Skip to content
KaruroChori edited this page Oct 1, 2022 · 396 revisions

(This page is also reachable via

Please add helpful Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and high-quality answers (HQAs) below.

Before you send a question to mininet-discuss, make sure your question isn't already in the FAQ – and if you see a question asked repeatedly on the mailing list, feel free to add the question and its answer to this FAQ!

Since github wiki markdown doesn't automatically generate a Table of Contents, please follow the existing format and add 1) an anchor for your question and 2) a link to it at the top of the page. Thanks!

Start Here

VM and Installation Questions

Using Mininet

OpenFlow Questions


Mailing List

Advice for the Desperate and/or Clueless!

How can I get started with Mininet?

Quick answer: Follow the steps on our Documentation page!

The best way to get started with Mininet is to install our ready-to-run virtual machine image as per our Download instructions, then go through the Walkthrough, and then continue with the other steps on our Documentation page. You may find the Introduction to Mininet and the OpenFlow tutorial to be particularly useful in helping you to understand and use Mininet and OpenFlow/Software-Defined Networking, respectively.

What is the login/password for the Mininet VM?

For Mininet 2.0.0 and newer, it is:

mininet-vm login: mininet
Password: mininet

On some older VMs it was openflow/openflow.

Why can't I get X11 forwarding to work? I get cannot open display: or $DISPLAY not set, and wireshark doesn't work! xterm doesn't work either!

This is not a Mininet problem. It means that X11 forwarding is not set up correctly. First, consult the X11 setup instructions in the OpenFlow Tutorial, including:

  • Download X11
  • Install X11
  • Start up X11 server
  • Access VM via ssh

Make sure you have carefully followed the necessary steps. If things are still not working for you, you will want to make sure that:

  1. Your X11 server on your client machine (e.g. your laptop) is installed correctly and is actually running
  2. You are connecting via ssh using X11 forwarding (e.g. ssh -X on OS X/Linux or enabling X11 forwarding in a Windows ssh client like PuTTY or SecureCRT.)
  3. You don't have any options in your client .ssh/config which interfere with X11 forwarding

When you log in with ssh, your $DISPLAY environment variable is set X11 terminology is a bit confusing because the X11 server is actually run on the ssh client machine! The ssh client connects to the sshd server, which in turn forwards connections from X11 client applications (such as wireshark) to the local X11 server (usually running on your laptop or whatever machine is sitting in front of you.)

Things that may break X11 forwarding

One note: if you have disabled IPv6, you may find that you need to add AddressFamily inet to your /etc/ssh/sshd_config.

Other unlikely causes of breaking X11 forwarding include it being disabled in /etc/sshd_config or disabled by SELinux. Neither of these should be the case in the Mininet VM image we provide. You may wish to invoke debug logging on your ssh client to see why X11 forwarding isn't working. On OS X and Linux, you can use

ssh -X -v <VM's IP address>

to see where the X11 forwarding is failing.

By default ssh -X times out after a while - you may prefer ssh -Y for that reason, although it is less secure.

X11 forwarding and sudo (wrong authentication error)

If you are using X11 forwarding with ssh, you may get X11 connection rejected because of wrong authentication. This issue can be averted using sudo HOME=~ or sudo -E instead of sudo.

For example:

sudo HOME=~ xterm


sudo -E xterm

should work with ssh's X11 forwarding.

X11 Forwarding and Alternatives

There is a wealth of information on the internet explaining how to set up X11 forwarding correctly on any platform. This is easily found using Google or the search engine of your choice.

As an alternative to X11, you could also use VNC, but that is probably about as complicated as X11 and is left as an exercise to the reader.

If this seems too complicated, you can simply run X11 in the VM console window as described below!

X11 forwarding is too hard! Can't I just run a GUI in my VM console window?

Yes, you can!

First, log in to the VM in its console window (i.e. type directly into the VM window without using ssh) and make sure apt is up to date:

sudo apt-get update

Then, install the desktop environment of your choice.

sudo apt-get install xinit x11-xserver-utils <environment>

where <environment> is your GUI environment of choice. Some options:

  • flwm lxterminal: compact and very basic (some would say primitive) window environment, along with the lxterminal terminal emulator
  • lxde: a reasonably compact and and efficient desktop environment
  • ubuntu-desktop: the full, heavyweight, and slow Ubuntu Unity desktop environment

If you installed lxde or ubuntu-desktop, reboot to start the graphical login manager.

If you installed flwm, you can start the windowing environment from the command line:

startx flwm

If you are running VirtualBox, you will want to install the VirtualBox Guest Additions using

sudo apt-get install virtualbox-guest-x11

You may need to reboot the VM and/or restart the GUI environment.

Can I run a GUI/X11 application within a Mininet host?

Yes, you can do so from a host xterm with the current version of Mininet.

This allows you to run programs like wireshark or firefox. You might want to su to another user (e.g. mininet) to avoid running FireFox with root privileges, but it probably doesn't make a fundamental difference in a Mininet VM that is configured for password-less sudo.

