SCIENCE & ENGINEERING NEWS
Fremont, CA — At its August 17th quarterly meeting in Barcelona, Spain, the member companies of the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) made significant progress toward finalizing a number of documents aimed at developing standards for the interoperability of optical networks. At the forefront of the OIF’s efforts are finalizing specifications that will allow Carriers to offer optical networking services, selecting a signaling protocol for the User Network Interface (UNI) and initiating work to define electrical and optical specifications for OC-768.
“In recent months, our membership has been very focused on refining industry agreements that address key issues and concerns for interoperability within the burgeoning optical networking industry,” said Carol Sensale, OIF president. “These documents represent more than a years worth of work by the leading minds in the optical networking industry.”
During an OIF meeting in May, a special interest group of Carriers was formed with the goal of formulating generic requirements for services supported by the UNI 1.0 technical document. The requirements document currently being developed by this sub-group of Carriers outlines the optical network capabilities necessary for a carrier to offer optical services. Scheduled for completion by early September 2000, the requirements document will be shared immediately with the IETF, ITU-T and T1 as input to their standardization work on Automatic Switched Optical Networks (ASON).
The members of the OIF also continue to make progress towards finalizing specifications for a UNI 1.0 signaling technical document. Rather than starting from scratch, the member companies considered existing protocol alternatives and decided on extensions to RSVP and CR-LDP – two protocols that have already been developed by the IETF. The decision was based primarily upon the fact that RSVP and CR-LDP are both established protocols and are extensible beyond the UNI. With the signaling protocol finalized the UNI 1.0 document is scheduled for completion in November 2000 and will be submitted to the IETF, ITU-T and T1 at their upcoming meetings.
“With the UNI, we wanted to align the OIF specification with protocols that are developed and evolving in the same manner that the Internet is evolving,” said Andrew Greenfield, vice president marketing, OIF. “Working with the IETF to simply develop extensions to the existing RSVP and CR-LDP protocols just makes the most sense. An alternative TCP-based protocol was also considered, but it was rejected because it did not meet the OIF requirement that it be extensible.”
Continuing its work on SONET signaling rates, the OIF has decided to begin work on the development of technical implementation agreements on electrical and optical specifications for a Very Short Reach (VSR) OC-768 interface. This faster signal rate would support speeds up to 40 Gb/second, four times the speed of commercially available technology. As a basis for this new specification, the OIF will simply expand on the work it has already done for existing 10 Gb/second interfaces.
Launched in April of 1998, the OIF is a rapidly growing, non-profit organization with 230+ member companies to date, including many of the world’s leading carriers and vendors. As the only industry group uniting packet and voice networks, the OIF helps advance the standards and methods of optical networks. The mission of the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) is to foster the development and deployment of interoperable products and services for data switching and routing using optical networking technologies.
With the goal of promoting worldwide compatibility of optical internetworking products, the OIF actively supports and extends the work of national and international standards bodies. Formal liaisons have been established with The ATM Forum, IEEE 802.3 HSSG and the IETF. More information on the OIF can be found at http://www.oiforum.com .