Optical standards group plans software-defined net projects

November 07, 2012

Bernard Cole-November 07, 2012

The Optical Internetworking Forum has begun evaluation of new projects in software-defined networks, as a follow-on to its current work on 25/28 Gbit channels and merged optical/electrical control planes and starts work on 50-56G links.

At a recent three day meeting, members spent the equivalent of one day discussing new techniques for software-defined optical networks to serve cloud computing.

According to Jonathan Sadler, chair of the technical committee for the OIF, a group of more than 70 vendors and carriers among the projects that generated considerable interest is one that involves creating optical networks that can automatically add wavelengths as needed.

The capability is particularly needed for Web service providers linking geographically separate data centers, since current optical networks have no ability to make requests for more bandwidth.

The OIF is also about to put out for ballot a document that provides a common way to describe optical and packet networks using a multilayer control plane. In the works for several years, it would help carriers automate processes where traffic moves across electrical and optical domains.

In addition, some OIF members have started preliminary work defining short reach 56G channels linking chips to modules that could be used to build on for longer reach specifications.

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