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In this paper, a new sliding-mode flow controller for connection-oriented communication networks is proposed. The networks are modeled as discrete-time nth-order systems. On the basis of the system state space description, a novel sliding-mode controller with a linear quadratic optimal switching plane is designed. Two control laws are proposed, each derived by minimizing different cost functionals. The first law is obtained when the whole state vector is considered in the optimization procedure, whereas in the latter case, the derivation concentrates on the system output variable with an additional weighting coefficient introduced into the cost functional. Closed-loop system stability is demonstrated, and the conditions for no data loss and full bottleneck link bandwidth utilization in the network are presented and strictly proved. According to the best of the authors' knowledge, this paper presents the first attempt to design a discrete-time sliding-mode flow control algorithm for connection-oriented communication networks.