UNH-IOL mounts unified IP/optical control plane/GMPLS test event

July 25, 2005 Durham, NH -- The UNH InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) today announced the completion of a week of generalized multi-protocol label switching (GMPLS) tests that, according to the lab, demonstrate various benefits of this maturing unified control plane technology, including its ability to simplify the management of complex carrier networks.

Jul 25th, 2005

July 25, 2005 Durham, NH -- The UNH InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) today announced the completion of a week of generalized multi-protocol label switching (GMPLS) tests that, according to the lab, demonstrate various benefits of this maturing unified control plane technology, including its ability to simplify the management of complex carrier networks.

The test event, held July 18 - 22, included Japanese service provider Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT), as well as testing, optical equipment, and IP routing companies Agilent Technologies, Juniper Networks, Sycamore Networks, and Spirent Communications, along with Toyo, a Japanese distributor.

According to NTT, the tests confirmed that next-generation networks with GMPLS technologies enable carriers to manage both optical and packet paths dynamically, and recover them flexibly, by coordinating optical and packet layers, even when single layer recovery can not do so alone.

"Next generation networks will require GMPLS as their control technologies, and they will come soon," says Ichiro Inoue, senior research engineer and supervisor of NTT's Network Service Systems Laboratories. "Foreseeing carrier grade services with GMPLS, test events with vendors' equipment like those at UNH-IOL are an extremely powerful tool to show new service and control capability concepts, to demonstrate GMPLS functionalities and their maturity to support them, and to promote their implementation among fully interoperable products."

The neutral testing included interconnected products supporting several optical signaling and routing management features central to provisioning multi-vendor backbone networks. According to the lab, the testing demonstrated the GMPLS functionality of various aspects of explicit route and label control, in order to set up GMPLS traffic-engineered most suitable path, control channel failure recovery, data plane failure recovery by multilayer traffic engineering, and end-to-end protection in signaling, and showed that GMPLS can manage diverse networks with increased scalability.

Optical signaling and routing management is a set of technologies, including GMPLS, that give carriers a common optical control plane for multi-layer and multi-service networks. The lab contends that uniting disparate networks under a single control plane allows for better resource utilization, more flexible provisioning, and highly intelligent failure recovery. The tests demonstrated that GMPLS allows service providers to more economically transport large-scale IP-based packet traffic, while achieving high reliability and multi-QoS support.

"Having service providers like NTT play a central role in testing allows us to deploy test scenarios that go beyond protocol verification and delve into the areas of the technology relevant to deploying GMPLS technologies in carrier networks," remarks Henry He, UNH-IOL MPLS services consortium engineer and technical lead for the test.

The tested optical signaling, routing, and management functions were based on, but not limited to, specifications by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), with future expansion of scope for the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) and the International Telecommunication Union Standardization Sector (ITU-T).

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