The CLI xterm command actually sets up an X11 tunnel which you can continue to use, e.g.

mininet> xterm h1
mininet> h1 wireshark &

You can also use the x command to set up the X11 tunnel (and optionally run an X program):

mininet> x h1 xclock &
mininet> x h2
mininet> h2 wireshark &

What about Mininet 2.0.0?

(Thanks to Murphy McCauley for providing the following workaround, which craftily uses the switch's CPU port!)

This is a bit of a hack at this moment but it works!

Using a graphical browser requires that you get X11 traffic out of your Mininet host namespace and into the environment where you actually have an X display.

Say the X display is the host environment with IP address of and the Mininet VM has an IP of

In short, run sshd inside Mininet's h1. Then SSH from the host environment ( to the Mininet VM ( with X forwarding (ssh -Y mininet@ Then SSH from the Mininet VM into h1 with X forwarding (again!).

As an example, open three terminals in the host environment (Term1, Term2, Term3)

On Term1:

./ forwarding.l2_learning # Run an OpenFlow controller

On Term2:

ssh -Y mininet@ # SSH into the Mininet VM with X forwarding
sudo mn --topo=linear,2 --mac --controller=remote,ip=
h1 /usr/sbin/sshd # From the mininet> prompt, run sshd inside the h1 namespace

On Term3:

ssh -Y mininet@ # SSH into the Mininet VM with X forwarding
sudo ifconfig s1 # Give the internal adapter for s1 an address #By default, all hosts live on space. 
ssh -Y mininet@ # SSH into the Mininet h1 namespace with X forwarding
xeyes # Run any X app

How do I run Linux programs on my Mininet hosts?

If you are asking this question, it means you haven't yet consulted the Documentation. :(

If you are incredibly lazy, please at least look at the Sample Workflow.

How do I figure out the command-line options for the mn command?

mn --help

How can I install Mininet natively on my Linux machine?

Instructions for native installation can be found at and in INSTALL.

How can I install Mininet for a specific Python version, or in a Python virtualenv?

To install Mininet from source for a specific version of Python, you can use

PYTHON=/path/to/python -n

where /path/to/python is the path to your python executable.

How can I upgrade an existing installation of Mininet

Follow the instructions.

How can I uninstall Mininet?

If you installed Mininet using apt-get install mininet, you can uninstall it using:

apt-get remove mininet

If you installed from source, there isn’t currently an automatic way to uninstall it completely, but you can remove the Python packages.

(If someone would like to add reliable, verified uninstall target and/or option, we’d welcome a pull request!)

In the mean time, you might try something like:

sudo pip uninstall mininet   # remove Python 2 Mininet, e.g. from Mininet 2.2 VM or older Ubuntu
sudo python3 -m pip uninstall mininet   # Remove Mininet packages for a particular python version
sudo rm `which mn`
sudo rm `which mnexec`
sudo rm -i /usr/share/man/man1/mn.1*       # -i for paranoia
sudo rm -i /usr/share/man/man1/mnexec.1*   # -i for paranoia

lather/rinse/repeat if you have multiple Mininet packages installed.

Note that this procedure will simply uninstall Mininet itself - it will not remove Open vSwitch, the Stanford reference switch or controller, or any other related software which may be installed on your system.

Help! I can't boot my VM in VirtualBox in Windows! Do I need a 32-bit VM?

If you are already running Microsoft's Hyper-V, you may not be able to boot the 64-bit Mininet VM in VirtualBox at the same time. I tested this and got the following error:

VirtualBox - Error VT-X/AMD-V Hardware acceleration is not available on your system. Your 64-bit guest will fail to detect a 64-bit CPU and will not be able to boot.

Usually the problem is not that you don't have a 64-bit CPU (you probably do if you have anything as good as, say an intel Core 2 Duo from 2006.) It is much more likely that:

  • You need to enable VT-X/AMD hardware virtualization in the BIOS, or:

  • You are trying to run two virtual machine monitors - Hyper-V and VirtualBox - at the same time, and this does not work with 64-bit guest OSes.

    A simple solution to this problem is to turn off Hyper-V (in Windows 8, this is done via "Enable/Disable Windows Features" in the Windows Control Panel.) This has been tested and verified on Windows 8.

    If you need to keep running Hyper-V, you could try the 32-bit Mininet VM image, or you could run the Mininet VM image natively in Hyper-V by:

    1. Converting the .vmdk disk image to a .vhd using Microsoft's [Virtual Machine Converter(
    2. Creating a new Hyper-V virtual machine using the new .vhd image as its hard drive.
    3. Creating an "external" virtual switch in Hyper-V manager, sharing the interface with the host OS.

I have a netbook from 2005 and I really want a 32-bit VM (or maybe I need one for testing or for nested virtualization on older hardware)

OK, use the 32-bit VM image. ;-)

Help! The VM console screen is blank!

