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Northbound interface/Southbound interface

Northbound interface/Southbound interface definition

Usually, in computer networking and computer architecture, a northbound interface means an interface that lets a specific component communicate with a higher-level component in the same network. A southbound interface is the opposite — it enables a specific component to communicate with a lower-level component.

Real northbound interface/Southbound interface examples

In software-defined networking, the southbound interface is the OpenFlow protocol specification, which allows communication between the SDN controller and the network nodes.

The northbound interface is protocol-supported communication between the controller and applications or higher-layer control programs.

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