Virtual Layer


In this project, we have proposed  and developed a novel new routing paradigm – Virtual Id Routing (VIRO) that goes beyond the traditional shortest path routing used in IP networks and directly and simultaneously addresses the challenges faced by IP networks as well as those associated with the traditional layer-2 technologies such as Ethernet, while retaining its “plug-&-play” feature. VIRO provides a uniform convergence layer that unifies and integrates routing and forwarding performed by the traditional layer-2 (data link layer) and layer 3 (networklayer), as prescribed by the conventional local-area/wide-area network dichotomy and layered architecture. Perhaps more importantly, VIRO decouples routing from addressing, and thus is namespace-independent. We have implemented a prototype of VIRO in GENI, and our goal is two-fold: firstly, to test and evaluate VIRO's functionality and performance in GENI, and in the long term to incorporate VIRO in GENI, as an non-IP service, to support research, experiments and educational activities by other GENI researchers. 


Virtual Id Routing (VIRO)

VIRO is a topology-aware, structured virtual id (vid) routing protocol for future networks. It introduces a self-configurable, self-organizing virtual id layer (layer-2/3 convergence layer) where both physical identifiers (e.g. MAC addresses), as well as higher layer addresses/names (e.g., IPv4/IPv6 or flat-id names) are mapped. VIRO's structured vid space embeds the physical network topology formed by the connections among physical network components (Read More: PDF icon viro-infocom11.pdf

VIRO-GENI Testimonial: File viro-testimonial.mp4



We designed an architecture and implemented a prototype of VIRO using the OVS-SDN platform in GENI (Read More: PDF icon viro-geni-cnert14.pdf).

Viro Frame


PI: Prof.  Zhi-Li Zhang

Ph.D Students:

  • Braulio Dumba
  • Hesham Mekky
  • Guobao Sun

M.S. Students:

  • Amardeep singh chawla



  o Year-1 Design, Implementation and Experimentation Report. Here: PDF icon viro-geni-techreport.pdf
  o  Experiments Report (Draft). Here: PDF icon experiment-report.pdf
  o  Software Download:



  • Eman Ramadan, Hesham Mekky, Braulio Dumba, Zhi-Li Zhang, "Adaptive Resilient Routing via Preorders in SDN", Proceedings of the 4th Workshop on Distributed Cloud Computing (DCC'16), Chicago, IL, July 25, 2016.
  • Braulio Dumba, Hesham Mekky, Sourabh Jain, Guobao Sun, Zhi-Li. Zhang, "A Virtual Id Routing Protocol for Future Dynamics Networks and Its Implementation Using the SDN Paradigm.", Journal of Network and Systems Management, 24(3), 578-606. doi:10.1007/s10922-016-9373-0.
  • Braulio Dumba, Hesham Mekky, Guobao Sun, Zhi-Li Zhang, "In-Network Dynamic Pathlet Switching with VIRO for SDN Networks", International Workshop on Computer and Networking Experimental Research using Testbeds (CNERT'15), co-located with IEEE ICDCS'15, Columbus, Ohio June 19, 2015.
  • Braulio Dumba, Guobao Sun, Hesham Mekky, Zhi-Li Zhang, "Experience in Implementing & Deploying a Non-IP Routing Protocol VIRO in GENI.'' International Workshop on Computer and Networking Experimental Research using Testbeds (CNERT'14), co-located with IEEE ICNP'14 , The Research Triangle, NC, Oct 24, 2014. (Best Paper Award)
  • Braulio Dumba, Guobao Sun, Hesham Mekky, Zhi-Li Zhang, "Poster: VIRO-GENI: Deployment of a plug & play, scalable, robust virtual Id routing in GENI.'', The 20th GENI Engineering Conference (GEC20) , Davis, CA, June 21-24, 2014.
  • Hesham Mekky, Cheng Jin, Zhi-Li Zhang, "VIRO-GENI: SDN-based Approach for a Non-IP Protocol in GENI.'' The 3rd GENI Research and Educational Experiment Workshop (GREE 2014), co-located with the 19th GENI Engineering Conference (GEC19) , Atlanta, GA, March 19-20, 2014.
  • Zhi-Li Zhang, "Poster: GENI-VIRO: Highly Scalable, Robust and Namespace Independent Routing for Future Networks.'', The 18th GENI Engineering Conference (GEC18), Brooklyn, NY, October 27-29, 2013.
  • Sourabh Jain, Yingying Chen, Saurabh Jain, and Zhi-Li Zhang, "VIRO: A Scalable, Robust and Name-space Independent Virtual Id ROuting for Future Networks." In Proc. IEEE INFOCOM'11 Main Conference, Shanghai, China, Apr 10-15, 2011.