ARP-P4: deep analysis of a hybrid SDN ARP-Path/P4Runtime switch


The Software-Defined Networking (SDN) architecture decouples the control plane from the data plane, but it does not explicitly state where the control should be located. This article analyses the benefits of maintaining the control as close as possible to the data plane, instead of the more traditional centralised control plane approach. To this purpose, it delves into the study of ARP-P4, a hybrid software switch defined by using the P4 language to facilitate its future use and deployment in P4 targets. Its hybrid properties come from supporting two complementary different ways of establishing paths: a centralised SDN approach based on P4-Runtime and a traditional distributed approach based on the ARP-Path protocol that obtains a similar performance to centralised solutions based on Equal Cost Multi-Path (ECMP) and Dijkstra. The results show the feasibility of hybrid devices that combine different forwarding paradigms without losing performance with respect to well-known solutions such as ECMP, and how their combined use can lead to enhance and scale communication networks.

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This work was funded by Grants from Comunidad de Madrid through Projects TIGRE5-CM (S2013/ICE-2919) and TAPIR-CM (S2018/TCS-4496), and by the University of Alcala through the Grants “Formacion del Profesorado Universitario (FPU)” and “Ayuda de Iniciación en la Actividad Investigadora“ and the Project CCGP2018-EXP/076.

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Correspondence to Isaias Martinez-Yelmo.

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Martinez-Yelmo, I., Alvarez-Horcajo, J., Briso-Montiano, M. et al. ARP-P4: deep analysis of a hybrid SDN ARP-Path/P4Runtime switch. Telecommun Syst 72, 555–565 (2019).

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  • P4
  • P4 Runtime
  • SDN
  • Hybrid SDN