ns-3 is a packet-level network simulator for research and education.

Network Simulation

Are you interested in contributing to a widely-used performance evaluation tool for computer networking research? ns-3 is a discrete-event, packet-level network simulator with an emphasis on networking research and education. Users of ns-3 can construct simulations of computer networks using models of traffic generators, protocols such as TCP/IP, and devices and channels such as Wi-Fi, and analyze or visualize the results. Simulation plays a vital role in the research and education process, because of the ability for simulations to obtain reproducible results (particularly for wireless protocol design), scale to large networks, and study systems that have not yet been implemented. A particular emphasis in ns-3 is the high degree of realism in the models (including frameworks for using real application and kernel code) and integration of the tool with virtual machine environments and testbeds. Very large scale simulations are possible; simulations of hundreds of millions of nodes have been published.

Project details

ns-3 has been in development since 2006 and has made 26 releases (ns-3.26 in October 2016). ns-3 models are written in C++, with Python bindings and Python-based build tools. The tool is in wide use in the field; we provide statistics about the project on our web site, but in summary, the community includes over 7000 people subscribed to our users forum, 1500 people subscribed to our developers mailing list, 200 recognized code contributors, and about 12 active maintainers. The project's impact on the field is high: the number of annual academic publications citing use of ns-3 is an imprecise count but appears to range in the several hundreds per year based on our searching of IEEE and ACM digital libraries and Google Scholar. We operate as an GPLv2 open source project with an associated consortium and steering committee to provide administrative support to the project.

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  • c++
  • python


  • Other
  • networking
  • computer networking
  • simulation
  • research and development
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