key Features

The MIITS sub-module Network Generation creates a realistic model of network infrastructures (such as PSTN switches or Internet routers). MIITS receives demographic, mobility, and device ownership information for individuals in a synthetic population as input data. The Device Generation sub-module creates end-devices (e.g., desktop computers, phones) for the population. The Session Generation sub-module creates sessions (e.g., calls, emails) between individuals of the population. Synthesizing the outputs from those sub-modules, the Network Simulation sub-module simulates the time-dependent load in the network with a user-defined abstraction level. Individual MIITS sub-modules are implemented as a SimCore application, which guarantees scalability through use of state-of-the art distributed discrete event simulation technology. SimCore provides the distributed discrete-event simulation engine that the other sub-modules rely upon and the System Integration and Applications sub-module prepares the output analyses with the help of the Analysis and Visualization sub-module.

MIITS’ modular design provides the following advantages:

  • Directly interoperable with other infrastructure simulations built on SimCore technology (such as ActivitySim, FastTrans, DemandSim) as well as through Hydra web services with other NISAC tools (such as IEISS, TransOpt, Agent Framework Simulator), permitting interdependency-analysis studies, such as the effects of a power outage on communication networks
  • Specifically designed to scale to 1 billion nodes in the long term. It is also designed for technological scaling.
  • Accommodates new types of networks, such as novel wireless ad hoc mesh networks, sensor networks, or Wi-Fi hotspots accurately and efficiently
  • Evaluates federal policies on the use and operation of communication network infrastructures, especially regarding the potential effects of the policies on national security
  • Designed to discover and respond to communication network vulnerabilities through its contingency analysis and its cyber-attack analysis features

MIITS Models

Internet traffic in and near Chicago

In this plot of Internet traffic in and near Chicago, the red, blue, and green dots are Internet nodes within, bordering, and outside of Chicago, respectively. The bright green lines are Internet connections such as electrical and fiber optic cables. The faint green lines are streets.
(Click graphic to enlarge)

All MIITS models are integrated by design. This unique design allows MIITS to simulate the network confluence, i.e., the merging of all wireline and wireless technologies into a single network.

  • PSTN: MIITS has a detailed representation of the PSTN across the United States. This model includes cell phone communication and a detailed protocol model of SONET rings and the SS7 signaling system.
  • Internet: MIITS’ Internet model consists of backbone routers (about 200K) and end devices (around 300M) that exchange traffic.
  • Wireless: MIITS has implemented key wireless protocols, such as 802.11, to simulate Internet access through modern wireless mesh networks.
  • BotSim: MIITS BotSim is an extension that models malicious botnet operations across the Internet.
Plot of aggregate call volumes at 25,000 PSTN wire centers

In this plot of the aggregate call volumes at each of the roughly 25,000 PSTN wire centers in CONUS, each wire center is represented by a vertical bar whose height denotes the call volume. The top 100 wire centers are shown in orange, the remaining wire centers in purple.
(Click graphic to enlarge)

MIITS for Operations Support

MIITS has been used in the asset evaluation studies since 2005 for PSTN assets and since 2008 for Internet assets.
NISAC’s Fast Response Team routinely uses MIITS to respond to events of national significance including hurricanes, wildfires, and earthquakes.

Documentation/References

  • G. Yan, P. Datta, S. Eidenbenz, S. Thulasidasan, V. Ramaswamy, Criticality Analysis and Assessment of National Internet Infrastructure, Computer Networks, 2009
  • V. Ramaswamy, S. Thulasidasan, P. Romero, S. Eidenbenz, L. Cuellar, Simulating the National Telephone Network: A Socio-technical Approach to Assessing Infrastructure Criticality, Proceedings of 2007 IEEE Military Communications Conference, 2007
  • R. Waupotitsch, S. Eidenbenz, L. Kroc, J.P. Smith, Multi-Scale Integrated Information and Telecommunications System (MIITS): First Results from A Large-Scale End-to-End Network Simulator, Proceedings of Winter Simulation Conference 2006
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