SDN Layers and Architecture Terminology

Document Type Expired Internet-Draft (individual)
Authors Evangelos Haleplidis  , Kostas Pentikousis  , Spyros Denazis  , Jamal Hadi Salim  , David Meyer  , Odysseas Koufopavlou 
Last updated 2015-02-02 (latest revision 2014-08-01)
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This Internet-Draft is no longer active. A copy of the expired Internet-Draft can be found at


Software-Defined Networking (SDN) can be defined as a new approach for network programmability. Network programmability in this context refers to the capacity to initialize, control, change, and manage network behavior dynamically via open interfaces as opposed to relying on closed-box solutions and their associated proprietary interfaces. SDN emphasizes the role of software in running networks through the introduction of an abstraction for the data forwarding plane and, by doing so, separates it from the control plane. This separation allows faster innovation cycles at both planes as experience has already shown. However, there is increasing confusion as to what exactly SDN is, what is the layer structure in an SDN architecture and how do layers interface with each other. This document aims to answer these questions and provide a concise reference document for SDNRG, in particular, and the SDN community, in general, based on relevant peer-reviewed literature and documents in the RFC series.


Evangelos Haleplidis (
Kostas Pentikousis (
Spyros Denazis (
Jamal Hadi Salim (
David Meyer (
Odysseas Koufopavlou (

(Note: The e-mail addresses provided for the authors of this Internet-Draft may no longer be valid.)