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Software Defined Networking

Online Course Highlights
  • The University of Chicago via Coursera
  • Learn for FREE, Up-gradable
  • 32 hours of effort required
  • 49,336+ already enrolled!
  • ★★★★★ (145 Ratings)
  • Skill Level: Mixed
  • Language: English

In this course, you will learn about software defined networking and how it is changing the way communications networks are managed, maintained, and secured.



  • 4 hours to complete

This week, I’ll introduce an overview of the course and then dive into the history and evolution of SDNs.


  • 5 hours to complete

In this module, you will learn about the motivation and history behind the separation of the control and data plane, as well as the challenges and opportunities that this architectural paradigm offers.


  • 3 hours to complete

In this lesson, you will gain experience with OpenFlow/SDN control, gain some exposure to different SDN controllers, learn about the tradeoffs of using different SDN controllers, and gain some experience of using SDN to customize control-plane behavior.


  • 5 hours to complete

By the end of this module, you should have a good understanding of what network virtualization is, what it is used for, and how it relates to software defined networking.


  • 4 hours to complete

This module is relatively independent from some of the other modules, as programmable data planes involve new types of technology. Still, you should by now have a very good understanding of SDN-based control and virtualization. OpenFlow’s design was somewhat of an accident of the hardware support that was available at the time. More recently, people are exploring how programmable hardware can help us design a control protocol with the benefit of being able to change the data plane.


  • 3 hours to complete

In this part of the course, you’ll learn about programming languages and controllers that make this programmability possible. We will focus on one language in particular, Pyretic, which is from the Frenetic family of languages. We will also look at a runtime and northbound API called Resonance, which allows network programmers to write policies that respond to changing network conditions (e.g., security events, shifts in peak vs. off-peak time, traffic fluctuations or link failures).


  • 4 hours to complete

In this module, we will apply that knowledge to explore how SDN can be used to solve problems in various networking domains. We’ll start by looking at data-center networking, where SDN has arguably gained the strongest foothold (to date). We’ll then explore applications of SDN to interdomain routing, where new applications and deployments are emerging. Finally, we’ll explore the application of SDN in home networks, which has seen some preliminary work, deployments, and ideas.


  • 4 hours to complete

In this module, we’ll be looking at another control framework built using Pyretic called “Kinetic”. Kinetic is a domain-specific language embedded in Pyretic that allows programmers and network operators to automatically verify the correctness properties of the control program. Your previous experience with Pox and Pyretic should provide you with very useful experience and perspective for comparing the three ways of programming a controller. In the assignment, we ask you to compare Kinetic to either Pox or Pyretic, so the experience you gained from those assignments should prove very useful.

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