Sunday, April 19, 2009

OIF Tests Optical Transport + Control Plane Technologies

The Optical Internetworking Forum, in partnership with seven of the world's largest carriers, has kicked off a three month interoperability test that will tackle diverse transport technologies, including OTN, PBB-TE, T-MPLS/MPLS-TP and SONET/SDH as well as multi-domain service restoration technology. The interoperability test is hosted by global telecom carriers; China Telecom, Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom Group, KDDI R&D Labs, NTT, Telecom Italia and Verizon. Carrier sites linked via virtual connections, forming a global test network topology.

The OIF said its 4th global interoperability demonstration will also highlight control plane mechanisms, namely the User Network Interface (UNI) 2.0 and the complementary External Network-to-Network Interface (E-NNI) 2.0 signaling implementation agreements. The E-NNI 2.0 IA, approved by OIF members this month, enables carriers to deliver services over legacy or emerging network technologies and is the service activation interface that allows these diverse network domains to interwork.

Ethernet Virtual Private Line (EVPL) services, which take advantage of native Ethernet multiplexing to improve sharing of transport resources, will take center stage during this test. Most Carriers' Ethernet-over-Transport services are currently delivered as Ethernet Private Line (EPL), but EVPL is growing since it provides more efficient transport and simplifies network operations. Control plane for EVPL is a significant technical step in providing more than simple bandwidth pipe - the control plane now understands how individual customer flows are mapped within the Ethernet signal, and controls the transport resources to meet these service needs. Control plane-based service restoration is also being tested so that service can be restored after a data plane failure. Restoration is a key step toward mesh network topologies, which can provide high availability without 100% resource redundancy.

"This test marks an important step forward in the ongoing development of global telecommunications internetworking," said Hans-Martin Foisel, Deutsche Telekom, and OIF president and Carrier Working Group chair. "The elements of the test are a direct response to the needs of the carriers who drive the direction of and capital investment in worldwide optical networks."