Canada, China and the US co-operate on SDN specifications - with a little help from France and Japan

via Flickr © joepage1  (CC BY-ND 2.0)

via Flickr © joepage1 (CC BY-ND 2.0)

As the summer begins to wane in the Northern hemisphere and with the autumn evenings about to draw-in there is renewed activity in telco laboratories in the US, Canada and China where carrier scientists in each country are co-operating on building the superstructure of various prototype SDN specifications, an area vital in in accelerating the deployment of SDN to connect data centres and cloud networks.

As the momentum behind Software Defined Networks (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) continues to grow the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) and the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) will soon begin collaborating on a comprehensive series of SDN tests designed to help the emergence of open SDN specifications.

They are being conducted in the laboratories of Verizon Communications in the US, the Telus Corporation in Canada and China Mobile and China Telecom in the PRC. The results of these endeavours will be presented around the globe at various conferences, symposia beginning on October 7 at a Verizon event in the US.

SDN evolves from the informative stage to the nominative

The tests will be constructed around prototype specifications developed by the ONF's optical transport working group as extensions to OpenFlow, together with research from the OIF's Carrier Working Group on interface requirements for SDN controller. The aim is to test and specify how transport SDN can deliver robust and flexible bandwidth-on-demand in support of cloud services, and to develop prototype SDN specification guidelines around the results.

In point of fact, the co-operation between the two industry bodies is not new. The OIF and ONF have been collaborating for over a year as SDN evolves from the ‘informative’ stage to the ‘normative’ (in standards-speak). The emphasis going forward will be on moving from the base intellectual concept of SDN as a possible technology to gaining practical international experience as to how that technology will be used by carriers to facilitate the rapid roll-out of new services.

Both the OIF and the and the ONF are working on the design of malleable prototype SDN guidelines rather than r standards. It is an international effort to agree a framework upon which hang full-scale specifications as a later date as SDN Proof of Concept (POC) trials proliferate. The POC stage of SDN technology is a vital and necessary precursor to the large scale trialling of the technology prior to the commercial roll-out of carrier SDN services.

Although the specification prototyping is being done in labs in the US, Canada and China, the initiative is also being supported by input from KDDI of Japan, Orange and the China Academy of Telecommunications Research.

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