A Software-Defined Internet Exchange

Principal Investigator(s): 
Scott Shenker

In this collaborative project with researchers from Georgia Tech and Princeton, ICSI researchers are finding incrementally deployable ways to leverage the power of Software-Defined Networking (SDN) to improve interdomain routing. SDN has had a profound influence on how people think about managing networks. To date, however, it has had little impact on how separately administered networks are interconnected through BGP. Since many of the current failings of the Internet are due to BGP's poor performance and limited functionality, it is imperative that these methods are developted. In this project, researchers are exploiting the re-emergence of Internet eXchange Points (IXPs) to create Software-Defined eXchanges (SDXs). There are more than 300 IXPs worldwide today, and some support hundreds of customers and carry as much traffic as tier-1 ISPs. Moreover, IXPs are ideal venues for deploying new technology, as only the mechanisms used at that IXP itself need to be updated and the rest of the Internet can remain unchanged. Thus, individual IXPs can be transformed to SDXs and immediately provide benefits to the connected customers. While the SDX approach does involve deploying SDN technology at IXPs, the improvements being developed in this project require going far beyond merely dropping one or more OpenFlow-enabled switches at an IXP.