Telekinesis: Controlling legacy switch routing with OpenFlow in hybrid networks

Cheng Jin, Cristian Lumezanu, Qiang Xu, Zhi-Li Zhang, Guofei Jiang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

40 Scopus citations


Hybrid networks contain both legacy and programmable network switches and allow operators to reap the benefits of Software-defined networking (SDN) without upgrading the entire network. Previous research shows that adding SDN capabilities to switches at strategic places in a network and ensuring that each flow traverses at least one such switch is sufficient to achieve many SDN control paradigms, such as routing or access control. However, the control points are still limited to the SDN-enabled devices and operators cannot enforce fine-grained policies on the legacy paths between SDN switches. We present Telekinesis, a network controller that enables finergrained routing control over legacy paths in hybrid networks using OpenFlow. To update routing entries in legacy switches, we introduce a new flow control primitive, LegacyFlowMod. LegacyFlow- Mod uses OpenFlow's PacketOut function to send a special packet on a specific interface of a legacy switch and remotely manipulate the forwarding entry associated with the source of the packet. Using simulations on random network topologies with varying degrees of OpenFlow deployment, we show that Telekinesis can provide more diverse path control than an OpenFlow-only controller: even when only 20% of switches are OpenFlow-enabled, we can update 70% of the paths.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSymposium on Software Defined Networking (SDN) Research, SOSR 2015
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
ISBN (Electronic)9781450334518
StatePublished - Jun 17 2015
Event1st ACM SIGCOMM Symposium on Software Defined Networking Research, SOSR 2015 - Santa Clara, United States
Duration: Jun 17 2015Jun 18 2015

Publication series

NameSymposium on Software Defined Networking (SDN) Research, SOSR 2015


Other1st ACM SIGCOMM Symposium on Software Defined Networking Research, SOSR 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySanta Clara

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS We thank the anonymous reviews for their valuable feedback. The bulk of this work was conducted while the first author was an intern at NEC Laboratories America. This research was supported in part by NSF grants CNS-1017092, CNS-1117536 and CRI-1305237, a Raytheon/NSF subcontract 9500012169/CNS-1346688, DTRA grant HDTRA1-09-1-0050 and DoD ARO MURI Award W911NF-12-1-0385.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright 2015 ACM.


  • Hybrid SDN
  • Telekinesis


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