In July, CENGN and uOttawa teamed up to send students to compete in a next generation networking, SDN Hackathon, co-hosted by CENGN members Juniper Canada and TELUS. The competition, held at TELUS House in Toronto, brought together the brightest academic minds across Canada to develop innovative solutions in the area of Software-Defined Networks (SDN).

Two CENGN Student Interns currently finishing up their Masters of Engineering at the University of Ottawa, Layth and Ibrahim, participated in the Hackathon as members of Team SDX-Men. Ibrahim is pursuing a course-based sequence focused on networking, while Layth is completing a thesis on Software-defined networking (SDN) in optical communication networks. More specifically Layth is studying the impact of SDN in network layers and data link layers which will lead to developing a unified control plane to integrate IP into optical metro networks to provide flexible and intelligent bandwidth.


During this 8-day event, students were asked to utilize an OpenStack/Contrail environment to develop a service provider self-serve services portal for enterprises, instantiate a new Virtual Network Function (VNF) service offering and related service chaining, scale-out the VNF, and provide for metrics and reporting capabilities on the network service.

The first day acted as an introduction to TELUS and their deployment of OpenStack with OpenContrail, as well as presentations by Juniper Canada on SDN, OpenLab and Ontario Centres of Excellence, a CENGN partner. The second day was an introduction to OpenContrail by Juniper Canada and hands-on training on how to set up services with OpenContrail.

The challenge presented to the students, to utilize an OpenStack/Contrail environment to develop a service provider self-serve services portal for enterprises, was one that they were unlikely to achieve in the week-long hackathon; the expectation was for the students to take this as a learning exercise, to discover and present unique industry-driven solutions to real world problems.

Exercises such as this Hackathon are necessary to provide the next-generation of talent with the skills necessary to lead the growing networking industry. CENGN, Juniper Canada and TELUS lead in the training of the next-generation of talent coming out of post-secondary institutions and prepare new-grads to solve real world problems with emerging technologies such as SDN and NFV.

CENGN provides its students with training on SDN, OpenStack and other emerging technologies by leveraging the resources of its members and partnering with best in class companies. As Layth explains: “Most of the topics that were discussed in the hackathon training were review from CENGN’s industry-driven training in partnership with Inocybe Technologies,” he adds that his experience at CENGN has presented him with the opportunity “to go into any field after his formal education”.

What do our engineering co-op and interns think about working at CENGN?

“This is the only engineering co-op/internship that you get to be involved in the whole networking process – from doing the research, creating test cases to following through with the project and deployment – rather than just being one node in a network.” – Ibrahim Buamod, Computer Engineering Intern

“Working at CENGN enables us to meet contacts at leading networking companies, such as Juniper Canada. Also our CEO, Ritch Dusome is very present and engaged with our work… I remember him reading up on what I was working on and approaching me in CENGN’s lab to discuss the deployment of OpenStack on bare metal… with most companies you rarely see the CEO.” – Layth Alani, Networking Intern

“I have been given an opportunity to build a next-generation network, from the ground up, that will be the base for developing and testing so many leading-edge technologies from really cool companies across Canada – it’s really exciting!” – Ochuko Benemoh, Engineering Co-op Student

Every semester we bring in approximately 25 of Canada’s most tech-savvy students in the fields of project management, marketing and engineering. Visit our Student Hub for more details on becoming a CENGN co-op/intern: