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Unit of study_

ELEC5517: Software Defined Networks

Semester 2, 2023 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This unit of study will introduce an emerging networking paradigm- Software Defined Networks (SDNs). By separating the control logics from the physical networks, the software defined networks allow an automated and programmable software program to logically control and manage the network. This unit introduces the basic principles of software defined networks, its architecture, abstraction, SDN programming, programmable control plane and data plane protocols, network update, network virtualisation, traffic management as well as its applications and implementations. Student will learn and practice SDN programming, testing and debugging on SDNs platforms through experiments and group projects. It is assumed that the students have some knowledge on data communications and networks.

Unit details and rules

Unit code ELEC5517
Academic unit Electrical and Information Engineering
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge

ELEC3506 OR ELEC9506

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Dong Yuan,
Lecturer(s) Dong Yuan,
Tutor(s) Yanli Li,
Chenghao Zhang,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Supervised exam
Final exam
40% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO4 LO5 LO6
Assignment group assignment Project
See Canvas for more details.
50% Multiple weeks N/A
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Small test Mid semester test
Short answer questions
10% Week 08 1
Outcomes assessed: LO4 LO5 LO6
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment summary

  • Project report: Team report written up in formal report style which contributions self-assessed.
  • Mid-semester test: Closed book quiz style to test understanding of concepts.
  • Final exam: The final exam will cover all knowledge learnt in this unit.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

Generally 20% penalty marks per day. Special cases will be considered.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction to SDN Lecture (2 hr) LO5
Week 02 Networking Technologies Basics Lecture (2 hr) LO5
Lab 1 Computer laboratory (2 hr) LO5
Week 03 OpenFlow and Mininet Lecture (2 hr) LO4 LO5
Lab 2, Project 1 start Computer laboratory (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4
Week 04 Smart Switches Lecture (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5
Lab 3 Computer laboratory (2 hr) LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 05 Controllers Design Lecture (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Lab 4 Computer laboratory (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 06 Programmable Data Planes Lecture (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Lab 5 Computer laboratory (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 07 Network Virtualisation Lecture (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Lab 6 Computer laboratory (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 08 Network Function Virtualisation, Mid-term exam Lecture (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Project 1 due, Project 2 start Computer laboratory (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 09 SDN applications Lecture (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Lab 7 Computer laboratory (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 10 SDN in Datacenters Lecture (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Lab 8 Computer laboratory (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 11 SDN Security Lecture (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Lab 9 Computer laboratory (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 12 Advanced Topics Lecture (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Project Q&A Computer laboratory (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 13 Unit review Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Project Presentation and Demonstration Computer laboratory (2 hr) LO1 LO2

Attendance and class requirements

  • Study commitment: Students need to do some preparation for labs, revision knowledge learnt in lectures, searching information for designing their project. Students will also design and implement their project as assignment in their own time. Labs are devoted to hands on experience with popular SDN tools which will be used in students' projects.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed through the Library eReserve, available on Canvas.

  • Paul Goransson, Chuck Black, Software Defined Networks: A Comprehensive Approach (1st). MK, 2014. 978-0124166752.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. work collaboratively in a team with productive progress management and tasks assignment
  • LO2. write professional project reports and present the project in class
  • LO3. investigate new technologies by intensive literature review
  • LO4. develop an in-depth knowledge of SDN concept, system architecture, issues in practice
  • LO5. understand SDN technologies and structure of SDN systems, and design a prototype system in the project
  • LO6. use popular tools to model and implement an SDN system.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

The lecture contents have been changed taking student feedback into acount.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

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