Research Focus Class on Communication Systems: Software Defined Networks (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV)


Remark: No lecture on Nov 5th!

What is SDN and NFV?

Network management currently undergoes changes towards more flexible network management. This trend is stimulated by Network Virtualization and Software Defined Networks (SDN) that emerged in recent years.

These technologies allow networks to be run in a more flexible and cost efficient manner, e.g., by increasing network resource utilization and by decreasing operational costs. As an emerging topic, Network Function Virtualization (NFV) allows even further flexibility by migrating network functions (e.g., DHCP, PPPoE) from dedicated hardware to virtual machines running on commodity hardware.

Virtualized network functions are appealing to network operators since they can be migrated and flexibly adapted to current demands.

The newly achieved flexibility in network management, particularly for NFV, opens a set of currently unresolved key questions concerning i) reliability, ii) service orchestration iii) function placement, and iv) performance. How to operate virtualized network functions in a reliable manner by providing redundancy and load balancing? Can virtualized network functions provide performance figures required for network operations and how can such virtualized services be benchmarked and compared? Where should network functions be placed to optimize the network subject to different design criteria? How can services be orchestrated? How can network monitoring be adapted to such flexible networks? This workshop aims at addressing these and similar questions in virtualized networks.

What is the class about?

This class will introduce you to SDN and NFV. Besides a presentation of academic research topics, the class will be co-taught by the Ericcson Eurolab to cover aspects that are currently relevant in the industry.

The class is split into three phases:

  • Lecture phase (~1 month)
  • Seminar phase (~1 month)
  • Lab phase (~2 months)

The lecture period will serve as a general introduction to the topic and current research directions. In the seminar period, you will get the chance to research on a particular research question and perform practical implementations and scientific evaluation in the lab phase.

Why should I take this class?

This class will serve as a introduction on how to conduct research in communication systems. Besides learning about SDN and NFV as emerging topics, taking this course is an ideal preparation for doing a master thesis in our group.

What should I bring?

  • Successful participation in "Advanced Internet Technology"
  • Strong interest and willingness to contribute time