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Vertical Handoff with OpenFlow


This tutorial is designed to give an insight into how OpenFlow can be used to conduct network experiments. As background, a vertical handoff is the (ideally seamless) migration of a network connection from one network interface to another of a different technology. An example might be your cell phone transitioning from a WiFi to a 4G connection while streaming a video. Vertical handoffs are traditionally handled by the network infrastructure, leaving providing little-to-no control of the handoff execution at the client. Clemson University and the University of Wisconsin have partnered to develop and test a client-initiated and controlled vertical handoff. This project is being done using GENI resources -- namely Clemson's GENI WiFi and WiMAX testbeds. Further development is also planned in GENI's Orbit testbed at Rutgers.

This vertical handoff project is being developed on physical machines; however, for the purpose of this tutorial, our development environment has been ported to a virtual machine (VM) so all can participate without regard the the unique hardware capabilities of each participant. This tutorial will walk you through how to perform a Layer-2 (L2) handoff using OpenFlow within a virtual machine. As you will discover, because this solution is dependent only on Linux network interface handles, you can apply it to any interface on a physical host. The VM provided has two host-only interfaces and one interface tied to a physical adapter on the host machine. The host-only interfaces communicate with the VMware tap interface added by VMware to the host machine. In this tutorial, we will demonstrate how to run our handoff solution between these host-only interfaces.



  • Computer with 2G RAM or higher (recommended)
  • Windows (turnoff firewall); Mac/Linux (root at terminal)
  • VM image (link to Clemson Box account)
  • Familiarity with SSH, Linux terminal, Bash and Python scripting
  • Basic networking and OpenFlow background


Where to get Help:


Tutorial Instructions

  • Part I: Design/Setup
    • Step 1: Design Experiment
    • Step 2: Establish Management Environment
    • Step 3: Obtain Resources
  • Part II: Execute
    • Step 4: Configure and Initialize Services
    • Step 5: Execute Experiment
    • Step 6: Analyze and Visualize Experiment

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