Emulator for rapid prototyping of Software Defined Networks
Python C Shell Ruby
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Mininet: Rapid Prototyping for Software Defined Networks

The best way to emulate almost any network on your laptop!

Version 2.0.0

What is Mininet?

Mininet emulates a complete network of hosts, links, and switches on a single machine. To create a sample two-host, one-switch network, just run:

sudo mn

Mininet is useful for interactive development, testing, and demos, especially those using OpenFlow and SDN. OpenFlow-based network controllers prototyped in Mininet can usually be transferred to hardware with minimal changes for full line-rate execution.

How does it work?

Mininet creates virtual networks using process-based virtualization and network namespaces - features that are available in recent Linux kernels. In Mininet, hosts are emulated as bash processes running in a network namespace, so any code that would normally run on a Linux server (like a web server or client program) should run just fine within a Mininet "Host". The Mininet "Host" will have its own private network interface and can only see its own processes. Switches in Mininet are software-based switches like Open vSwitch or the OpenFlow reference switch. Links are virtual ethernet pairs, which live in the Linux kernel and connect our emulated switches to emulated hosts (processes).


Mininet includes:

  • A command-line launcher (mn) to instantiate networks.

  • A handy Python API for creating networks of varying sizes and topologies.

  • Examples (in the examples/ directory) to help you get started.

  • Full API documentation via Python help() docstrings, as well as the ability to generate PDF/HTML documentation with make doc.

  • Parametrized topologies (Topo subclasses) using the Mininet object. For example, a tree network may be created with the command:

    mn --topo tree,depth=2,fanout=3

  • A command-line interface (CLI class) which provides useful diagnostic commands (like iperf and ping), as well as the ability to run a command to a node. For example,

    mininet> h11 ifconfig -a

    tells host h11 to run the command ifconfig -a

  • A "cleanup" command to get rid of junk (interfaces, processes, files in /tmp, etc.) which might be left around by Mininet or Linux. Try this if things stop working!

    mn -c

New features in 2.0.0

Mininet 2.0.0 is a major upgrade and provides a number of enhancements and new features, including:

  • "Mininet-HiFi" functionality:

    • Link bandwidth limits using tc (TCIntf and TCLink classes)

    • CPU isolation and bandwidth limits (CPULimitedHost class)

  • Support for Open vSwitch 1.4+ (including Ubuntu OVS packages)

  • Debian packaging (and apt-get install mininet in Ubuntu 12.10)

  • First-class Interface (Intf) and Link (Link) classes for easier extensibility

  • An upgraded Topology (Topo) class which supports node and link customization

  • Man pages for the mn and mnexec utilities.

[Since the API (most notably the topology) has changed, existing code that runs in Mininet 1.0 will need to be changed to run with Mininet 2.0. This is the primary reason for the major version number change.]


See INSTALL for installation instructions and details.


In addition to the API documentation (make doc), much useful information, including a Mininet walkthrough and an introduction to the Python API, is available on the Mininet Web Site. There is also a wiki which you are encouraged to read and to contribute to, particularly the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ.)


Mininet is community-supported. We encourage you to join the Mininet mailing list, mininet-discuss at:



Mininet is an open-source project and is currently hosted at https://github.com/mininet. You are encouraged to download the code, examine it, modify it, and submit bug reports, bug fixes, feature requests, and enhancements!

Best wishes, and we look forward to seeing what you can do with Mininet to change the networking world!


The Mininet Team:

  • Bob Lantz
  • Brandon Heller
  • Nikhil Handigol
  • Vimal Jeyakumar