उत्सव, विकास अनि ब्लग जिन्दगी

Comparing various Network Simulators and Emulators


A question asked by many: which network simulator should I use for my thesis or research? The answer is with you. You have to explore and find your needs of research work or thesis; dig into the matter; then plan accordingly. If you have not read previously, I suggest you to read an article How to choose the best Network simulator for your research/thesis work?

Some Network Simulators Softwares
Some Network Simulators Softwares

Middleware extensibility and integration modeling of your research findings can be understood only by yourself perspicuously. Hence, you need to compare which network simulator does the best job for you. Network modeling and simulation is possible in all of the following simulators.

So, Which Network Simulator should are you? I have prepared a comparative table of frequently used and popular network simulators which I happen to encounter during my research in Heterogeneous Wireless Sensor Networks (HWSN). Maybe emphasis has been given on Discrete Event-based Simulators. Listed here different simulators available for Simulation regarding network topology and connections.

Comparing network simuators:

We include MATLAB, NS 2 and NS 3, OMNeT++, Castalia,  TOSSIM, Ptolemy II, Tiny OS, J-Sim, NetTopo, Sidh, GloMoSim, QualNet, etc etc. This is just a short list, I know there might be a large list of Network simulators and emulators, frankly I have not covered commercial ones except few.

Simulator Description Platform Developer/Licensing
Atarraya – Simulation tool to teach and research topology control algorithm for WSN- Discrete-event simulation tool specifically designed for testing and implementing topology control protocols in WSN- Structure for designing both topology construction + maintenance- GUI + support for several algorithms – Java – MA Labrador,PM Wightman
Avrora – The AVR microcontroller  (Atmel & Mica 2) Simulation and Analysis Framework- Scalable Senor Network Simulation- Java based (JAVA API available)- GUI for interactive simulation and monitoring – JAVA(OS Platform independent) – UCLA Compilers Group
Castalia – Simulator for WSN, BAN + LPED- Able to simulate wide range of platforms- Advanced channel & radio models- Many MAC+ routing Protocols- Highly parametric OMNeT++ – NICTA- Academic/IEEE License
GloMoSim / QualNet – simulator for mobile wireless networks- several choices for radio propagation- good at simulating of mobile IP networks- evaluate wireless sensor networks (?) – Parsec (C-variant) – GloMoSim (Free)- QualNet (Commercial)
J-Sim – Simulation system for quantitative numeric models- GUI to edit/compile multiple models- Rely on input from video or other representation of real events- Expounded data analysis and advanced configuration- Supports sensors and physical phenomena with Energy modeling – JAVA- Web Applet – Free (non-commercial)- National Simulation Resource, University of Washington
MATLAB – Very powerful and multi-purpose industry-standard simulator for more than we can imagine- From Sensor Network simulation to network modeling to complex aerodynamic modeling Windows– Mac – Student- Academic- Commercial License
NetTopo – Different network topology of routing paths on change of simulation parameters- Multi-source data gathering with dead sensor nodes- 3D visualization tool for ubiquitous environment – JAVA- Windows – GPL- Digital Enterprise Research Institute
NS-2  NS-3 – Discrete event networks simulator- Combination of C++ and OTcl (OOSL)- Effectively limited to IP networks due to low level assumptions – Linux Unix- Mac- Window  (via Cygwin) – GNU GPL
OMNeT++ – Discrete event based network simulation framework- Extensible, modular, component-based C++ simulation library and framework- Primarily for building network simulators (like Castalia)- Vast components like simulation kernel library, compiler, CLI, utilities etc – Linux, Unix- Mac- Windows (ported?)- OMNeT++ IDE (Eclipse platform) – Free for academic (non-profit)- András Varga (OMNeT++ Community)
OPNET – Solutions for managing applications and networks,  performance management; network planning, engineering, and operations; and network R&D- Network simulation includes VoIP, TCP, OSPFv3, MPLS, IPv6 etc Windows- Others – Commercial- OPNET Technologies
Prowler & JProwler – Probabilistic WSN Simulators- Several radio models- Targeted to the Berkeley MICA Mote hardware platform running application built on TinyOS- Provides only one MAC protocol – Matlab (Prowler)- Java (JProwler)
Ptolemy II – Heterogeneous modeling, simulation and design- Addresses modularity, improved heterogeneity, mutable systems, polymorphic type system and GUI- Base for design of many other simulators & emulators – Java – Baldwin- UC Berkeley
SENS – High level Sensor network simulator– Provides few models of wireless medium from simple perfect to probabilistic message loss model- Does not accurately simulate a MAC protocol- Supports sensors, actuators, and physical phenomena only for sound – C++ – Sundresh
SENSE – Recent sensor networksimulator (2004)- supports an energy model that is sufficient for WSN- Does not support sensors, physical phenomena, or environmental effects- Runs on top of COST, a componentbased discrete event simulator that is written in CompC++ – C++ – Chen
Sidh – Scales to simulate networks with thousands of nodes faster than real-time on a typical desktop computer- Component based and easily reconfigurable independent modules- Distinctly separates simulator, event, medium,  propagation model, environment, node, processor, transceiver, energy & protocols – Java
TinyOS – Component based embedded OS- WSNplatform targeted- IDEs available for Eclipse platform- Basis of many deployment architecture and simulators/emulators – Free and Open Source- TinyOS Alliance
TOSSIM – Compiles into TinyOS for Simulation infrastructure- Scalable simulation of entire TinyOS Applications- High fidelity simulation of a complete TinyOS sensor network- GUI (TinyViz) and interaction intensive tool – TinyOS Phil Levis(CS Berkeley)
VisualSense – modeling and simulation framework for WSN- provides accurate and extensible radio model- model good for energy propagation but not for localization – Ptolemy II – UC Berkeley
YANASim – Yet Another Network Analyzer and Simulator- Open Source network (LAN and WAN) analysis software- Includes SNMP, ICMP & other discovery modules, IP tools- Best for SNMP viewer / monitor tool which supports user-defined MIB strings as per RFC 1213 – Free Pascal / Lazarus – Free (GNU GPL)- Sergei Kostigoff
Comparison of various Network Simulators and Emulators, compiled by Ekendra Lamsal

