CCE Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Computing and Engineering


Inkyoung Hur

Committee Member

Ling Wang

Committee Member

Junping Sun


Software Defined Networking (SDN) is a new paradigm that has shown significant advantages and increased profit for the private network industry. Research and Educational Networks (RENs) started adopting SDN, but there is a lack of understanding of the factors persuading RENs to adopt SDN. The goal of this study is to examine how the perceived characteristics of the SDN technology factors (e.g., relative advantage, compatibility, testability, observability, complexity, and security) persuade RENs’ adoption of SDN. A research model was developed based on the Diffusion of Innovation theory.

The study used a positivist approach and gathered empirical data using a 7-point Likert scale survey instrument comprised of constructs extrapolated from previous literature. The survey was evaluated by an expert panel of subject matter experts in several rounds. Network engineers, executives, professors, and operational managers engaged in REN or SDN were invited to participate via email. Additionally, participants from an SDN & Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) specialized LinkedIn group were invited to participate in this study. Pre-analysis data screening was conducted on the data. The Partial Least Square Structural Equation Modeling (PLS-SEM) was used to analyze the data gathered from a total of 216 responses.

The results of this study showed relative advantage, compatibility, and observability have a significant positive effect on the adoption of SDN by RENs. Complexity of the SDN technology showed the hypothesized negative effect on the SDN adoption; however, the effect is considered insignificant. Testability and security in SDN implementation did not have significant positive effect on the adoption of SDN by RENs.

This study contributes to the body of knowledge in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and provides more information on decision making to implement SDN in newly formed RENs. This study is providing an SDN-RENs model which can help Global eXchange Point (GXP) operators to develop a common global infrastructure to support data-intensive collaborations by implementing Software Defined Exchange (SDX) points. An SDX can support network-aware applications, achieve end-to-end programmability and interconnect RENs with differences in speed, accessibility, and capacity to be organized in global infrastructure.