White box networking refers to the ability to use “generic,” off-the-shelf switches and routers within the forwarding plane of a software-defined network (SDN). Consider white box networking and switches as a “blank” standard that provides users with the foundational hardware element(s) of a network. A common operating system for white box switches is Linux-based, due to its high availability of free and open tools.
White box switches differ from traditional switches and routers in their lack of intelligence; while traditional switches and routers generate and maintain their own forwarding and routing tables, white box switches cannot do this. In SDN environments, applications on top of the SDN Controller offer this higher-level intelligence by using OpenFlow to dictate connection routes and tasks.
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