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ELEC5517: Software Defined Networks (2020 - Semester 2)

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Unit: ELEC5517: Software Defined Networks (6 CP)
Mode: Normal-Day
On Offer: Yes
Level: Postgraduate
Faculty/School: School of Electrical & Information Engineering
Unit Coordinator/s: Dr Yuan, Dong
Session options: Semester 2
Versions for this Unit:
Campus: Camperdown/Darlington
Pre-Requisites: None.
Brief Handbook Description: This unit of study will introduce an emerging networking paradigm- Software Defined Networks (SDNs). By separating the control logics from the physical networks, the software defined networks allow an automated and programmable software program to logically control and manage the network. This unit introduces the basic principles of software defined networks, its architecture, abstraction, SDN programming, programmable control plane and data plane protocols, network update, network virtualisation, traffic management as well as its applications and implementations. Student will learn and practice SDN programming, testing and debugging on SDNs platforms through experiments and group projects. It is assumed that the students have some knowledge on data communications and networks.
Assumed Knowledge: ELEC3506 OR ELEC9506.
Lecturer/s: Dr Yuan, Dong
Timetable: ELEC5517 Timetable
Time Commitment:
# Activity Name Hours per Week Sessions per Week Weeks per Semester
1 Lecture 2.00 1 13
2 Laboratory 2.00 1 12
3 Project Work - own time 2.00 1 12
4 Independent Study 4.00 13
T&L Activities: Independent Study: Students need to do some preparation for labs, revision knowledge learnt in lectures, searching information for designing their project.

Project Work - own time: Students will design and implement their project as assignment.

Laboratory: Labs are devoted to hands on experience with popular SDN tools which will be used in students' projects.

Learning outcomes are the key abilities and knowledge that will be assessed in this unit. They are listed according to the course goal supported by each. See Assessment Tab for details how each outcome is assessed.

Unassigned Outcomes
1. Work collaboratively in a team with productive progress management and tasks assignment.
2. Write professional project reports and present the project in the class.
3. Students gain the ability to investigate new technologies by intensive literature review.
4. In-depth knowledge of SDN concept, system architecture, issues in practice.
5. Understand SDN technologies and structure of SDN systems, and design a prototype system in the project.
6. Use popular tools to model and implement a SDN system.
Assessment Methods:
# Name Group Weight Due Week Outcomes
1 Project Yes 50.00 Multiple Weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
2 Mid Semester Test No 10.00 Week 7 4, 5, 6,
3 Final Exam No 40.00 Exam Period 4, 5, 6,
Assessment Description: Project Report: Team report written up in formal report style which contributions self-assessed.

Mid-semester Exam: Closed book quiz style to test understanding of concepts.

Final Exam: The final exam will cover all knowledge learnt in this unit.
Grade Type Description
Standards Based Assessment Final grades in this unit are awarded at levels of HD for High Distinction, DI (previously D) for Distinction, CR for Credit, PS (previously P) for Pass and FA (previously F) for Fail as defined by University of Sydney Assessment Policy. Details of the Assessment Policy are available on the Policies website at . Standards for grades in individual assessment tasks and the summative method for obtaining a final mark in the unit will be set out in a marking guide supplied by the unit coordinator.
Policies & Procedures: See the policies page of the faculty website at for information regarding university policies and local provisions and procedures within the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies.
Prescribed Text/s: Note: Students are expected to have a personal copy of all books listed.
Recommended Reference/s: Note: References are provided for guidance purposes only. Students are advised to consult these books in the university library. Purchase is not required.
  • SDN: Software Defined Networks

Note that the "Weeks" referred to in this Schedule are those of the official university semester calendar

