Research Areas Communication protocols Computer networks Telecommunications Wireless networking

Krishan Sabnani is a Homewood Distinguished Professor at Johns Hopkins University. He is a networking researcher who has made many seminal contributions to internet infrastructure design, protocol design, and wireless networks. His groundbreaking work helped shape both the internet and cellular networks, substantially reducing network infrastructure costs.

Sabnani’s breakthrough discovery in internet redesign was to separate control functions and complex software from the forwarding portions on internet routers. This work made it possible for forwarding technologies (e.g., different link layers and switching protocols) to evolve and be deployed independently from control protocols (e.g., routing, security). This contribution was a precursor to the current Software Defined Networking (SDN) revolution. He was also the first to develop a systematic approach to conformance testing, allowing communications systems to work together and reducing test time from weeks to a few hours.

Sabnani is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Inventors. He has won many awards such as the 2005 IEEE Sumner Award and the 2005 IEEE McDowell Award. He is a fellow of IEEE and ACM, and is a Bell Labs Fellow. He was inducted into the NJ Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014.

Sabnani received his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi. He completed his PhD in reliable multicasting at Columbia University. Upon his graduation from Columbia University in 1981, Krishan joined Bell Labs, Murray Hill, New Jersey as a member of their technical staff and was promoted to department head in 1993. He was vice president of networking research from 2000 to 2013. In that role, he managed all networking research, comprising nine departments in seven countries: USA, France, Germany, Ireland, India, Belgium, and South Korea. When he retired from Bell Labs in 2017, he was appointment as its inaugural ambassador-at-large.