As the research in quantum key distribution (QKD) technology grows larger and becomes more complex, the need for highly accurate and scalable simulation technologies becomes important to assess the practical feasibility and foresee difficulties in the practical implementation of theoretical achievements. Due to the specificity of the QKD link which requires optical and Internet connection between the network nodes, to deploy a complete testbed containing multiple network hosts and links to validate and verify a certain network algorithm or protocol would be very costly. Network simulators in these circumstances save vast amounts of money and time in accomplishing such a task. The simulation environment offers the creation of complex network topologies, a high degree of control and repeatable experiments, which in turn allows researchers to conduct experiments and confirm their results. In this paper, we described the design of the QKD network simulation module which was developed in the network simulator of version 3 (NS-3). The module supports simulation of the QKD network in an overlay mode or in a single TCP/IP mode. Therefore, it can be used to simulate other network technologies regardless of QKD.
The QKDNetSim source code is free for download from the git repository ”https://bitbucket.org/liptel/qkdnetsim”.