Make sure that the VM is actually booting without any errors of any kind. If not, then you may have a problem actually booting the Mininet VM in your VM monitor. The 64-bit Mininet VM image should work on any modern CPU. However, some users have reported conflicts between Microsoft's Hyper-V and VirtualBox on Windows, so if you are running VirtualBox on Windows you may need to turn off Hyper-V. Alternately, you can use Hyper-V to run the VM as noted above! Or you can try the 32-bit image, which seems to work fine on most configurations.

If the VM is booting but boots to a blank screen, then you probably just need to either wake up the Linux console or switch to another virtual console, as follows:

First, select the VM console window. Second, press a key like A or return a few times - see if any text appears. If nothing happens, try switching to a different Linux console using control``alt``F1`` through controlaltF7`.

Note: On a Mac laptop using VMware Fusion, you may need to type fn``control``option``F1, since the F1 key controls brightness by default.

Help! I can't import the .ovf into VirtualBox/VMware/etc.!

Unfortunately, when VirtualBox was updated to 4.3.4, it stopped being able to import some versions of the Mininet .ovf file. Some other VMMs may also not be able to import it directly, but there is an easy workaround:

If you extract the .zip file, you should see a .vmdk disk image file. You should be able to create a new virtual machine in VirtualBox/VMware/etc. - and you should be able to specify that this new VM should use an existing disk image file, and you should select the Mininet .vmdk file. Configure, boot, and enjoy!

Help! I can't connect to the internet on the Mininet VM to install packages! (or, I can't SSH into the mininet VM from the host box)

In VirtualBox, you need two different network interfaces set up if you want to both access the internet from your VM and access your VM from the host. One of them should be a NAT interface (to get to the internet), and the other should be a host-only interface (to get to, well, the host). Set up the interfaces in VirtualBox that way, then add eth0 and eth1 lines in the VM's /etc/network/interfaces as below:

# The host-only interface
auto eth0
iface eth0 inet dhcp

# The internet interface
auto eth1
iface eth1 inet dhcp

[Note that Mininet is itself a container orchestration system, so usually you don't want to run it inside another container system unless you are doing something unusual such as setting up a shared development or lab server!]

AppArmor's configuration for lxc seems to forbid recursive private mounts, which Mininet wants.

This may cause Mininet to hang on startup. Additionally mnexec -n bash will fail.

[Note: we should detect this failure.]

In Ubuntu 16.04 and later, this can be allowed by adding the following lines to an appropriate AppArmor configuration file (e.g. /etc/apparmor.d/abstractions/lxc/container-default):

# allow recursive private mounts (mininet wants this)
mount options=(rw, make-rprivate) -> **,

Then reload the appropriate profile, e.g.

apparmor_parser -r /etc/apparmor.d/lxc-containers

Bugs: This doesn't seem to work in 14.04 unfortunately.

Mininet should work out of the box in a privileged docker container, but AppArmor breaks tcpdump in docker containers. The workaround is either:

sudo apparmor_parser -R /etc/apparmor.d/usr.sbin.tcpdump


sudo mv /usr/sbin/tcpdump /usr/bin

Wireshark in Ubuntu may not work out of the box with XQuartz (macOS), resulting in the error Could not load the Qt platform plugin "xcb"…. This seems to be due to libdouble-conversion being broken. To fix it in Ubuntu 20.04:

  $ dpkg -l | grep libdouble-conversion  # to see which version you have
  $ sudo apt remove libdouble-conversion3  # be sure to specify the right version
  $ sudo apt autoremove  # get rid of things that depend on library, including wireshark
  $ sudo apt install wireshark  # reinstall wireshark

How do I use Mininet's Python API?

Congratulations! You are asking the right question!! The Python API open's up Mininet's full potential.

Check out the Introduction to Mininet for an introduction to Mininet and its Python API.

Several useful examples of using the Python API can also be found in the mininet/examples directory.

We also provide Python DocStrings for every Mininet class and method, and you can view them using from within Python

>>> import mininet.node
>>> help(mininet.node.Node)

or by calling Python from within the Mininet CLI:

mininet> py help(h2)

In each case, pressing q should quit the pager.

The API documentation is also available at

Also see Mininet API Documentation for information on how to generate Mininet documentation yourself in .html and .pdf format.

Why can't I ping Google from my Mininet hosts?

You can't ping because your Mininet network is not connected to the internet. This is usually a good thing! Usually Mininet networks use a non-routable IP address range like

However, you can set up NAT if you like.

How can I set up NAT?

In Mininet 2.2 and newer, you can use the --nat option:

mn --nat ...

In order for DNS to work in the Mininet hosts, you should not be using dnsmasq or systemd for local caching and resolution.

This means that your /etc/resolv.conf should not have a loopback address (e.g. for DNS service, because the DNS server will not be reachable from the Mininet hosts, whose loopback addresses are private and loop back to themselves rather than the root namespace.

