Unicast QoS Routing Algorithms for SDN: A Comprehensive Survey and Performance Evaluation

Jochen W. Guck, Amaury Van Bemten, Martin Reisslein, Wolfgang Kellerer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


A variety of communication networks, such as industrial communication systems, have to provide strict delay guarantees to the carried flows. Fast and close to optimal quality of service (QoS) routing algorithms, e.g., delay-constrained least-cost (DCLC) routing algorithms, are required for routing flows in such networks with strict delay requirements. The emerging software-defined networking (SDN) paradigm centralizes the network control in SDN controllers that can centrally execute QoS routing algorithms. A wide range of QoS routing algorithms have been proposed in the literature and examined in individual studies. However, a comprehensive evaluation framework and quantitative comparison of QoS routing algorithms that can serve as a basis for selecting and further advancing QoS routing in SDN networks is missing in the literature. This makes it difficult to select the most appropriate QoS routing algorithm for a particular use case, e.g., for SDN controlled industrial communications. We close this gap in the literature by conducting a comprehensive up-to-date survey of centralized QoS routing algorithms. We introduce a novel four-dimensional (4D) evaluation framework for QoS routing algorithms, whereby the 4D correspond to the type of topology, two forms of scalability of a topology, and the tightness of the delay constraint. We implemented 26 selected DCLC algorithms and compared their runtime and cost inefficiency within the 4D evaluation framework. While the main conclusion of this evaluation is that the best algorithm depends on the specific sub-space of the 4D space that is targeted, we identify two algorithms, namely Lagrange relaxation-based aggregated cost (LARAC) and search space reduction delay-cost-constrained routing (SSR+DCCR), that perform very well in most of the 4D evaluation space.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-418
Number of pages31
JournalIEEE Communications Surveys and Tutorials
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Delay-constrained least-cost (DCLC) routing
  • performance evaluation framework
  • quality of service (QoS)
  • scalability
  • software-defined networking (SDN)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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