8 Open Networking Terms To Know

Open networking is all the rage, but it covers a lot of ground. Get familiar with some of the basic terminology so you're not left in the dark.

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When you talk to people about the concept of "open networking," you're likely to get blank stares. Are you referring to network virtualization, software-defined networking (SDN), OpenFlow, or something completely different? Open networking is a very generic term that covers a great deal of territory.

For the most part, open networking has to do with SDN and virtualization technologies that are open source in nature. There are a few different organizations that revolve around open networking and help to build a forum where anyone interested in SDN can take part in the creation of open source protocols that facilitate the SDN architecture.

One organization -- the Open Networking Foundation -- took the approach of developing a new SDN protocol from the ground up. Compatible network switches could run this open source software on bare-metal hardware as opposed to proprietary software, which is often the case in traditional network environments today.

Another open networking group -- the European Telcommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) -- aimed to create open networking software that ran on top of proprietary hardware/software. That way, the entire network could be configured with an overlay network and hardware did not have to be replaced.

On the following pages, we'll discuss these organizations and point out common open networking terms that are frequently used in these types of discussions. Our goal is to get you familiar with the terminology to the point where you can carry on a conversation about open networking in general without getting confused by the topic.

And once you've read through the slides, let us know whether this helped to clarify the scope of open networking. Hopefully, together, we'll be able to sort out what does and does not fall under the category of open networking.

(Image: Geralt/Pixabay)

About the Author(s)

Andrew Froehlich, President, West Gate Networks

President, West Gate Networks

As a highly experienced network architect and trusted IT consultant with worldwide contacts, particularly in the United States and Southeast Asia, Andrew Froehlich has nearly two decades of experience and possesses multiple industry certifications in the field of enterprise networking. Froehlich has participated in the design and maintenance of networks for State Farm Insurance, United Airlines, Chicago-area schools and the University of Chicago Medical Center. He is the founder and president of Loveland, Colo.-based West Gate Networks, which specializes in enterprise network architectures and data center build outs. The author of two Cisco certification study guides published by Sybex, he is a regular contributor to multiple enterprise IT related websites and trade journals with insights into rapidly changing developments in the IT industry.

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