Software Defined Networking Research Group

Document Charter Software Defined Networking RG (sdnrg)
Title Software Defined Networking Research Group
Last updated 2014-11-11
State Approved
RG State Concluded
Send notices to (None)



The “Moore’s Law” effect has seen network hardware improve along almost all
hardware oriented dimensions, including port densities, speeds and feeds, and
price/bit over the past several decades. At the same time network control plane
has experienced dramatically slower evolution. In fact, configuring and
managing networks continues to be about network element operations (as opposed
to network services). This mix of ever growing networks and ever advancing
configuration requirements makes network agility, service velocity, operation,
debugging increasingly difficult and expensive. This effect is seen across all
network types, including enterprise, data center, and service provider
networks. Software-Defined Networks (SDNs) are widely seen as a promising set
of solutions to resolve these challenges. In particular, SDN promises to
provide a multi-layer platform which encompasses programability not only at the
forwarding and control planes, but also at the transport layers below and
orchestration and services layers above the data and control planes.

Early SDN models focused primarily on moving the control plane out of the
network elements into “controllers” on the theory that the switching elements
could remain simple, general-purpose, and cost-effective while at the same time
allowing the control plane to rapidly evolve. A number of recent SDN models, on
the other hand, include approaches in which control and data plane
programability works in concert with existing and future distributed control

SDN aims to benefit all types of networks, including wireless, cellular, home,
enterprise, data centers, and wide-area networks. The Software-Defined
Networking Research Group (SDNRG) investigates SDN from various perspectives
with the goal of identifying the approaches that can be defined, deployed and
used in the near term as well identifying future research challenges. In
particular, key areas of interest include solution scalability, abstractions,
and programming languages and paradigms particularly useful in the context of
SDN. In addition, it is an explicit goal of the SDNRG to provide a forum for
researchers to investigate key and interesting problems in the Software-Defined
Networking field.

Finally, the SDNRG provides objective definitions, metrics and background
research with the goal of providing this information as input to protocol,
network, and service design to SDOs and other standards producing organizations
such as the IETF, ETSI, ATIS, ITU-T, IEEE, ONF, MEF, and DMTF.

Areas of Interest

Classification of SDN models, including
        Relationship to work ongoing in the IETF and other SDOs
SDN model scalability and applicability
Multi-layer programability and feedback control systems
System Complexity
Network description languages, abstractions, interfaces and compilers
        Including methods and mechanisms for (on-line) verification of correct
        operation of network/node function.

Potential Work Items

Survey of SDN approaches and Taxonomies
Open Issues in Software-Defined Networking Research

The group will report progress through its wiki and presentations at IETF and
IRTF meetings. Relevant information and research developed by the research
group will be submitted for publication as Experimental or Informational RFCs.


Membership is open.


SDNRG meetings are held at least once a year in conjunction with the IETF. At
least one other yearly meeting will be held in conjunction with an academic