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Basics of NS2 and Otcl/tcl script

Last Updated : 29 Jul, 2022
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Simulation is the process of learning by doing. Whenever there is something new in the world, we try to analyze it first by examining it and in the process get to learn a lot of things. This entire course is called Simulation
Correlating to this process, in order to understand all the complexities one needs to model the entire role-play in form of computer simulation, the need is to build artificial objects and assign them roles dynamically. 
Computer simulation is the designing of a theoretical physical system on a digital computer with emphasis on model designing, execution, and analysis. After the creation of the mathematical model, the most important step is to create a computer program for updating the state and event variables through time (by time slicing or event scheduling). If this simulation is carried out successively in parallel computers, it is called Parallel or Distributed simulation.
Network simulation (NS) is one of the types of simulation, which is used to simulate the networks such as in MANETs, VANETs, etc. It provides simulation for routing and multicast protocols for both wired and wireless networks. NS is licensed for use under version 2 of the GNU (General Public License) and is popularly known as NS2. It is an object-oriented, discrete event-driven simulator written in C++ and Otcl/Tcl. 
NS-2 can be used to implement network protocols such as TCP and UDP, traffic source behavior such as FTP, Telnet, Web, CBR, and VBR, router queues management mechanism such as Drop Tail, RED, and CBQ, routing algorithms, and many more. In ns2, C++ is used for detailed protocol implementation and Otcl is used for the setup. The compiled C++ objects are made available to the Otcl interpreter and in this way, the ready-made C++ objects can be controlled from the OTcl level. 
Install NS-2 using this command : 

sudo apt-get install ns2

Nam is also needed to install. Nam (Network Animator) is an animation tool to graphically represent the network and packet traces. Use this command :

sudo apt-get install nam

 Some basic Otcl script syntax : 

Basic Command : 


set a 8
set b [expr $a/8]

Explanation: In the first line, the variable a is assigned the value 8. In the second line, the result of the command [expr $a/8], which equals 1, is then used as an argument to another command, which in turn assigns a value to the variable b. The “$” sign is used to obtain a value contained in a variable and square brackets are an indication of command substitution.

Define new procedures with proc command :


proc factorial fact {
    if {$fact <= 1} {
        return 1
expr $fact * [factorial [expr $fact-1]]


To open a file for reading :


set testfile [open r]

Similarly, put command is used to write data into the file


set testfile [open w]
puts $testfile “hello1”

To call subprocesses within another process, exec is used, which creates a subprocess and waits for it to complete.


exec rm $testfile

To be able to run a simulation scenario, a network topology must first be created. In ns2, the topology consists of a collection of nodes and links.


set ns [new Simulator]

The simulator object has member functions that enable the creation of the nodes and define the links between them. The class simulator contains all the basic functions. Since ns was defined to handle the Simulator object, the command $ns is used for using the functions belonging to the simulator class.
In the network topology nodes can be added in the following manner :


set n0 [$ns node]
set n1 [$ns node]

Traffic agents (TCP, UDP, etc.) and traffic sources (FTP, CBR, etc.) must be set up if the node is not a router. It enables to creation CBR traffic source using UDP as transport protocol or an FTP traffic source using TCP as a transport protocol.

CBR traffic source using UDP :


set udp0 [new Agent/UDP]
$ns attach-agent $n0 $udp0
set cbr0 [new Application/Traffic/CBR]
$cbr0 attach-agent $udp0
$cbr0 set packet_size_ 512

FTP traffic source using TCP :


set tcp0 [new Agent/TCP]
$ns attach-agent $n0 $tcp0
set ftp0 [new Application/FTP]
$ftp0 attach-agent $tcp0
$tcp0 set packet_size_ 512

Below is the implementation of creating links between the source and destination using both FTP and TCP : 


# Create a simulator object
set ns [new Simulator]
# Define different colors
# for data flows (for NAM)
$ns color 1 Blue
$ns color 2 Red
# Open the NAM trace file
set nf [open out.nam w]
$ns namtrace-all $nf
# Define a 'finish' procedure
proc finish {} {
    global ns nf
    $ns flush-trace
    # Close the NAM trace file
    close $nf
    # Execute NAM on the trace file
    exec nam out.nam &
    exit 0
# Create four nodes
set n0 [$ns node]
set n1 [$ns node]
set n2 [$ns node]
set n3 [$ns node]
# Create links between the nodes
$ns duplex-link $n0 $n2 2Mb 10ms DropTail
$ns duplex-link $n1 $n2 2Mb 10ms DropTail
$ns duplex-link $n2 $n3 1.7Mb 20ms DropTail
# Set Queue Size of link (n2-n3) to 10
$ns queue-limit $n2 $n3 10
# Give node position (for NAM)
$ns duplex-link-op $n0 $n2 orient right-down
$ns duplex-link-op $n1 $n2 orient right-up
$ns duplex-link-op $n2 $n3 orient right
# Monitor the queue for link (n2-n3). (for NAM)
$ns duplex-link-op $n2 $n3 queuePos 0.5
# Setup a TCP connection
set tcp [new Agent/TCP]
$tcp set class_ 2
$ns attach-agent $n0 $tcp
set sink [new Agent/TCPSink]
$ns attach-agent $n3 $sink
$ns connect $tcp $sink
$tcp set fid_ 1
# Setup a FTP over TCP connection
set ftp [new Application/FTP]
$ftp attach-agent $tcp
$ftp set type_ FTP
# Setup a UDP connection
set udp [new Agent/UDP]
$ns attach-agent $n1 $udp
set null [new Agent/Null]
$ns attach-agent $n3 $null
$ns connect $udp $null
$udp set fid_ 2
# Setup a CBR over UDP connection
set cbr [new Application/Traffic/CBR]
$cbr attach-agent $udp
$cbr set type_ CBR
$cbr set packet_size_ 1000
$cbr set rate_ 1mb
$cbr set random_ false
# Schedule events for the CBR and FTP agents
$ns at 0.1 "$cbr start"
$ns at 1.0 "$ftp start"
$ns at 4.0 "$ftp stop"
$ns at 4.5 "$cbr stop"
# Detach tcp and sink agents
# (not really necessary)
$ns at 4.5 "$ns detach-agent $n0 $tcp ; $ns detach-agent $n3 $sink"
# Call the finish procedure after
# 5 seconds of simulation time
$ns at 5.0 "finish"
# Print CBR packet size and interval
puts "CBR packet size = [$cbr set packet_size_]"
puts "CBR interval = [$cbr set interval_]"
# Run the simulation
$ns run

Output : 

Features of NS2 :

  • It’s a networking research discrete event simulator.
  • It has a lot of features for simulating protocols including TCP, FTP, UDP, HTTPS, and DSR.
  • It is capable of simulating both wired and wireless networks.
  • It is mostly based on Unix.
  • Its scripting language is TCL.
  • Tclcl is a C++ and otcl linkage language.
  •  Scheduler for discrete events.

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