A Consistency Based Research: P4 Versus OpenFlow and the
Future of Software Deﬁned Networks
Ahmed Osama Basil1
1Faculty of Art, Science and Technology
University of Northampton
May 8, 2019
Software-Deﬁned Networks (SDN) technology has the ability to edit a network’s ability to function,
making its uses valuable for on-demand applications for today’s consumers and businesses. SDN
can enhance a network in multiple ways, since it unlocks critical intelligence, help deliver newly
designed services and analytic speciﬁcally for the needed party. The functionality of giving the
network administrators a full overview of the entire network architecture is essential for future network
debugging and/or develop a valuable and secure modal for the best quality of experience (QoE)
requested. We aim to discuss the ability of P4-language its uses on SDN and why it should be
adapted and used in programming network modals and architectures. Re-conﬁgurability, protocol
independence, and target independence are the main aims of this language making it a highly desired
competitor to OpenFlow. P4 shows a diﬀerent value proposition, nonetheless OpenFlow agents may
be written on top of P4, thus great P4 implementations may force OpenFlow into being obsolete.
Broadcom SDK along with OpenNSL will also be aﬀected by the new rise of P4, since P4 may
write a much better API on top of Broadcom SDK. P4 use cases that will be researched include; (i)
P4Runtime which is being highly used in the world of SDN controllers and white box solutions. (ii) In-
band Network Telemetry which is a framework designed to allow collection and reporting of network
state by the data plane. (iii) Behavioral Model, where a P4 software switch allows compiling and
running switch simulations to develop new features (virtually). All the following will be researched,
tested and constructed in-order to develop a useful P4 plug and play test-bed. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].
Keywords— SDN, QoS, QoE, fairness, Openﬂow, P4, Broadcom SDK, OpenNSL
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