Wide Area SDN: Technologies and Use Cases

Nick Feamster Headshot



Nick Feamster, Princeton University



Software defined networking (SDN) is gaining increasing attention as a useful mechanism for solving network operations problems in wide-area networks, ranging from traffic management to security. This tutorial will explore current SDN technologies in the context of various use cases. We will present a demonstration of how SDN can be used for traffic control in the wide area and give attendees an opportunity for hands-on experience with this use case, in the Mininet emulation environment. We will then provide an overview of current technologies that can help solve specific SD-WAN use cases.

Student Requirements for Hands-on Portion

The third hour of the tutorial will include a hands-on introduction to SDN WAN technologies at Internet Exchange Points (IXPs), which is now deployed by CloudRouter. Students who want to follow along in the hands-on portion might wish to prepare ahead of time by following the setup instructions here.


The course will provide an overview of both technologies and use cases for SD-WAN; tutorial time will be divided between lecture, hands-on, and structured discussion.

  • Part 1: Lecture on SD-WAN Use Cases and Technologies (90 minutes)
    • Traffic management
      • Dynamic traffic engineering
      • Application-specific traffic steering
      • Inbound and outbound traffic control
    • Security
      • Denial of service (DoS) attack mitigation
      • Secure routing
      • On-path encryption and decryption
      • Authorization for switch and NF operations
    • Technologies
      • Research/experimentation platforms: SDX
      • (Where applicable) vendor technologies
  • Part 2: Demonstration and Hands-On (60 minutes)
    • Traffic management use case(s)
      • Inbound traffic control
      • Application-specific steering o Setup and walkthrough
  • Part 3: Structured Discussion (30 minutes)
    • Reactions from hands-on
    • Thoughts on current capabilities
    • Extending the ONUG wish lists for SD-WAN use cases and technologies

Learning Objectives

Learning Objective 1: Learn about the details of various SD-WAN use cases where SDN technologies can improve network management and security, as well as the technologies that can enable some of these use cases.

Learning Objective 2: Gain hands-on experience with one or two traffic management use cases in a virtualized emulation environment. Learn enough about the existing open- source technologies to experiment with them post-tutorial.
Learning Objective 3: Gain a better understanding for current capabilities, and develop context for the SD-WAN working group use cases and wish lists.

Who Should Attend

  • Network operations
  • SecOps
  • Network Architects