Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Infranet Initiative Transitions to Open Forum, Alcatel and Cisco to Join

The Infranet Initiative Council, which was launched by Juniper Networks in 2003, voted to transition its activities to a member-funded, open standards-based forum, which will encompass the existing work of the former IIC, and will coordinate efforts to develop the architecture for a federated service infrastructure able to support advanced service provider and network user business and service models.

The forum will be independently hosted by the secretariat of a major standards body and be subject to that standards body's rules. The International Telecommunications Union ( ITU ), ATIS, ETSI, and AMS are currently under consideration.

Alcatel and Cisco Systems announced their support. The IIC has about 40 other members, including BT, China Unicom, Ericsson, France Telecom, Juniper Networks, Hewlett Packard, Korea Telecom, Level 3, Lucent, Qwest, Siemens, Telenor, Tellabs and Telstra.

The forum will have three primary goals:

  • Architecting today's Internet to be a service of the overall IP infrastructure, rather than the Internet itself being the infrastructure. In this sense, the permissive, best effort Internet service is presented as a 'tunnel,' alongside other tunnels presenting the services of more predictable, trusted network environments;

  • Providing for any of the services of a network operators' IP infrastructure to be federated ( or interconnected ) with other operators according to clearly defined business relationships, and incorporating mechanisms for revenue settlement and SLA accountability;

  • Ensuring that users of the IP infrastructure can access only the presented services, and not the underlying infrastructure itself, to heighten reliability and integrity of the overall federated system of networks.

"BT is in the process of delivering its 21st Century network. We see this expanded initiative as a way of working together with other leading suppliers and service providers to define the standards and architecture that will enable the infrastructure for the global network economy of the future," said Andy Green, CEO, BT Global Services.
  • The Infranet Initiative was introduced in 2003 at Telecom Geneva by Juniper and Lucent Technologies with the aim of developing a secure and assured Internet infrastructure. At the time, the companies said the Infranet will require agreement on two standards: a client network interface (CNI) that would enable an application to tell the network what it needs for service assurance, and an inter carrier interface (ICI) that would allow these technical requirements to be passed across multiple network domains. Significantly, ICI would let carriers settle billing charges based the type and volume of traffic carried on behalf of each other's customers.

  • In 2004, Infranet Initiative members ratified an Infranet reference architecture. Infranet participants have also developed the first five application scenarios that could benefit from the architecture. These applications include multi-provider VPNs, fixed-mobile convergence, web radio, web video, and high-performance software distribution.


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