ITU 'first past the post' with new ATM/MPLS standards

19 August 2003 Geneva Lightwave Europe -- The ITU has approved a set of standards that should allow service providers to make "significant savings" on network equipment and provision services more efficiently. The standards making arm of the international organisation, the ITU-T, claims to be the first to complete the work long sought after by industry.

- New standards promise reductions in capital and operational expenditure

19 August 2003 Geneva Lightwave Europe -- The ITU has approved a set of standards that should allow service providers to make "significant savings" on network equipment and provision services more efficiently. The standards making arm of the international organisation, the ITU-T, claims to be the first to complete the work long sought after by industry.

The standards just approved will allow greater interoperability between different network elements, reducing the need for extra investment, claims the organisation. ITU-T is leading a more pragmatic approach to networking by providing standards that link disparate technologies such as Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) and Multiprotocol Label Switching Standard (MPLS).

Interworking standards means that service providers will no longer be restricted to the products of one company. Furthermore, the emerging standards will allow service providers to use existing technologies to transport data at greater speeds. An overriding objective is the reduction of complexity in rolling out new services and a more efficient use of equipment.

In this case, the approach championed by ITU provides interworking between two dominant technologies in the connection-oriented packet-switched network (co-ps) mode. ATM and MPLS are critical components of the evolving broadband architecture that belong to the co-ps mode, but both technologies have been developed independently to date.

Although significant work has been done in other forums and standards development organizations, the ITU is the first organization to satisfy industry demand for standards that will give a clear integration path to next generation networks.

Recommendation Y.1411 deals with the user-plane network-interworking functions between ATM and MPLS for cell mode transport. Recommendation Y.1412 focuses on the user-plane interworking mechanism for AAL type 5 PDU and SDU. Y.1712 provides user-plane fault-management solutions for both network and service interworking of ATM and MPLS OAM functionality.

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