Important Dates

September 08, 2014
September 09-11, 2014
September 12, 2014
September 12, 2014


IEEE Communications Society
Ahmad Rostami

Ahmad Rostami, Experienced Researcher, Ericsson Research, Stockholm, Sweden. 


In contrast to the classical circuit-switched telephony networks, the packet-switched Internet came into the widespread use without having a separate, well-defined control plane. In fact, one of the design principles of the Internet has been to keep the network core architecture as simple as possible (i.e., providing connection less communication services between hosts without any resource reservation or guarantee on the quality of service), resulting in implementing most of the application-related functions within end-hosts. Nevertheless, the design and deployment of a plethora of networking applications soon revealed the need for a flexible control plane that could provide a better support for advanced services than just a best-effort connection less transport. Consequently, over the past almost twenty years we have witnessed several attempts to fundamentally address the shortcomings of the Internet control architecture and redesign it to allow for efficient and dynamic programming of advanced functions into the network. To this purpose, many approaches—offering various levels of flexibility and programmability—have been investigated. Prominent examples include Active Networks in mid 90s, ForCES in 2000s and the recently proposed framework for Software Defined Networks (SDN). While some of these approaches—e.g., Active networks—did not succeed in finding a way into production networks, the SDN has already made it into networking products within very short period. In fact, it is highly believed that the SDN together with complementary technologies like the network function virtualization (NFV) enjoy the potential to reshape the Internet architecture in the next couple of years. Therefore, it is of great importance for networking researchers and developers, who would like to work in the forefront of the networking technology, to acquire the knowledge of most recent approaches in this area.

This tutorial is designed to update networking researchers, developers and engineers with recent developments in the area of programmable networks with a particular focus on SDN. More precisely, the tutorial aims at equipping the participants with the essential knowledge of SDN and its associated techniques and protocols (e.g., OpenFlow) such that at the end of the workshop they could be able to independently explore details of SDN-based solutions. To achieve this, the tutorial will begin with a big picture covering the concept, requirements and challenges of bringing programmability to the network architecture, and will present a retrospective, short review of the major approaches that have been considered for making the Internet control architecture more flexible. This will include Active networks, (G)MPLS and ForCES. Then, we will continue to the SDN, as the most recent attempt to network programmability, and will cover several aspects of the new technology including, among other topics, the architecture and protocols, benefits, open issues, and the relation to complementary technologies like network function virtualization (NFV). At the end, we will discuss selected applications of the SDN framework by presenting example Use-cases that are currently followed at the industrial level.

Outline of the Topics to be covered:

  • Introduction to Programmable Networks (PN)
    • Definition & Why do we need that?
    • Requirements & Challenges of PN
    • How can we evaluate/compare different approaches to PN? 
      • Who does take the control? (Network Operator Vs Service Provider Vs End Users)
      • What is programmed? (Forwarding Vs. Control Vs. Processing)
      • Level of programmability? (Packet, Flow of Packets, Class of Packets)
    • Approaches to PN:  A Quick Retrospective Review
      • Active Networks
      • (G)MPLS
      • ForCES
  • Software Defined Networks (SDN)
    • Framework & Basic Concept
    • Advantages of SDN 
    • Architecture and Protocols (e.g., OpenFlow)
    • Controller & Platforms (e.g., OpenDayLight)
    • Open Issues (Multi-layer Multi-domain, Security, Performance, …)
    • Standardization & Deployment
    • Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and relation to SDN
    • Examples of Industrial Usecases 
  • References & Pointers for further study
  • Questions & Answers