Launch of the first postgraduate program on Network Functions Virtualization technologies (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN)

25 June 2015

The research institute IMDEA Networks is launching postgraduate courses sponsored by Ericsson and in collaboration with the University Carlos III of Madrid for the academic year 2015-16 in two of the most revolutionary technologies in the ICT sector: network functions virtualization and software defined networks.


Information and communications technology (ICT) is a field of research and innovation in constant development and a key factor of economic growth. There are therefore great hopes put on ICT to provide solutions to the challenges posed by the networked society. However, leading companies in the industry warn of a current and future shortage of skilled and internationally oriented talents to nurture the needs of this industry. The research institute IMDEA Networks, sponsored by Ericsson and in collaboration with the University Carlos III of Madrid (UC3M), is launching postgraduate courses in two of the most revolutionary technologies in this sector: Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN), both of which have a leading role to play in future 5G networks.

This initiative is thus responding to industry demand for qualified professionals to face a change already under way in the production and operational paradigm, which requires knowledge not yet taught in today's university degrees in Telecommunications, Telematics and Informatics, or in any other official certificate worldwide. SDN technology has already undergone about ten years of experimentation and market deployment, but NFV just two, which explains the absence of official academic programs. The combination of both technologies involves a level of knowledge with a sufficient degree of complexity to encourage the creation and predict the success of postgraduate courses in this area.

The current specialist labor market requires professionals in constant evolution and training, with a high degree of adaptability in a changing technological environment in the short and long term. It is indeed this competence and preparation of the labor force that largely determines the success of a technological company, since its capacity for innovation will depend largely on the technical training of its employees.

With this initiative IMDEA Networks enters the European higher education area, as well as meeting its goal of transmitting know-how directly to the productive sector. In this way IMDEA Networks is contributing to improve its competitiveness and fostering its innovative capacity. IMDEA Networks’ collaboration with Ericsson in this area is a further example of the vanguard role the Madrid research institute is playing in the development of solutions, architectures, technologies and standards needed to create the ICT infrastructure and intelligent communication networks that will define the future in the global competition for technological leadership.

An innovative postgraduate program: Specialist and Master in NFV/SDN

This postgraduate offer consists of Specialist and Master degrees in SDN and NFV, requiring enrolment in a one or a two-year course respectively, both starting in autumn 2015. These studies offer advanced training in NFV and SDN technologies that will qualify professionals to apply this acquired knowledge to the design and operation of new telecommunications networks and to lead the evolution and innovation in these areas.

Course contents have been drawn up by leading experts from the scientific, research, business and academic fields, who have contributed their knowledge of the latest trends in the ICT market. Furthermore, in order to enrich their learning and promote a successful transition of the acquired knowledge, both for those students originating from the active workforce and those who seek their entry into employment, IMDEA Networks offers practical training by means of student participation in some of its research projects on these technologies.

Theoretical knowledge and practical skills divided equally will be taught by faculty composed of highly qualified professionals with experience in SDN and NFV stemming from IMDEA Networks, Ericsson, UC3M and other companies and academic organizations. This is to ensure that students benefit from job skills that will enable them to design network elements and services that leverage this paradigm, to plan and operate networks based on NFV and SDN technologies, to evolve existing networks and products to the new network virtualization paradigm, and to differentiate the areas of application of the various technologies that are explained in both courses.

In the case of the Specialist degree, the aim is that the student becomes familiar with the technologies of network virtualization, network orchestration and data center networks, which are fundamental to the understanding of NFV and SDN technologies. As well as that the student would acquire detailed knowledge of NFV and SDN through significant practical training. In the case of the Master degree, in addition to the objectives of the Specialist degree, the student is expected to gain advanced knowledge on various aspects of software-based networks – including security, operation and management -, to learn the new business models that enable these technologies, and to delve into their practical application through real use cases, in advanced laboratories. To complete the practical learning each student will be required to submit a final project where NFV and SDN technologies are to be applied to resolve a specific problem.

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Source(s): IMDEA Networks Institute
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