On a systemd system you should make sure that /etc/resolv.conf is not a symlink to a resolv.conf with a loopback address. Instead the file should have the address of a real DNS server. If you do not have a local DNS server you may wish to use an external public DNS service such as CloudFlare ( or Google (, which are both easy to remember.

If you are running NetworkManager on older releases of Ubuntu, you can disable dnsmasq by editing /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf and making sure this line is commented out:


Then restart NetworkManager using:

sudo service NetworkManager restart  # or network-manager on releases prior to 16.04

Warning: By default, enabling NAT via --nat or the methods described below will reroute local traffic originating at your Mininet server or VM and destined for Mininet's IP subnet ( by default) to the
Mininet network, which can break connectivity if you are using addresses in the same range in your LAN. You can change this range using the --ipbase option, for example --ipbase

You can also use Mininet.addNAT() from the Python API:

net = Mininet( topo=... )

You can also add it into your topology; one possibility is something like:

class NatTopo( Topo ):
    def build( self, natIP='' ):
        self.hopts = { 'defaultRoute': 'via ' + natIP }
        hosts  = [ self.addHost( h ) for h in 'h1', 'h2' ]
        s1 = self.addSwitch( 's1' )
        for h in hosts:
            self.addLink( s1, h )
        nat1 = self.addNode( 'nat1', cls=NAT, ip=natIP,
                             inNamespace=False )
        self.addLink( nat1, s1 )

Or perhaps:

def Natted( topoClass ):                                                                                         
    "Return a customized Topo class based on topoClass"                                                          
    class NattedTopo( topoClass ):                                                                               
        "Customized topology with attached NAT"                                                                  
        def build( self, *args, **kwargs ):                                                                      
            """Build topo with NAT attachment                                                                    
               natIP: local IP address of NAT node for routing (                                      
               connect: switch to connect (s1)"""                                                                
            self.natIP = kwargs.pop( 'natIP', '')                                                      
            self.connect = kwargs.pop( 'connect', 's1' )                                                         
            self.hopts.update( defaultRoute='via ' + self.natIP )                                                
            super( NattedTopo, self ).build( *args, **kwargs )                                                   
            nat1 = self.addNode( 'nat1', cls=NAT, ip=self.natIP,                                                 
                                 inNamespace=False )                                                             
            self.addLink( self.connect, nat1 )                                                                   
    return NattedTopo                                                                                            
def natted( topoClass, *args, **kwargs ):                                                                        
    "Create and invoke natted version of topoClass"                                                              
    topoClass = Natted( topoClass )                                                                              
    return topoClass( *args, **kwargs )                                                                          
topo = natted( TreeTopo, depth=2, fanout=2 )                                                                     
net = Mininet( topo=topo )

Mininet 2.1.0: Look at examples/

Mininet 2.0 and earlier:

The illustrious Glen Gibb provided a script to do it back in 2011 on mininet-discuss. There was also a follow-up message from Leo Alterman.

Another updated version of the script can be found here: Mininet NAT Script.

Note that:

  • The script assumes that eth0 is the host interface connected to the internet/your LAN. You may need to change it if this is not the case!

  • The script adds the following line to /etc/network/interfaces:

      iface root-eth0 inet manual

If this script does not work for you, please make an effort to debug and fix the problem, and then update this FAQ entry.

Which versions of OpenFlow does Mininet support?

The Ubuntu 14.04 VM uses that release's package for Open vSwitch 2.0.2, which supports 1.0 by default; experimental 1.3 support can be enabled using --switch ovs,protocols=OpenFlow13 from the command line, or passing protocols='OpenFlow13' to the OVSSwitch constructor. For example:

switch = partial( OVSSwitch, protocols='OpenFlow13' )
net = Mininet( topo, switch=switch ... )

Open vSwitch 2.3 and newer support 1.3 by default. It is easy to install it using: -V 2.3.1

What OpenFlow switch implementations does Mininet support?

Mininet currently includes support for the user space reference implementations, Open vSwitch in kernel and user space modes, and the Indigo Virtual Switch. The reference switch and OVS are included in the VM image, and IVS can easily be installed using -i. Mininet used to support the OpenFlow 0.8.9 kernel reference implementation (--switch kernel) but that is now obsolete and has largely been replaced with Open vSwitch.

The command line options are --switch user and --switch ovsk for the user reference and Open vSwitch kernel switches, respectively.

You can also install the CPqD ofsoftswitch13 switch using -3f; it will replace the Stanford reference switch, i.e. --switch user and UserSwitch. See below for an example of using it.

Usually the switch and controller will negotiate the highest version of OpenFlow that they both support.

If you wish to use OpenFlow 1.3, you should use a switch that supports it and a controller that supports it.

It's possible to use OVS in OpenFlow 1.3-only mode by specifying protocols=OpenFlow13 and using a 1.3 compatible controller. For example:

sudo mn -v output --switch ovs,protocols=OpenFlow13 --controller ryu,simple_switch_13
mininet> pingall
*** Ping: testing ping reachability
h1 -> h2 
h2 -> h1 
*** Results: 0% dropped (2/2 received)

Additionally, the CpQD switch may be installed using -3f - it replaces the Stanford Reference switch.

mininet/util/ -3f
sudo mn -v output --switch user  --controller ryu,simple_switch_13
mininet> pingall
*** Ping: testing ping reachability
h1 -> h2 
h2 -> h1 
*** Results: 0% dropped (2/2 received)

Why does my controller, which implements an Ethernet bridge or learning switch, not work with my network which has loops in it? I can't ping anything!

tl;dr: use --switch lxbr,stp=1 or --switch ovsbr,stp=1 and wait for STP to converge.

It doesn't work because your network has loops in it.

Transparent bridging of L2/Ethernet networks doesn't work if the topology has loops in it, for a variety of reasons: ARP does broadcasts, packets are flooded by default, learning switches don't deal well with seeing the same MAC address on multiple ports and could potentially learn a route to themselves, and Ethernet frames don't have a time to live field (TTL) the way IP packets do (otherwise flooding might work, if inefficiently.) As a result, many Ethernet bridges implement variants of a Spanning Tree Protocol (STP), which simply deactivates links in the network to remove loops. Of course, this also throws away network bandwidth that you could otherwise be using, and creates a bottleneck at the root of the tree!

The OpenFlow reference controller (controller) implements a bridge/learning switch, as does ovs-controller and/or test-controller (currently the default controllers for Mininet), as does NOX's pyswitch module, and they don't implement a spanning-tree protocol by default. As a result, they will not work with a network that has loops in it.

In general, if you want to use a network with loops in it, you need to be absolutely sure that your controller supports such a network. As mentioned above, ovs-controller, controller and pyswitch do not by default. POX includes a spanning tree module, and other controllers (Floodlight, ONOS, ODL, etc.) may support multipath and/or spanning tree - you will want to consult the documentation for your controller, make sure it is configured correctly to support multipath or spanning tree, and test it to make sure that it actually works. A simple test is to use RemoteController pointed at your controller and use the torus topology, e.g.:

sudo mn --topo torus,3,3  --controller remote,ip=<controller ip address>,port=<controller port>

Please feel free to fill in this chart with test results from various controllers:

controller version topo result details
ONOS 1.0 --torus 8,8 success need to create proactive routes or start reactive forwarding
OpenDaylight Beryllium --torus 3,3 success support for looping topologies

If you just want to get your network "working", you can run STP. In Mininet 2.2 you can use the Linux bridge:

sudo mn --topo torus,3,3 --switch lxbr,stp=1

In the current master branch, you can also use OVS in bridging mode:

sudo mn --topo torus,3,3 --switch ovs,failMode=standalone,stp=1

or the more compact:

sudo mn --topo torus,3,3 --switch ovsbr,stp=1

You will need to wait for STP to converge. You can observe its progress with sh brctl show s1 (LinuxBridge) or sh ovs-ofctl show s1) (OVSBridge.) You can also call net.waitConnected() to wait for STP to converge:

mininet> py net.waitConnected()

Note that if you are running a remote controller (rather than a local OVS or Linux bridge as suggested here), waitConnected() will only wait for the switches to connect to your controller. If you are using a remote controller, you should check the controller console or logs for any updates.

As noted above, running spanning tree removes any performance improvement from multipath networks, although it can still provide redundancy for reliability (if you deactivate a link, STP can compute a new spanning tree that uses a different link and restores connectivity.) If this sounds terrible, it's because it is - one of the advantages of using a multipath-capable OpenFlow controller is that you can potentially escape the tyranny of Spanning Tree!

If you wish to code your own multipath-capable controller in POX, you may also wish to take a look at RipL-POX, which provides starter code for a multipath-capable controller, as well as some of the multipath experiments on . But, you will still probably have to do some work and actually understand what you are doing.

Over time, we should implement more error checking.

For now, here are some things to check to make sure that Mininet is working correctly:

  1. Make sure mnexec is working

    The results of sudo mnexec -n ifconfig -a should be something like

     lo        Link encap:Local Loopback  
               LOOPBACK  MTU:65536  Metric:1
               RX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
               TX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
               collisions:0 txqueuelen:1 
               RX bytes:0 (0.0 B)  TX bytes:0 (0.0 B)
  2. Make sure Open vSwitch is running:

    sudo ovs-vsctl show
        ovs_version: "2.5.0"

You can further troubleshoot Mininet startup by running mn -v debug and carefully looking at the output for error messages.

Why do the switch data ports have random MAC addresses? How do I assign MAC and IP addresses to the switch data ports?

