An OpenFlow router is a networking device that uses software-defined networking (SDN) technology to manage network traffic. The OpenFlow protocol allows for the separation of the router and switch’s instruction set from its hardware, enabling centralized control over network traffic flow.
The OpenFlow protocol was developed at Stanford University and standardized in 2009. The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) took responsibility for OpenFlow in 2011. Several OpenFlow controllers, such as Nox, Beacon, and Floodlight, have emerged from this early work. Nox is considered the pioneer, while Beacon and Floodlight share a common ancestry. Beacon is ideal for research applications, while Floodlight is more suited for production use.
How Does an OpenFlow Router Work?
An OpenFlow router uses SDN technology to enable centralized control over traffic flow. An OpenFlow controller, located in a network server, programs OpenFlow devices, which are managed by the Open Networking Foundation (ONF). When a packet arrives at the router, it is subjected to a flow table lookup to determine the appropriate action to take based on the rules defined in the OpenFlow controller. The OpenFlow controller can also modify the flow table to change network behavior without having to physically reconfigure the network.
Benefits of Using an OpenFlow Router
- Centralized management of network traffic
- Flexibility to configure network behavior without physically reconfiguring network devices
- Better scalability in large network environments
- Enhanced security through flow rule enforcement
What is SDN?
SDN stands for software-defined networking, which is an approach to networking that separates the control plane (software) from the data plane (hardware). This separation enables more centralized control over network behavior, resulting in better scalability, flexibility, and security.
Who manages OpenFlow technology?
The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) manages OpenFlow technology. It is a non-profit organization that oversees the development and standardization of OpenFlow protocols and controllers.
An OpenFlow router is a powerful tool for managing network traffic in large network environments. Using SDN technology, it enables centralized control over traffic flow and provides greater flexibility, scalability, and security. As SDN technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see more widespread adoption of OpenFlow routers in enterprise and data center networks throughout the world.