Week Description
Week 1 Introduction to SDN, including fundamental concepts, key trends and terms, enabling technologies, challenges and opportunities.
Week 2 Enabling Technologies in SDN, including exploring the current state of the OpenFlow model and centralized network control.
Week 3 Architecture of SDN, including traditional networking architecture, the concept of network as a service, SDN architecture elements and design patterns.
Week 4 Delve into distributed and central control, including data plane generation. Examine the structure and capabilities of commercial and open source controllers.
Week 5 Survey the available technologies for network programmability. Trace the modern data center from desktop-centric to highly distributed models.
Week 6 Discuss new ways to connect instances of network-function virtualization and service chaining, and detailed information on constructing and maintaining an SDN network topology.
Week 7 Examine an idealized SDN framework for controllers, applications, and ecosystems.
Assessment Due: Mid Semester Test
Week 8 Security issues in SDN, including typical networking issues, network attacks, existing security solutions, advantages and challenges of security in SDN.
Week 9 Performance and scalability issues in SDN, including analysis of performance bottlenecks in SDN, new hardware, new service oriented network architecture.
Week 10 Cost issues for businesses in implementing SDN, including potential benefits, as well as the risks, in shifting parts of a network to the SDN model.
Week 11 Research in SDN, topic 1.
Week 12 Research in SDN, topic 2.
Week 13 Unit review.
Exam Period Assessment Due: Final Exam

Course Relations

The following is a list of courses which have added this Unit to their structure.

Course Year(s) Offered
Electrical Mid-Year 2018, 2019, 2020, 2016, 2017
Electrical/ Project Management 2019, 2020
Electrical 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2016
Electrical / Arts 2019, 2020, 2016, 2017, 2018
Electrical / Commerce 2019, 2020, 2016, 2017, 2018
Electrical / Project Management 2018, 2020, 2016, 2017
Electrical / Science 2019, 2020, 2016, 2017, 2018
Electrical/Science (Health) 2019, 2020, 2018
Electrical / Law 2019, 2020, 2016, 2017, 2018
Software Mid-Year 2017, 2019, 2020
Software/ Project Management 2019, 2020
Software 2017, 2019, 2020
Software / Arts 2019, 2020
Software / Commerce 2019, 2020
Software / Project Management 2018
Software / Science 2019, 2020
Software/Science (Health) 2019, 2020
Software / Law 2019, 2020
Electrical/Science (Medical Science Stream) 2019, 2020, 2018
Graduate Certificate in Information Technology 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Graduate Diploma in Information Technology 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Master of Engineering 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Master of Information Technology 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Master of IT/Master of IT Management 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Master of Professional Engineering (Accelerated) (Electrical) 2019, 2020
Master of Professional Engineering (Accelerated) (Intelligent Information Engineering) 2020
Master of Professional Engineering (Accelerated) (Software) 2019, 2020
Master of Professional Engineering (Accelerated) (Telecommunications) 2019, 2020
Master of Professional Engineering (Electrical) 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Master of Professional Engineering (Intelligent Information Engineering) 2020
Master of Professional Engineering (Software) 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Master of Professional Engineering (Telecommunications) 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Software/Science (Medical Science Stream) 2019, 2020
Electrical / Medical Science 2016, 2017
Electrical / Music Studies 2016, 2017

Course Goals

This unit contributes to the achievement of the following course goals:

Attribute Practiced Assessed
(6) Communication and Inquiry/ Research (Level 4) No 0%
(7) Project and Team Skills (Level 3) No 0%
(8) Professional Effectiveness and Ethical Conduct (Level 2) No 0%
(5) Interdisciplinary, Inclusiveness, Influence (Level 4) No 0%
(4) Design (Level 4) No 0%
(2) Engineering/ IT Specialisation (Level 4) No 0%
(3) Problem Solving and Inventiveness (Level 4) No 0%
(1) Maths/ Science Methods and Tools (Level 4) No 0%

These goals are selected from Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table 2018 which defines overall goals for courses where this unit is primarily offered. See Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table 2018 for details of the attributes and levels to be developed in the course as a whole. Percentage figures alongside each course goal provide a rough indication of their relative weighting in assessment for this unit. Note that not all goals are necessarily part of assessment. Some may be more about practice activity. See Learning outcomes for details of what is assessed in relation to each goal and Assessment for details of how the outcome is assessed. See Attributes for details of practice provided for each goal.