The MAC addresses reported by Linux for the switch data ports are meaningless. The switch is controlled by OpenFlow, so you should use OpenFlow to ensure that any packets destined "for the switch" are properly routed. You "assign" MAC and IP addresses "to the switch" by using OpenFlow rather than the Linux IP stack. If you attempt to use the Linux IP stack instead, it really won't work unless you are using the Linux kernel for routing (which you aren't - you're using an OpenFlow switch!) You should never attempt to use ifconfig or ip addr or other utilities to assign an IP address to a switch data port that is connected to a host or another switch (veth interfaces are not bridges!) Usually you will want your controller to handle packets such as ARP and ICMP which are sent to and from "the switch," and you will want IP packets which are sent to to be handled by appropriate flow table entries. You can pick any "MAC" address you like for the switch.

Why does my network fail if I use more than 16 switches?

For Mininet 2.0.0, the default controller for the mn command is ovs-controller (which can be installed automatically in Ubuntu.) Unfortunately ovs-controller only supports up to 16 switches. If you want to use more than 16 switches, you should use a controller that supports more than 16 switches, for example:

sudo mn --controller ref --topo linear,20 --test pingall

Make sure you've installed the Mininet version of the OpenFlow reference controller, which is easily done using:

mininet/util/ -f

You can also create a custom controller class or use --controller external:IP and use any custom or off-the-shelf controller that you like. For example, ou can easily install POX by checking it out or using util/ -p, and you can install Floodlight on Ubuntu using apt-get install floodlight.

If you are using the default controller or any controller which implements an Ethernet bridge (aka learning switch), be sure that your network does not have loops in it or that you have activated spanning tree.

How can I control my Mininet hosts remotely?

It's trivial to control Mininet hosts from the CLI or from within a Python script running locally, but what if you want some other process or even another computer on your LAN to be able to control your Mininet network remotely?

Well, there are lots of ways to do this. One idea is that anything you can do in Python, you can do in Mininet, and it's often very easy to do so. For example, there are all sorts of frameworks available for any kind of messaging you can imagine. (See below for a REST example - it's just a few lines of code.)

Another easy way to control Mininet hosts in the current master branch is to use the util/m script.

For example if my Mininet server is ubuntu1, I can run ifconfig on host h1 using

$ ssh ubuntu1 mininet/util/m h1 ifconfig

Another way is to actually connect your Mininet network to your LAN and to run sshd on your Mininet hosts. This is left as an exercise for the reader, but you may want to look at the and scripts in examples/ to understand how you might possibly do this.

How can I add a REST interface to Mininet?

Basically anything you can do in Python you can do in Mininet, and it's often very easy to do so. For example, there are all sorts of frameworks available for various kinds of messaging and RPC, REST, JSON, SOAP, XML, etc.. You can hook Python code up to node.js, you can have it speak ZeroMQ, you can use Apache Thrift... really the possibilities are endless!!

Note however that if you are running locally it's much easier to control Mininet directly from within a Python script or using the CLI.

It's trivial to add a REST (or ReST if you prefer) API to Mininet using Python. For example, using the Bottle framework, you could do something like:


from import Mininet
from mininet.topo import SingleSwitchTopo

from bottle import route, run, template

net = Mininet( topo=SingleSwitchTopo( 2 ) )

def cmd( node='h1', cmd='hostname' ):
    out, err, code = net.get( node ).pexec( cmd )
    return out + err

def stop():

run(host='localhost', port=8080 )

This allows you to send simple commands to your Mininet hosts.

Note that host.pexec() (like host.cmd()) runs commands as root, so this isn't really something you want to expose to the whole internet (though you could firewall port 8080 on your Mininet server and then use ssh for a secure connection.) But it's quite convenient, isn't it? In a real example you would probably want a method to shut down both the REST server and the Mininet network in a graceful manner rather than using control-C and mn -c.

After running this script in one window:

$ sudo ./

You can easily try it out. For example, you could run the ifconfig h1-eth0 command on host h1 as follows:

$ curl localhost:8080/cmd/h1/ifconfig%20h1-eth0
h1-eth0   Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 36:6f:c0:28:a3:f9  
          inet addr:  Bcast:  Mask:
          RX packets:4 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:3 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
          RX bytes:328 (328.0 B)  TX bytes:238 (238.0 B)

Note that you need to escape the space in ifconfig h1-eth0 as %20 as you would normally in a URL.

How do I run the Mininet examples?

  1. Fetch the Mininet source tree if you haven't already

     git clone
  2. Run an example

     sudo mininet/examples/

Note some examples (, require you to have set up X11 forwarding. Others require that you have installed the OpenFlow reference implementation using mininet/util/ -f. Consult the comments in the example's .py file for details.

Why doesn't dpctl work? How can I dump a switch's flow table?

dpctl should work fine with the Stanford OpenFlow reference implementation or the CPqD version of same.

But you probably don't want to use dpctl at all - use ovs-ofctl instead! Especially if you're installing Mininet using -nv. It is particularly easy to use with OVS and, importantly, will actually dump the complete flow table (unlike ovs-dpctl!)

If you're running Open vSwitch, or need to open up a listening port on either OVS or the reference switch so that you can connect to a port, read on...

