Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Open Disaggregated Transport Network project gets underway

A new, operator-led Open Disaggregated Transport Network (ODTN) project is underway at the Open Networking Foundation (ONF).

The goal of ODTN is to build optical transport networks using disaggregated optical equipment, open and common standards, and open source software.

The project will deliver an open source platform for running multi-vendor optical transport networks. It will leverage the ONF’s ONOS SDN Controller, automatically and transparently discovers the disaggregated components and will control the entire transport network as a unified whole, thus enabling multi-vendor choice.


The organizers of the project say that just as the SDN movement has disaggregated the data center and operator edge networks, ODTN will bring similar benefits to the optical transport network including best-of-breed choice, elimination of vendor lock-in, cost containment and accelerated innovation.

Backers of the project include China Unicom, Comcast, NTT Communications, Telefonica and TIM.

Each of the five founding operators has committed to performing lab integration and evaluation of the platform for future transport applications. Additional support is coming from leading vendors in the optical equipment space, with NEC, NOKIA, Oplink, ZTE contributing to the software platform and building full solutions, CTTC contributing from academia, and ADVA, Ciena, Coriant, CoAdna, Infinera and Lumentum participating in lab and field trials.

Relationship to Other Projects

ODTN is the only open source solution in the optical transport space, but is leveraging other ongoing work which has focused on standardizing various interfaces and components.

ODTN will leverage and expose TAPI as its northbound interface, leveraging the work coming out of the ONF’s Open Transport Configuration and Control (OTCC) project. Likewise, OpenConfig is the base southbound model and API for communicating to optical equipment.

The OpenROADM MSA defines interoperability specifications and data models for optical devices, networks and services.  ODTN benefits from this effort and, over time, it helps the industry achieve transponder compatibility.  This will eliminate the need to deploy transponders in matched pairs, further disaggregating the solution and enabling even greater deployment flexibility.

TIP’s Open Optical & Packet Transport project is producing open DWDM architectures, models and APIs, covering transponders, open line systems, and routers. In time, the ODTN project hopes to benefit from the availability of open optical hardware coming from the TIP work.  And visa versa, the TIP project can leverage the open source work coming out of ODTN on TIP white box hardware building blocks (such as Voyager).

“It is one of the most innovative technical challenges to deploy open SDN / Disaggregation technologies into transport networks. We expect that it will dramatically shorten the service development term and reduce costs,” said Dai Kashiwa, Director of NTT Communications and an ONF board member representative of the NTT Group. “The reference design and implementation for ODTN will accelerate this challenge, and provide common usefulness among many service providers. So, we are so excited that many service providers and vendors have aligned with the ODTN concept, and started collaboration on specifying common requirements and test/deployment plans. We aim to build and nurture an ecosystem that allows us to deploy and operate ODTN-based production networks.”

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