Photonic Network Communications

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 4–18 | Cite as

Software-defined optical networks (SDONs): a survey

  • Partha Bhaumik
  • Shuqiang Zhang
  • Pulak Chowdhury
  • Sang-Soo Lee
  • Jong Hyun Lee
  • Biswanath Mukherjee


This paper gives an overview of software-defined optical networks (SDONs). It explains the general concepts on software-defined networks (SDNs), their relationship with network function virtualization, and also about OpenFlow, which is a pioneer protocol for SDNs. It then explains the benefits and challenges of extending SDNs to multilayer optical networks, including flexible grid and elastic optical networks, and how it compares to generalized multi-protocol label switching for implementing a unified control plane. An overview on the industry and research efforts on SDON standardization and implementation is given next, to bring the reader up to speed with the current state of the art in this field. Finally, the paper outlines the benefits achieved by SDONs for network operators, and also some of the important and relevant research problems that need to be addressed.


Software-defined networking Optical networks Flexible grid Elastic rates GMPLS Network function virtualization (NFV) Unified control plane (UCP) 



This research was supported by the Electronics and Telecommunication Research Institute (ETRI), Korea (Core Technology for Next-Generation Optical Access Network Project).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Partha Bhaumik
    • 1
  • Shuqiang Zhang
    • 1
  • Pulak Chowdhury
    • 1
  • Sang-Soo Lee
    • 2
  • Jong Hyun Lee
    • 2
  • Biswanath Mukherjee
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA
  2. 2.Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI)TaejonKorea

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