Bristol University to extend software-defined networking

Software defined networking (SDN) is the key to network convergence, claims the University of Bristol, part of a £12m consortium developing it.

Professor Dimitra Simeonidou

Professor Dimitra Simeonidou

The project, ‘Towards Ultimate Convergence of All Networks’ (‘Toucan’), involves a technology agnostic architecture that which will “facilitate optimal interconnection of any network technology domains, networked devices and data sets with high flexibility, resource and energy efficiency, and will aim to satisfy the full range of quality of service [QoS] and quality of experience [QoE] requirements”, said the University.

Toucan will add to SDN what Bristol describes as technology-specific interfacing and resource description followed by infrastructure resource abstraction, virtualisation and programmability.

Such a network, devices are programmable and interoperable.

“Toucan will revolutionise the way we build and operate communication networks in a similar way that computer networks and more recently mobile terminals were transformed from platform-oriented to platform-agnostic solutions, for example through Linux and Android, and will drive towards commoditisation of network devices,” said project lead Professor Dimitra Simeonidou.

“In that sense, Toucan will deliver a ‘network technology USB’ which will make any networked technology and device discoverable, describable and interoperable within any network infrastructure. Any new technology generation, regardless of whether it is wired or wireless, will connect to the Toucan network in a plug-and-play fashion.”

£6m over five years comes from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Project partners include: Professor Dimitra Simeonidou and Professor Mark Beach – University of Bristol; Professor Harald Haas – University of Edinburgh; Professor Steve McLaughlin – Heriot-Watt University; Professor David Hutchison – Lancaster University.


External consortium partners are: Bristol City Council, Broadcom UK, BT, Janet UK, NEC, Plextek, Samsung, and the Technology Strategy Board, who collectively are committing over £3.6m. Another £2.4m will be contributed by the participating institution through PhD studentships and research equipment funding.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *