Computer networks have become a critical infrastructure. Designing dependable computer networks however is challenging, as such networks should not only meet strict requirements in terms of correctness, availability, and performance, but they should also be flexible enough to support fast updates, e.g., due to a change in the security policy, an increasing traffic demand, or a failure. The advent of Software-Defined Networks (SDNs) promises to provide such flexiblities, allowing to update networks in a fine-grained manner, also enabling a more online traffic engineering. In this paper, we present a structured survey of mechanisms and protocols to update computer networks in a fast and consistent manner. In particular, we identify and discuss the different desirable update consistency properties a network should provide, the algorithmic techniques which are needed to meet these consistency properties, their implications on the speed and costs at which updates can be performed. We also discuss the relationship of consistent network update problems to classic algorithmic optimization problems. While our survey is mainly motivated by the advent of Software-Defined Networks (SDNs), the fundamental underlying problems are not new, and we also provide a historical perspective of the subject. Survey of Consistent Network Updates

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