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Hands-on Labs and Tools for Teaching Software Defined Network (SDN) to Undergraduates

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Tools and Techniques

Tagged Division

Computing and Information Technology

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Paper Authors


Emil H. Salib James Madison University

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Professor in the Integrated Science & Technology Department at James Madison University.
Current Teaching - Networking & Security and Cross Platform Mobile Application Development.
Current Research - Private Cloud Computing, Mobile IPv6 and Design for Motivation Curriculum

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John David Lester

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Software Defined Network (SDN) promises a flexible and easy to manage network by pushing the complexity of implementing high level network policy down to the control software. SDN's primary value proposition is perhaps its ability to provide automated service delivery customized for specific business' needs. To realize the promises of the SDN technologies, there is a growing demand for qualified developers, implementation and deployment network engineers. However, the introduction of the SDN foundational knowledge at the undergraduate curriculum level has not kept up with the demands of the workplace. There is a shortage of hands-on lab based teaching materials in this area both for the undergraduate faculty members and the students.

To address the lack of SDN knowledge and teaching tools among the undergraduate community, we proposed the delivery of a bundle of tools and educational packages. These will enable undergraduate students to develop a strong understanding of the inner workings of SDN through hands-on labs that would enable them to program their own networks and to validate them through the implementation of their own network applications.

In this paper, we describe the tools (including already packaged virtual machines) and labs we developed to assist students and teachers in acquiring hands-on knowledge of SDN and the penetration testing of this new architecture. . These demonstrate the inner workings of SDN through the deployment of an open source controller and network created through mininet and open source virtual switches that support OpenFlow protocol. The controller will allow the students to implement flows easily and quickly by pushing them to the individual open switches. Also, they will be able to validate the operations of the controller through the implementation of their own simple network applications.

Salib, E. H., & Lester, J. D. (2018, June), Hands-on Labs and Tools for Teaching Software Defined Network (SDN) to Undergraduates Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30570

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