OIF OTN switching implementation agreement promotes common switch fabrics

The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) has approved an implementation agreement (IA) for an OTN-over-Packet-Fabric Protocol. The IA aims to make it easier for systems developers to create a single switching fabric for both Optical Transport Network (OTN) and packet-based traffic.

The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) has approved an implementation agreement (IA) for an OTN-over-Packet-Fabric Protocol. The IA aims to make it easier for systems developers to create a single switching fabric for both Optical Transport Network (OTN) and packet-based traffic.

The IA defines the mapping protocol for converting an OTN stream into packets while preserving its frequency and phase. The protocol can be implemented via ASSP, FPGA, or ASIC.

The new IA culminates an effort that began in May of last year, according to the OIF’s Karl Gass. It leveraged the expertise of several OIF members, several of whom already had common fabric strategies. Gass admitted that an extensive amount of modeling and discussion was necessary to get potential competitors to agree on the specifications contained in the IA, which Gass described as leading to the most efficient and easy-to-implement approach of those considered.

The new IA parallels similar work going on at a higher level within the ITU-T, Gass added.

The OIF kicked off this effort in response to carriers who were looking for an efficient, common way to switch OTN and Ethernet/IP traffic over the same switch fabric. Several vendors offered separate switching fabrics for OTN and other traffic, which led to larger footprints and more power consumption than carriers wanted to support.

“The IA will enable faster convergence of packet and OTN traffic which the industry needs,” said Eve Griliches, ACG Research analyst. “A common method of mapping and translating OTN into a packet fabric will help drive the cost of network equipment down for multiple switching options, and lay the groundwork for the growing converged IP+OTN networks.”

Copies of the OTN-over-Packet-Fabric Protocol implementation agreement can be obtained via the OIF website.








More in Optical Tech