Infonetics NA Survey: Use Cases & Motivation for SDN Campus LAN Deployment

Infonetics Research, now part of IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS), conducted in-depth surveys with businesses in the U.S. and Canada about the enterprise LAN Software Defined Networking (SDN) market and found that 72% of respondents plan to have campus LAN SDN in live production by the end of 2017.

Infonetics interviewed IT purchase-decision makers at medium and large organizations for its latest study, Campus LAN SDN Strategies: North American Enterprise Survey, which examines how the local area network will evolve with SDN.  In this client note, Infonetics identifies early uses of SDN in the campus LANs.

A SDN Campus LAN can take the form of an abstracted control plane with a centralized policy “engine.”

·         In some use cases the WiFi-controller evolves to be an SDN controller – controlling wired and wireless networks, OpenFlow or restful APIs to the network elements are used.

·         In some cases, the network management software evolves to be an SDN controller using OpenFlow or RESTful APIs southbound (from Control plane down to Data plane), and providing programmable APIs northbound (Control plane to applications).

Infonetics found the main campus LAN use case is multi-tenancy—the separation of different groups or departments, usually including some sort of security (Kanazawa University Hospital, Ballarat Grammar school). Multitenancy is also a use case for the enterprise DC examples (Fidelity, Golman Sachs, Nippon Express).


When asked about barriers to deploying SDN, respondents most often cited interoperability with existing network equipment/management systems, lack of in-house SDN skills and potential network interruptions.    SDN-capable applications for the campus LAN represent one of the biggest opportunities for third-party SDN, existing virtualization and open source vendors, though existing network vendors are still contenders.    Survey respondents most often identified Cisco, HP, Juniper, Microsoft and VMware (in alphabetical order) as the top SDN vendors.

“Expectations for software-defined networking in the campus LAN are clear. Businesses taking part in our study want SDN to provide operational cost savings by integrating with existing networks, delivering better security, simplifying management and improving application performance. And they want all this without network interruptions,” said Cliff Grossner, Ph.D., Infonetics’ research director for data center, cloud and SDN.

“Enterprises’ top use cases for LAN SDN are focused on automation for provisioning, wired and wireless LAN unification, BYOD, and improved security enforcement at the network access point,” Grossner added. Other top use cases include: applications visibility, optimize network performance and traffic flow, and centralized network management.

Here are the top reasons survey respondents cited for deploying SDN in the campus LAN:



For its Infonetics’ 25-page Campus LAN SDN strategies survey, Infonetics interviewed businesses in North America about their views on how the enterprise LAN SDN market will evolve to help vendors determine how to invest in product development and position their products in the marketplace. The study provides insights into respondents’ plans to implement SDN, including deployment drivers and barriers, rollout plans, applications, use cases, vendors installed and under evaluation, top-rated vendors, and more.

To purchase the report:

More info at:

End Note:

Cliff wrote in an email, “No doubt, the Data Center Ethernet switching market is in transformation and the traditional vendors need to set  new strategies to succeed.”

In the coming weeks, this author will interview Cliff Grossner and post a summary here or at