Keywords and abbreviations used in above mentioned Network Simulators and Emulators:

WSN: Wireless Sensor Networks

BAN: Body Area Networks

LPED: Low-power Embedded Devices Network

TOSSIM: TinyOS mote Simulator

OOSL: Object oriented Scripting Language

NS-2 NS-3: Network Simulator 2, 3

Other operating systems in Wireless Sensor Networks: Contiki · ERIKA Enterprise · Nano-RK · SOS · TinyOS  · LiteOS  · NanoQplus

General CitationLaTeX - BibRef
Lamsal, E. Comparing various Network Simulators and Emulators, A web article, published in ekendraonline.com, 2012
author = {Lamsal, Ekendra},
title = {Comparing various Network Simulators and Emulators},
booktitle = {A web article, published in ekendraonline.com},
year = {2012},
location = {Bangkok, Thailand},
numpages = {5},
url = {http://ekendraonline.com/computing/comparing-network-simulators-2502.html},
keywords = {network simulators comparison, ns2, ns3, network simulators, simulators, emulators, network emulators, free network simulators, network solutions, network simulation softwares, network simulation tools, network simulation in matlab, network simulation tools download, network simulation open source, heterogeneous sensor networks, sensor networks}, }
  1. Andrew Sail says

    Many thanks for such a lucid comparison. However, you could have made it even interactive by including performance and other metrics of those simulators.

  2. Puny says

    Thanks….very informative

  3. […] Many commercial network simulation tools have excessively feature loaded functions but costs a lot, so maybe we can focus on free and open source network simulation softwares. At the end of this article are some really useful Journal papers to help you determine and study comparison made among some network simulators. Also don’t forget to check out an article on comparison of different network simulation tools. […]

  4. Daniel says

    Very useful comparison, what is interesting is you have focused in Open source or free resources (Matlab is an exception, right?)

  5. […] Search Page was so historic. As the result form Google Search, Softonic.com they uploaded iPhone Simulator on Apr 23, 1982. WTF, so Steve Jobs took his concept of iPhone from that simulator. See my tweet […]

Leave a Reply

Font Resize