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We've always said that SDN Controllers are "Protocol-less", they don't need to know the packet's encoding to switch it or, controllers can be routed packets by the IP Address and the IP Address used to be encoded on the header of the packet.

So how does the controller extract the IP address from the header while it's protocol-less?

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We've always said that SDN Controllers are "Protocol-less", they don't need to know the packet's encoding to switch it. Or, controllers can route packets by the IP Address. And the IP Address used to be encoded on the header of the packet

You misunderstand the idea of "protocol-less." It means the controller doesn't run a routing protocol, since it has a full view of the topology. IP packets are still the same, and controllers use Openflow to communicate with its switches. That's how it learns addresses.

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