• contact:

    Dr. Roland Bless

  • project group:

    Future Network Management

  • funding:

    internal project

  • Partner:

    Hendrik Mahrt, Paul Seehofer

  • startdate:

    April 2018

  • enddate:


KIRA LogoKademlia-directed ID-based Routing Architecture

Scalable Zero-Conf Routing for Control Planes. KIRA provides scalable IPv6 connectivity (100,000s of nodes) across a link-layer topology without any configuration and thus provides a resilient foundation for autonomic networks.

KIRA Project Description

KIRA is a scalable zero-touch ID-based routing architecture that is designed to provide connectivity for network control planes
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Short Description

KIRA is a scalable zero-touch routing solution that is tailored to control planes, i.e., in contrast to commonly used routing protocols like OSPF, ISIS, BGP etc., it prioritizes resilient connectivity over route efficiency. It scales to 100,000s of nodes in a single network, it uses ID-based addresses, is zero-config and is able to work well in various network topologies. Moreover, it offers a flexible memory/stretch trade-off per node, shows fast recovery from link or node failures, and is loop-free, even during convergence. Additionally, it includes a built-in Distributed Hash Table (DHT) that can be used for simple name service registration and resolution, thereby helping to realize autonomic network management and control and zero-touch deployments. Moreover, we designed KeLLy, a highly scalable and fast topology discovery on top of KIRA that allows to discover large network topologies by querying only 4% of the nodes.

Overview of KIRA's two tier architecture

KIRA is composed of R²/Kad in the routing tier and of a PathID-based forwarding scheme in its forwarding tier. R²/Kad constructs underlay routes by using a Kademlia-directed ID-based overlay routing strategy and uses source routing between the overlay hops. For control plane packets source routing would induce some per-packet overhead that is avoided by replacing the source routes with PathIDs. PathIDs are similarly used as in label switching and can be partially calculated beforehand. So KIRA establishes a control plane fabric that provides zero-touch connectivity between all networked resources in a scalable manner. Control plane elements such as SDN controllers, Kubernetes controllers, Path Computation Elements, Management servers, and so on can run on top of this control plane fabric. We see such a solution as a foundation that is required for (future) network automation as it constitutes a reliable base for network control that will always work if there is physical connectivity available between the entities.

The first concept was developed April 2018.


  • R. Bless, M. Zitterbart, Z. Despotovic and A. Hecker, "KIRA: Distributed Scalable ID-based Routing with Fast Forwarding", 2022 IFIP Networking Conference (IFIP Networking), Catania, Italy, 2022, doi: 10.23919/IFIPNetworking55013.2022.9829816.
    (or download the preprint version).
    • this is a first publication explaining KIRA

Related Publications

  • P. Seehofer, R. Bless, H. Mahrt, M. Zitterbart, "Scalable and Efficient Link Layer Topology Discovery for Autonomic Networks", 19th International Conference on Network and Service Management (CNSM) 2023, 30th Oct–Nov 2nd, Niagara Falls, Canada,  doi: 10.23919/CNSM59352.2023.10327800,, (PDF)
    • this is an improved version of the scalable and fast topology discovery based on KIRA
  • P. Seehofer, R. Bless, M. Zitterbart, "KeLLy: Scalable, Efficient Link-Layer Topology Discovery", 2023 NOMS IEEE/IFIP Network Operations and Management Symposium, 36th IEEE/IFIP Network Operations and Management Symposium (2023), Miami, FL, USA, 08.05.2023 – 12.05.2023,
    • this is a scalable and fast topology discovery based on KIRA
  • M. -I. Corici, F. Eichhorn, R. Bless et al., "Organic 6G Networks: Vision, Requirements, and Research Approaches", in IEEE Access, July, 2023,, doi: 10.1109/ACCESS.2023.3293055
    • this describes the use of KIRA for providing a control plane fabric for a 6G organic core infrastructure
  • P. Seehofer, H. Mahrt, R. Bless, M. Zitterbart, "Enabling Autonomic Network Infrastructures with KIRA", Demo paper SIGCOMM 2023, NY, USA
    • this demonstrator shows the use of KIRA and its integrated DHT as foundation for 5G control plane connectivity and autonomous 5G core infrastructures (using Open5GS on top of KIRA's IPv6 connectivity).





Several student theses have been conducted in the context of KIRA (or KeLLy)

  • Timon Reinold, Modeling User Equipment Mobility in RoutingSim and Evaluating its Impact on KIRA, Bachelor thesis, March 2024
  • Paul Burchard, Design and Integration of Routing Security Measures into the ID-Based Routing Architecture KIRA, Master thesis, December 2023
  • Wendy Yi, Towards a Theoretical Analysis of the Routing Architecture KIRA, Master thesis, March 2023
  • Efficient Multicast for an ID-Based Routing System, Master thesis, February 2023
  • Hendrik Mahrt: Multipath-Support for an ID-based Routing Protocol, Master thesis, February 2022
  • Analysis of Path Usage and Traffic Engineering for an ID-based Routing Protocol (german), Master thesis,  January 2022
  • Paul Seehofer: Integration of End-Systems into an ID-Based Routing System, Master thesis, December 2021
  • An SDN Implementation of PathID Forwarding for ID-oriented Routing Protocols, Bachelor thesis, August 2020
  • Analysis of Routing Dynamics of R²/Kademlia (german), Bachelor thesis, October 2020
  • Design and Simulation-based Evaluation of the Peer-to-Peer Routing Protocol R²/Kademlia (german), Bachelor thesis, May 2019

Running Code

There exist three different implementations



This routing architecture is not associated with the "virtualization and consensus framework" with the same name (