  1. If you are using Open vSwitch, the correct command to use from the shell prompt is

     $ sudo ovs-ofctl dump-flows s1

    (If you try to use ovs-dpctl with Open vSwitch, you will only see the cached flows in the kernel, rather than the switch's full flow table.)

  2. The correct command to use from the Mininet prompt is

     mininet> dpctl dump-flows

    which dumps all the flows on all switches, and works for both OVS and the reference switch.

    If you're running OVS, you can pass the switch name to ovs-ofctl and it will connect to it via the file system:

     mininet> sh ovs-ofctl dump-flows s1

    or, from the shell prompt:

     $ ovs-ofctl dump-flows s1
  3. If you want to open up a listening port on the switch, you need to specify the base listening port, e.g.

     net = Mininet( topo=topo, listenPort=6654 )

    Note: In older versions of Mininet, the default listening port base was 6634, not 6654. Ports will be allocated sequentially starting with the value you specify.

    Note if you want to dump the flows from the reference switch, you will need to have a listening port opened up; then you can use dpctl:

     $ dpctl dump-flows tcp:localhost:6654

    Note that ovs-ofctl doesn't like localhost, so you should use

     $ ovs-ofctl dump-flows tcp:

    You can verify Mininet's passive listening port setting from the CLI:

     mininet> py s1.listenPort

    You can check Open vSwitch's configuration using:

    $ sudo ovs-vsctl show
    Bridge "s1"
          Controller "ptcp:6654"
          Controller "tcp:"

How do I generate traffic on my Mininet network?

Asking this question usually means you haven't read or understood the Documentation or indeed this FAQ.

Mininet runs pretty much any Linux program. So, you can use pretty much any client or server program you can think of (e.g. ping, iperf, wget, curl, netperf, netcat etc..) You can easily capture traffic using programs like tcpdump and wireshark.

You probably should do a Google search on something like linux generate packets or linux traffic generator.

It's also easy to generate packets in Python using scapy.

if you want to generate or decode OpenFlow messages, you should look at various controller frameworks like POX or OpenFlow messaging libraries like OpenFlowJ or LOXI.

How do I modify packet headers using Mininet?

Asking this question usually means you haven't read or understood the documentation and that you don't understand what OpenFlow is.

Use OpenFlow. Please go through the OpenFlow tutorial and consult the OpenFlow specification.

How do I implement a custom routing algorithm?

Asking this question usually means that you haven't read or understood the documentation and that you don't understand what OpenFlow is.

Use OpenFlow. Please go through the OpenFlow tutorial and consult the OpenFlow specification.

How do I update to a new version of Mininet?

What you need to do depends on how you installed Mininet:

  1. If you are upgrading from Mininet 1.0.0 and/or an old version of OVS compiled in /usr/local, make sure you remove all traces of the old Mininet and OVS
sudo rm -rf /usr/local/bin/mn /usr/local/bin/mnexec \
    /usr/local/lib/python*/*/*mininet* \
    /usr/local/bin/ovs-* /usr/local/sbin/ovs-*
  1. If you are upgrading from a package install of Mininet, you should remove the old Mininet and OVS packages:

     sudo apt-get remove mininet openvswitch-switch
  2. You should now be able to install from source as per the instructions on

If you wish to install a newer version of OVS than the vendor-supplied version, you may wish to follow the instructions here .

In addition to the mininet-discuss mailing list, is there a #mininet IRC channel?

According to Nick Bastin, there is a fair amount of expertise on the #openflow channel on FreeNode, so you may want to consider joining it.

Also, by request, we have created a #mininet IRC channel for additional Mininet-specific discussion.

(Note: this is an experiment, and of course we cannot guarantee that anyone is logged on! But if you want to chat about Mininet on IRC, you may wish to look at #mininet and/or #openflow.)

Can I turn on SSL for Open vSwitch?

Yes, Open vSwitch and ovs-controller both support SSL. It isn't turned on by default in Mininet. For an example, look here.

Why doesn't pmonitor display any output for some Python commands?

If you try to recreate the simple web server and client example from the walkthrough with Mininet's Python API you may find that util.pmonitor blocks and returns no output (not even the expected Serving HTTP on port 80). This is because, for performance reasons, Python buffers its output to stdout (as discussed here). You simply need to pass the -u flag, as shown in the example below.

from import Mininet
from mininet.topo import SingleSwitchTopo
import mininet.util as util
from time import sleep

def main():
    topo = SingleSwitchTopo(hosts=2)
    net = Mininet(topo=topo)

    http_client = net.hosts[0]
    http_server = net.hosts[1]

    popens = {}
    popens[http_server] = http_server.popen("python -u -m SimpleHTTPServer 80")
    sleep(1)  # Wait for the server to start up.
    popens[http_client] = http_client.popen("wget -O - {}".format(http_server.IP()))

        for host, line in util.pmonitor(popens):
            if host:
                print(, line)
        # Don't leave things running if this script crashes.
        for process in popens.values():
            if not process.poll():

if __name__ == '__main__':

How can I use multiple controllers in my network?

