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The goal of networking standards groups is to establish multivendor/multicarrier standards that interoperate. To achieve that goal, the OIF (Optical Internetworking Forum) is conducting a global interoperability demo to test software-defined networking (SDN) Transport Application Programming Interfaces (TAPI) among 5 global carriers and 11 system and software vendors. The tests cover services across optical, IP, and virtual appliance layers to see how services interact across the different vendors. In 1Q17, all issues identified will be presented to users and standard organizations to improve the performance and adoption of SDN. In doing this work, the OIF is performing a necessary step to drive adoption of multilayer and multivendor SDN.

OIF's demonstration will lead to faster adoption of multilayer SDN

The OIF has been working to accelerate the deployment of new optical technology since its founding in 1998. In its 2014 demonstration of SDN transport architecture, the OIF established the need for common APIs for end-to-end orchestration for a multidomain network. Now, it is testing the Open Networking Foundation's (ONF's) SDN TAPI across 11 system participants: Adva, Ciena, Coriant, FiberHome, Huawei Technologies, Infinera, Juniper Networks, NEC Corporation, Sedona, SM Optics, and ZTE, with the support of five carriers – China Telecom, China Unicom, SK Telecom, Telefonica, and Verizon. The goal is to identify gaps in the current standards and work with standard bodies to address those gaps.

The demonstration covers the applications shown in Figure 1 and includes intra-lab (within a carrier) and inter-lab testing (carrier to carrier).

The demonstrations will abstract the topology for each carrier, including a virtual network in another carrier, setup of dynamic VNFs (virtual network functions), dynamic-connect IP services, and restore/setup of intra-lab optical connections. Each of these demonstrations will help vendors, carriers, and standard bodies see how complete the solutions are, and what needs to be done to progress multilayer interoperability between vendors and carriers.

Overall, the OIF is helping to move SDN and NFV (network functions virtualization) forward with the test of SDN TAPI. Vendors will benefit from knowing what applications need more work, and carriers will benefit from knowing how adoption of SDN/NFV can work across vendors and carriers so they can speed investment.


Further reading

"SDN use cases limited for international wholesale deployment," TE0012-000571 (May 2016)

SDN/NFV: How Telcos Should Raise Their Profile with Users, TE0005-000736 (August 2015)

"For SDN, open is not enough," TE008-001411 (January 2014)


Donald Frey, Principal Analyst, Intelligent Networks

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