UROP Project

Secure and Reliable Communication in Critical Infrastructures and Industry with Software-Defined Networking



Jan Müller

Program Director UROP


+49 241 80-90299


Key Info

Basic Information

Project Offer-Number:
UROP International
Computer Science
Organisation unit:
Communication and Distributed Systems (Informatik 4)
Language Skills:
Fluency in English
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Klaus Wehrle


Communication networks of critical infrastructures and industrial systems are increasingly connected. However, these networks raise higher requirements regarding security and reliability than traditional networks. At the same time, high performance requirements such as low latencies must be met. Furthermore, such networks often comprise resource-restrained or legacy devices that cannot offer adequate security mechanisms on their own. We investigate how we can use Software-Defined Networking (SDN) to provide secure, reliable, AND performant communication in such networks. To this end, we examine existing approaches and protocols for their usability in the context of critical and industrial infrastructures. Based on our findings, we design, implement and evaluate new SDN-based solutions, e.g., by using P4-programmable hardware switches such as the Intel Tofino. The exact project topic, methods, and outcome will be defined at a later date, depending on our research progress and your interests and skills. General information on our research environment is available at https://www.comsys.rwth-aachen.de/research/security-and-privacy/ .


What we offer: This is a great opportunity for you to actively engage in and contribute to original research in the area of security and privacy in industrial contexts and environments of critical infrastructures, fields that are rapidly evolving at the moment. RWTH Aachen University offers an excellent, interdisciplinary research environment, which stimulates cooperation between research groups inside and outside the department of computer science. Our group is home to a crowd of enthusiastic Bachelor, Master, and Ph.D. students and offers an attractive work environment full of creativity. For the project, we will provide you with a workplace in one of our project rooms and all other necessary infrastructure. You will interact closely with your supervisor as well as other researchers on a daily basis.


What we expect: Your project will describe a small, independent block of research that you are responsible for, and which you will be able to undertake independently with the help of your supervisor. Research in our group typically consists of the design, implementation, and evaluation of communication systems or performing Internet measurements and analyzing the results. For this topic, you should be interested in computer networking, security, and privacy and have solid programming skills, preferably in Python, Go, and/or C/C++. You should also have basic Linux skills. Knowledge of the concepts of secure communication protocols (such as TLS or IPsec), the (Industrial) Internet of Things or power grids is a plus but not mandatory. You should have curiosity, an independent working method, and the willingness to bring in and discuss your own ideas and solutions. If you feel interested in this opportunity, we welcome you to apply!