One way is to make a custom switch class, as shown in examples/

Another way is to use the mid-level API, as shown in [examples/] (

Can I upgrade Open vSwitch to a newer version?

Mininet usually uses the latest version of Open vSwitch that is included in that distribution's release. To find out what version you're running, you can use

ovs-vsctl --version includes an option to easily upgrade OVS to a new or different version: -V 2.3.1

Help! I updated my Ubuntu kernel and now Open vSwitch won't start!

If you are using Ubuntu's openvswitch-datapath-dkms and openvswitch-switch packages, they should update automatically when you reboot.

Until openvswitch-datapath-dkms is reconfigured/rebuilt, Open vSwitch will refuse to start saying that its kernel module is missing. For example, you may see a message like:

FATAL: Module openvswitch not found.

If rebooting doesn't fix the problem, or if you don't want to reboot, you can reconfigure the kernel module manually and restart OVS:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure openvswitch-datapath-dkms
sudo service openvswitch-switch restart

How do I unsubscribe from the mininet-discuss mailing list?

Do not write a message to the list saying "please unsubscribe me." That does not unsubscribe you and only annoys people on the list.

Go to the list server page,, and carefully follow the instructions on that page.

(Note this link is included in every message sent out on the mailing list, so it's very easy to find and refer to!)

Important guidelines:

  • Make sure you enter the correct email address that you subscribed with into the box and press the Unsubscribe or edit options button
  • Check your spam (junk mail) box to make sure you haven't missed any replies or requests from the list server
  • Make sure you reply to the confirmation message that the list server sends you (and be sure to reply using the correct From: address) - check your spam box if necessary!
  • Make sure you send any requests or replies from the correct email address that you subscribed from in the box
  • Make sure you use the correct password if necessary (if you don't remember it, you can use the mailman page to request a password hint)
  • Make sure you receive the acknowledgement from the list server - check your spam box if needed!

[Note: I (BL) recently (7/2020) tested this process and it worked correctly when I carefully followed the instructions.]

Help! I don't understand OpenFlow or SDN!

There is a wealth of useful information to be found at

Definitely read the OpenFlow White Paper and go through the OpenFlow Tutorial.

You may also wish to search the ACM and IEEE digital libraries for recent papers that reference Software-Defined Networking and OpenFlow.

I [BL] also highly recommend Nick Feamster's SDN course on Coursera.

Help! I don't understand networking (or maybe computers) at all!!

There is a wealth of very useful information available for free on the internet - try some Google (or search engine of your choice) searches for things like 'networking tutorial', 'IP networking basics', etc..

You may also find useful content on sites like Wikipedia, and YouTube, as well as free online courses. Universities like Stanford, Berkeley, MIT (and many others) all offer free online courses, and free online courses are also available through iTunes U, Coursera, etc.. You can learn Python on sites like Codecademy or Khan Academy, Nick Parlante's course on etc. - really there has been no better time for free online education.

My [BL's] personal recommendation is to take an introductory CS course and an introductory networking course at your local college or university, but the free online options are pretty cool as well.

You may also wish to consult an introductory networking textbook such as Computer Networks: A Top-Down Approach by Kurose and Ross, or the excellent (and free!) Computer Networks: A Systems Approach originally by Peterson and Davie. To master Ethernet switches you might want to check out The All-New Switch Book by Seifert, and for a vintage but still classic and somewhat relevant view of socket programming you might find a copy of the Unix Network Programming tomes by the late Richard Stevens.

Help! I have never used Linux or Unix before!

How do I use (some Linux command)?

There is a wide variety of very useful information available for free on the internet. Try searching for "Linux tutorial" or "Ubuntu tutorial" in Google or your search engine of choice.

Additionally, nearly every Unix system since the beginning of time (12/31/1969, according to Unix) includes online documentation which can be accessed using the man command. For example, to find out about the ls command, you can type

man ls

Each section (traditionally 1-8) of the manual has an intro page, and you can actually read all of the intro sections by typing:

man -a intro

Some GNU software hides its documentation in the (powerful but less friendly) info documentation system. Usually there is a man page which will direct you to it.

Additionally, bash has a help command which can be used to find out how to use shell commands.

There are also many useful books on Linux available on Amazon and in your local bookstore. Mark Sobell's books are classics, as are Nemeth's books on Unix/Linux system administration.

Will you do my (home)work assignment (or paper/thesis/project/etc.) for me? It's due next Tuesday at 4pm.

No, because:

  • We don't want to and don't have time
  • You don't have enough money to pay our consulting rates anyway
  • It would be a violation of the honor code
  • You will learn much more doing the assignment yourself
  • You really want to learn how to use Google scholar, citeseer, various digital libraries from the ACM, IEEE, and USENIX, and also learn how to do a literature search
  • It's the job of your advisor/TAs/school/company/self to teach/train you, so make them do their job!

Clone this wiki locally