Project complete! SDN-based Internet eXchange Playground for networkers

How do network engineers and operators hone their skills?

Taking classes is one thing, but the things they learned need to be put to the test on an actual network. Practice makes perfect.
The problem is, if they do that on a real network, they risk causing all kinds of catastrophic problems. You can’t just play around with people’s Internet access to see what works – aside from interrupting Internet access, there are security considerations as well.

The answer, of course, is to practice with a simulator, and many network operators do exactly this – they run a simulator that is confined to just their computer. But this isn’t an ideal solution because Internet traffic can be unpredictable – it’s not just your actions that need to be factored in to the simulation. Ideally, you should be interacting with the real Internet, but operating a system which won’t cause problems if you make a mistake.

A recent University of Malaya project led by Teck Chaw Ling devised this kind of simulator – it is a virtual “playground” for practicing specific Internet exchange routing skills. The project received an ISIF Asia award in 2023, and the full technical report is now available on the Foundation site.