I've read this SDN paper that mainly discusses:

Malicious administrator problem, where a network administrator misconfigures a correctly functioning controller in a way that adversely affects network performance.

Kindly, can someone explain what is network configuration? Are firewalls and IDSs examples of such network configuration?

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Basically (simplified) an SDN controller allows an administrator to configure various settings on network devices (which may include switches, routers, firewalls, ... anything that has an appropriate northbound API/protocol that the controller can use).

So network configuration seems to refer to the sum of all these settings, as defined by the administrator. In other words 'network configuration' can consist of vlan names and numbers, port settings, forwarding rules and drop rules, etc.etc. What exactly is or is not part of the configuration depends on the actual controller being used, and what the API or SDN protocol (e.g. openflow) of the network devices supports.

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