The Frenetic Programming Language and Runtime System
OCaml Python Other
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Welcome to Frenetic

Build Status

Frenetic is an open-source Software Defined Network (SDN) controller platform designed to make SDN programming easy, modular, and semantically correct.

The languages used to program networks today lack modern features. Programming them is a complicated and error-prone task, and outages and infiltrations are frequent. Frenetic is a network programming language with the following essential features:

  • High-level abstractions that give programmers direct control over the network, allowing them to specify what they want the network to do without worrying about how to implement it.
  • Modular constructs that facilitate compositional reasoning about programs.
  • Portability, allowing programs written for one platform to be reused with different devices.
  • Rigorous semantic foundations that precisely document the meaning of the language and provide a solid platform for mechanical program analysis tools.

You can build Frenetic-based network applications with:

  • Python
  • OCaml
  • REST and JSON (= any programming language!)

Getting Started


  1. Install VirtualBox from Use the latest version platform package appropriate for your system.
  2. From download the latest Frentic User VM – this file is about 2.8 GB and may take about 10 minutes or so to download.
  3. Import the .ova file into VirtualBox. This takes two minutes or so.

Hello SDN World

  1. Start up a terminal window - – two are provided in the VM under Accessories: Byobu Terminal (which integrates nicely with tmux) and LXTerminal (which has graphical tabs). Either one will do.
  2. Start up a Mininet sample network with a switch and 2 hosts:

    $ sudo mn --topo=single,2 --controller=remote
  3. Try pinging the host h2 from the host h1:

    mininet> h1 ping h2

    Unfortunately, the ping won't work because you don't have an SDN network program in place! Press CTRL-C to stop the pinging.

  4. Start up another terminal window and start up Frenetic:

    $ frenetic http-controller --verbosity debug
  5. In a third terminal window, start up the example program for the Python repeater:

    $ python -m frenetic.examples.repeater
  6. Now, back in the window running Mininet, the ping should now succeed:

    mininet> h1 ping h2

    Congratulations! You now have a working Software Defined Network.

Where to Go From Here


Frenetic is an open source project, and we encourage you to contribute!


See Frenetic Members and Support


Frenetic is released under the GNU Lesser Public License, version 3. Details