Multicast routing model to minimize number of flow entries in software-defined network

Seiki Kotachi, Takehiro Sato, Ryoichi Shinkuma, Eiji Oki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The Software-defined network (SDN) uses a centralized SDN controller to store flow entries in the flow table of each SDN switch; the entries in the switch control packet flows. When a multicast service is provided in an SDN, the SDN controller stores a multicast entry dedicated for a multicast group in each SDN switch. Due to the limited capacity of each flow table, the number of flow entries required to set up a multicast tree must be suppressed. A conventional multicast routing scheme suppresses the number of multicast entries in one multicast tree by replacing some of them with unicast entries. However, since the conventional scheme individually determines a multicast tree for each request, unicast entries dedicated to the same receiver are distributed to various SDN switches if there are multiple multicast service requests. Therefore, further reduction in the number of flow entries is still possible. In this paper, we propose a multicast routing model for multiple multicast requests that minimizes the number of flow entries. This model determines multiple multicast trees simultaneously so that a unicast entry dedicated to the same receiver and stored in the same SDN switch is shared by multicast trees. We formulate the proposed model as an integer linear programming (ILP) problem. In addition, we develop a heuristic algorithm which can be used when the ILP problem cannot be solved in practical time. Numerical results show that the proposed model reduces the required number of flow entries compared to two benchmark models; the maximum reduction ratio is 49.3% when the number of multicast requests is 40.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-518
Number of pages12
JournalIEICE Transactions on Communications
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Flow entry
  • Integer linear programming
  • Multicast
  • SDN

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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