In Pictures: Software-defined networking explained

Understand how SDN will change everything in 10 easy steps

Planes of operation The internal architecture of a network device has three planes of operation. The management plane handles external user interaction and administrative tasks like authentication, logging, and configuration via a Web interface or CLI. The control plane administers the internal device operations, providing the instructions used by the silicon engines to direct the packets. The control plane runs the routing and switching protocols and feeds operational data back to the management plane. The data plane is the engine room that moves packets through the device, using the forwarding table supplied by the control plane to determine the output port.

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