Multi-controller Based Software-Defined Networking: A Survey

Tao Hu, Zehua Guo, Peng Yi, Thar Baker, Julong Lan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

148 Scopus citations


Software-defined networking (SDN) is a novel network paradigm that enables flexible management for networks. As the network size increases, the single centralized controller cannot meet the increasing demand for flow processing. Thus, the promising solution for SDN with large-scale networks is the multi-controller. In this paper, we present a compressive survey for multi-controller research in SDN. First, we introduce the overview of multi-controller, including the origin of multi-controller and its challenges. Then, we classify multi-controller research into four aspects (scalability, consistency, reliability, and load balancing) depending on the process of implementing the multi-controller. Finally, we propose some relevant research issues to deal with in the future and conclude the multi-controller research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15980-15996
Number of pages17
JournalIEEE Access
StatePublished - Mar 11 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by the Project of National Network Cyberspace Security under Grant 2017YFB0803204, in part by the National High-Tech Research and Development Program of China (863 Program) under Grant 2015AA016102, in part by the Foundation for Innovative Research Group of the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant 61521003, and in part by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant 61502530.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2013 IEEE.


  • Software-defined networking
  • consistency
  • load balancing
  • multi-controller
  • reliability
  • scalability


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