Computing students learn about the future of networking from Hewlett-Packard

Date 23.03.2016

Computing students from the School of Science and Technology had the opportunity to hear from the Senior Product Manager of Hewlett-Packard about the future of computer networking.

In a two-hour lecture Bruno Hareng explained the limitation that IT professionals face with the current distributed architecture used by networks today and how Software Defined Networking (SDN) can make networks more agile and secure.  Defined as cutting edge technology, SDN allows network administrators to manage network services through abstraction of higher-level functionality. The School of Science and Technology has recently received HEFCE funding to purchase the latest Hewlett-Packard SDN lab equipment for teaching purposes and Northampton is one of only three universities to have such facilities.

Dr Ali Al-Sherbaz, Senior Lecturer in Computing at the University of Northampton, commented: “It was a great opportunity for both our students and staff to listen to Bruno Hareng talk about SDN, as some of our research students and staff are working in this area and we are planning to establish a larger research team in the future. They were able to discuss several technical issues regarding teaching and research, which will help to improve our students’ learning experience and employability too.”

Dr Mu Mu, Lecturer in Computing, said: “The talk covers the origins of SDN and OpenFlow (a widely adopted SDN specification), key research and development milestones in academia and industry in the last ten years, and the most recent use cases of SDN in education and enterprise networks. Bruno concluded the talk with a vision of the future networking research, a collaborative effort between academia, service providers, and vendors. Through this talk, students had a first-hand tutorial of emerging network technologies from one of the pioneers in this field. The post-talk Q&A was also centred around the education of future network designers, engineers and architects. We touched on plans to evolve our curriculum, emphasising topics such as: design and prototyping of distributed systems, a great knowledge of network virtualisation, the ability to think outside the box with a solid understanding of the software development process.”

Ameer Al-Sadi , a PhD student whose research focus is on utilising SDN in smart cities, commented:  “This was a great opportunity to meet Bruno Hareng personally and discuss several technical issues with him. Having an SDN lab will open the gate; not only for research, but for teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate students this latest technology, which will have a huge impact on our future careers.”