Prof. Dr. Christian Esteve Rothenberg
University of Campinas

Title: Software-Defined Wireless Networking (SDWN): From Theory to Practice with Mininet-WiFi


The purpose of this tutorial is to present Software-Defined Wireless Networking (SDWN) and provide a hands-on experience using the Mininet-WiFi emulator. SDWN is an emerging to wireless networks based on decoupling radio control functions (e.g. spectrum, mobility, and interference management) from the radio data plane using programmatic interfaces which can be leveraged by proprietary or open source automation tools.

Up until recently, realistic research on WiFi and the OpenFlow protocol required using open source firmware and OS solutions like OpenWRT that allows turning commodity wireless routers into OpenFlow-enabled switches. Like any real testbed, such approach is subject to challenges related to the costs and scale of the experiments, in addition to reproducibility constraints as well as high setup times.

In this tutorial, selective example emulated experiments will be explored, introducing and explaining key concepts and features as we go. As the tutorial unfolds, we will introduce the full  Mininet-WiFi documentation and provide pointers to source code for those interested in delving deeper into the workings of the system.

A few key points are worth noting at the onset:

Mininet-WiFi is

  1. open-source[1], based on mininet, the well-know emulator for Software-Defined Networks, and the project strives to maintain an open environment for researchers to contribute and share their projects.
  2. developed over the mac80211_hwsim, a software simulator of 802.11 radio(s) for mac80211[2] and support common wireless utilities, such as iw, iwconfig and others.


            This tutorial will be divided into four parts of 45 minutes:

  • 1st: Theory on SDWN and Mininet-WiFi emulator;

The concept of Software-Defined Wireless Networking will be presented along the role of Mininet-WiFi.

  • 2nd: Guided Mininet-WiFi exercises / demo;

Guided exercises will be explored and pointers to source code for those interested in delving deeper into the system architecture will be also provided. The pointers include stretches of the code where the link (including the latency) can be customized.

  • 3rd: Further hands-on exercises proposed to be carried by the attendees on their own and at their pace.

A number practical exercises will be proposed where mobility and/or distance (or poor signal) among mobile nodes may impact latency and bandwidth, consequently the communication between two nodes.

  • 4th: Programming the network with the OpenFlow protocol.

A practical challenge will be put out to the attendees and concepts along the OpenFlow protocol will come out.

Hands-on Labs 

Attendees using their laptops should have Oracle VirtualBox installed.

[1] code available at

[2] framework where driver developers can use to write drivers for SoftMAC wireless devices in Linux systems


Prof. Dr. Christian Esteve Rothenberg. Head of the INTRIG (Information & Networking Technologies Research & Innovation Group) acts as tenured Assistant Professor at the Department of Computer Engineering and Industrial Automation (DCA), of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (FEEC) at University of Campinas (UNICAMP). From 2010 to 2013, he worked as Senior Research Scientist in the areas of IP systems and networking at CPqD R&D Center in Telecommunications (Campinas, Brazil), where he was technical lead of R&D activities in the field of SDN such as the RouteFlow project, the OpenFlow 1.3 Ericsson/CPqD softswitch, or the libfluid ONF Driver. Christian holds the Telecommunication Engineering degree from the Technical University of Madrid (ETSIT – UPM), Spain, and the M.Sc. (Dipl. Ing.) degree in Electrical Engineering and Information Technology from the Darmstadt University of Technology (TUD), Germany, 2006. He is an Open Networking Foundation (ONF) Research Associate (since 2013) and co-chair of the IEEE SDN Outreach Committee initiative (since 2016). His research interests are embedded systems, computer and network architectures. Christian holds two international patents and over 90 publications, including scientific journals and top-tier networking conferences such as SIGCOMM and INFOCOM.