Special Report: Software-Defined Networks

SDN technology could transform communications networks and reduce costs

Big_dataIllustration: Carl DeTorres

With advances in IT and cloud computing, the increasing number of intelligent machines, and the advent of the Internet of Things, the traffic on telecommunications networks is expected to skyrocket. Meanwhile, hardware costs are tumbling and more open-source software is available. It’s clear a change is needed in how networks are designed and operated.

Enter software-defined networks. SDNs are networks of equipment that decouple hardware (such as forwarding IP packets) from software (the control plane that carries signaling traffic for routing through the network devices) and executes such software not necessarily in the equipment but either in the cloud or in clusters of distributed IT servers.

Through its Software Defined Networks Initiative, IEEE is working on many fronts to explore the benefits of SDNs and network functions virtualization (NFV), which is often paired with SDNs. The NFV concept applies CPU virtualization and other cloud computing technologies to migrate network functions from dedicated hardware to virtual machines running on general-purpose hardware.

TECH FOCUS

World120Reinventing Communications Networks

IEEE sets the stage for software-defined networks

software120 Software Already Defines Our Lives

But the impact of SDN will go beyond networking alone

Career and Education

Things120 Five Skills for Managing Software-Defined Networks

What IT and network engineers will need to succeed

OPINIONS

quest120Should Tech Companies Hire Hackers?

Several are recruiting them to identify flaws

Pres120IEEE, 2014 and Forward

IEEE faces several challenges ahead

Pres120Ask The Experts: Software-Defined Networks

Two IEEE leaders in this field are here to answer your questions

BENEFITS

prod120Sources of Information on SDNs

IEEE offers technical articles and online courses

Conf120Conferences: February–May 2015

IEEE events cover topics related to software-defined networks

standards120 Working Toward the Next Generation of Networks

IEEE standards projects aim to advance SDNs

books120E-Books on Networking Systems

Download them from the IEEE Xplore Digital Library

PEOPLE

prof120Antonio Manzalini: Innovating Networks

Advancing the softwarization of networks for a digital society

achieve120 Telling the Tale of Software-Defined Networks

IEEE Fellows are working on resources for the networks of the future