Leveraging Software-Defined Networking for QoS in home networks
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Home networks refer to devices at the edge of the internet. These networks face unique provisioning challenges. As the home network is growing and more complex devices are added, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) may struggle to fulfil the specific requirements of each home user. This study investigates the advantages of Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and proposes a way the ISP can leverage it to improve the Quality of Service (QoS) and monitor the traffic in home networks. The SDN controller offers the ISP a centralised point of control that can potentially manage multiple home networks via SDN-enabled devices. A comprehensive survey is conducted on existing work related to SDN implementations for home networks. It is found that most implementations require the home gateway router to be replaced with an SDN-enabled device. Scalability considerations are also rarely investigated. Based on these current shortcomings, an experimental setup that resembles a typical South African home network is designed and tested in the Mininet emulation environment. The Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) is used to identify the Ryu controller as the most suitable for the design, compared to six other open-source SDN controllers. Experiments with different network traffic types are quantitatively compared using four QoS parameters, namely throughput, jitter, packet loss and round-trip time. Two different use cases are compared with each other, first where QoS is not implemented and second where specified traffic is prioritised by the SDN controller. The SDN switch (Open vSwitch) is configured using Ryu's REST Application Programming Interface (API) and the OpenFlow protocol. A Graphical User Interface (GUI) application is developed (using the tkinter package in Python) to offer a simple and easy way for the ISP to configure their clients' networks. By using the statistics of queues installed on the SDN switch, the controller can monitor the network traffic of a home network. The scalability of this design is tested by emulating an increasing number of queues installed on OVS and measuring the amount of overhead traffic between the controller and switch while the controller is monitoring the home network. Other controller performance metrics such as Central Processing Unit (CPU) use, memory use, flow installation time, fragmentation of the statistics reply packets and the delay times of the reply packets are also investigated. The framework presented in this study forms a basis on which the ISP can build a platform to improve the QoS of their users' home networks.
- Engineering 
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