Software Defined Networks


Chair: Roberto Saracco, Director, EIT ICT Labs Italy


  • Erik Ekudden, Vice President, Global Head of Technology Strategies,  Ericsson group
  • Sriram Natarajan, Senior Research Engineer Deutsche Telekom - Silicon Valley Innovation Center
Software eats hardware. In 2012, software took a first bite out of networking. A group of companies  announced one of the first real-world demonstrations of “software defined networking” or SDN, by a major carrier. The idea behind SDN is to uncouple traffic management from the physical hardware-based elements it has heretofore depended on. Software defined networking provides the freedom to envision any behavior or service on the network as well as the operation tools to make those services a reality. 

SDN addresses cost-Effective and Energy Efficient Networking Solutions to support the increasing traffic, new traffic types and devices

Digitalisation of media and the simplicity in creating, distributing and communicating content has caused a tremendous load onto the networks implying that more cost-effective communications means need to be developed.

The users wish to be always connected using any terminal on any network to access and distribute content. The wish for convenience also shows that the access to networks becomes more predominantly via wireless access than fixed.

All these requirements from users/producers of content and the avalanche of traffic make it imperative to increase capacity in the networks. This is in particular a challenge for wireless access so new methods for scaling the access network, sharing and using new spectrum, as well as becoming more effective in using the spectrum, are needed.

Services are also becoming more and more varied so providing flexibility in services for applications with various QoS and QoE turns out to be more important. Other trends are the increasing interactivity of media as well as mixing media during the same sessions.
Optimisation across layers will be important to improve network performance in relation to applications as well for the performance of the applications themselves.

SDN (Software Defined Networks) and NFV (Network Functions Virtualization) are creating the conditions to reinvent network architectures. This is happening first at the edge of the network where “intelligence” has already started migrating, and it is where innovation is more urgently needed to overcome the “ossification” by improving networks and services infrastructure flexibility.