227-0575-00L  Advanced Topics in Communication Networks: Software-Defined Networking

SemesterAutumn Semester 2014
LecturersB. Plattner, B. L. H. Ager, P. Georgopoulos, M. Happe, K. A. Hummel
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish


AbstractThis lecture discusses a range of important advanced topics in communication networks. It covers state-of-the-art topics both related to wired and wireless networks and draws on current research. Lectures are presented by senior people of this group as well as external invited lecturers that are prominent researchers in some of the topics discussed.
ObjectiveThis lecture fills a gap between the introductory networking course offered in the bachelor study program (Communication Networks) and the doctoral level, and to prepare students to read and evaluate peer research work, as well as to produce their own. There is no similar course offered elsewhere at ETH (also considering the course offerings of D-INFK), therefore we anticipate that this course may also be chosen as an elective course by D-INFK students. The character of the course is research-oriented and thus should also be of interest to doctoral students.
ContentSoftware-defined networking (SDN) it an emerging hot topic in communication networks. In all networks, there is a distinction between the control plane, where configuration (and especially routing) decisions are communicated, and the data plane, where user data is transported.

The control and data planes are at present closely intertwined; interfaces between the control and data planes are presently closed, located within the internals of proprietary routers and switches. SDN separates the control from the data plane and introduces an open interface between them. The control plane is moved to a remote server and operates on top of a Network Operating System (NOS).

Opening up the interface between the control and data planes enables experimentation with new mechanisms that control how packets are routed. Innovative packet routing schemes, e.g., tailored for data center networks, are deployed as applications that run on top of the NOS without requiring changes to routers and switches. Networks therefore become much more programmable than today.

The SDN architecture has emerged in the last 2-3 years and it has attracted significant interest from the industry. It is already supported by a number of vendors, including Cisco and Juniper, and it is presently used in the data center network of Google.

This course will cover an introduction to SDN, including OpenFlow; network operating systems; virtualisation; software-defined hardware; SDN applications; SDN security; SDN use cases and much more. For details, see http://www.csg.ethz.ch/education/lectures/ATCN/hs2014.

We will have a few lectures by distinguished guest speakers.

We provide hands-on experience with programming SDN networks through some of our exercises.
Lecture notesThe reading material for this course will be based on class notes, as well as research papers assigned as recommended reading material for each topic.
LiteratureResearch papers will be recommended as reading material for each topic.
Prerequisites / NoticePrerequisite: Communication Networks or equivalent.
Intended audience: master and doctoral students.