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Introduction to Network Abstraction, SDN and NFV

Overview and methods for Network Abstraction

Network abstraction breaks physical relationships, which allows virtual routes and devices to be built and offers more networking flexibility. It is a key methodology to help address typical problems networking faces, such as the problem of congestion and scalability. Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and Software-Defined Networking (SDN) are key technologies enabling Network Abstraction studied in this module.

For this assignment, we deal with the same branch of a major company considered in the first assignment in which its head wants to introduce the use of SDN to manage all the Personal Computers (PCs) of his 30 employees. However, before connecting all the PCs to a central controller through different switches, the head wants to first assess the potentiality of SDN in a small network including a central controller, a switch and five PCs.
Learning Outcomes to be assessed
• Critically analyse state of the art research in networking.
• Assess the impact of state of the art platforms on networking applications.

Detail of the task
1. Introduction to Network Abstraction and SDN
You will first provide an introduction to the field of Network Abstraction that should not exceed 800 words. This will include:
• Introduction of the key methods for Network Abstraction studied in this module and their main differences.
• Explanation of the limitations of the current networks that can be addressed through the use of Software-Defined Networking (SDN).
• Description of the main properties of SDN and one technology studied in this module that allows its implementation.

2. Design of a SDN-based connection by Mininet
In this task, you are required to design, implement and test by using Mininet an SDN-based network that manages five PCs accessed by five employees of the company considered in this assignment.

The SDN-based network will allow to connect the PCs to a central controller through a shared switch.
Specifically, you are required to address the following sub-tasks:
1. Design the SDN-based network made by a controller, a switch and five hosts connected to the switch. In detail, in this sub-task, you are required to provide: 1) a diagram showing all the elements of the network, including the controller, the switch, the hosts, the links and the interfaces, and a description of the topology; and 2) a screenshot showing the command line and the result in a Mininet shell together with its description.

2. Test the connection among all the nodes of the network. In detail, in this sub-task, you are required to: 1) launch a python web server choosing a host requiring an HTTP connection and another host acting as a web server, and provide a screenshot showing the command line and the result in a Mininet shell together with its description; and 2) capture the OpenFlow packets sent among the nodes of the network through Wireshark, and provide a screenshot showing this capture together with its description.

3. Discuss the use of OpenFlow. In detail, in this sub-task, you are required to discuss all the involved addresses, the meaning of Buffer ID, Timeouts and Type of Action for one of the packets of_flow_add.
3. Discussion of an SDN Open Issue
In this task, you are required to produce a report that describes one of the SDN Open Issues under research studied in this module, and that should not exceed 500 words.
Your report should start with an introduction of the chosen open issue including the motivation and a brief literature review.

Next, your report will describe your concerns and plans related to this open issue with respect to the SDN-based connection designed in the second task.

What you should hand in
The coursework is an individual piece of work and you should submit a single word processed document covering the topics outlined above.
The report should be submitted electronically via Canvas.

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