Sunday, December 11, 2005

Comcast, Cisco and Nortel Form Open Transport Initiative

Comcast will form an Open Transport Initiative (OTI) to improve the interoperability between Optical and IP network layers and compatibility among multiple vendors' equipment within its network. Comcast plans to work with Nortel and Cisco Systems as the first vendors in this initiative.

Comcast said the initial phase of the Open Transport Initiative will focus on providing greater network and bandwidth agility. The OTI plans to first identify and define a set of common interfaces, which will be used to integrate and manage Nortel DWDM and Cisco IP equipment. Such open interfaces will help improve the vendors' ability to interoperate seamlessly within the same transport infrastructure, making it simpler to combine Optical and IP technologies on the same network.

Comcast, Nortel and Cisco agreed to explore a number of objectives, including:

  • Next-generation photonic line interfaces that define power levels, wavelengths, modulation schemes, Optical signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and wavelength identification.

  • Align with standards compliant encapsulation mechanisms for forward error correction (FEC) and operations, administration, maintenance and provisioning (OAM&P) to allow alien International Telecommunication Union Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) wavelengths to be transported across the transmission layer. (i.e., ITU-T wavelengths on service platforms directly connected to transmission layer).

  • Link status interface based on industry standards (with extensions for dense wavelength division multiplexing [DWDM] transport), designed to determine the operational state and configuration on the edge of the network between an edge device and the photonic domain.

  • Ethernet-based optical supervisory interface for inter-photonic domain communications.

  • Distributed Optical control plane, which enables functions such as discovery, photonic routing, performance management, monitoring and adding/deleting of channels.

  • Extending the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) generalized multi-protocol label switching (GMPLS) signaling and routing standard with extensions for the photonic domain - to address service activation, restoration, path viability, wavelength selection and other photonic aspects.

Comcast, Nortel and Cisco plan to promote the adoption of these defined common interfaces as open industry standards through standards bodies as appropriate and to promote broader interoperability between multiple vendor platforms within the global optical and IP industry.

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