OIF, GGF COME TOGETHER FOR OPTICAL NETWORKING WORKSHOP

By Nicole Hemsoth

November 15, 2004

The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) ends 2004 with a series of new work items at the highly successful and well attended fourth quarter meeting in October. The OIF's Architecture and Signaling working group launched a new work effort to develop a design guide for interworking control planes between network domains specified by OIF/ITU ASON and IETF GMPLS. The Physical and Link Layer (PLL) working group started a new work project on multi-level modulation (MLM) technology. On the opening day of the meeting, the OIF hosted the first in an ongoing series of workshops designed to advance information exchange and cooperation between the OIF and other industry groups. This initial workshop featured the Global Grid Forum (GGF).

“The work projects initiated this quarter provide the momentum to move into 2005 with new initiatives and directions,” said Joe Berthold of CIENA Corp, and president of the OIF. “We continue to promote technology that supports the needs of the optical networking industry and to drive forward the collaboration among industry forums such as the GGF.”

Multi-Level Modulation Work Project

A new OIF work project addresses the use of MLM to send information further and more cost effectively along the network. MLM gives manufacturers another way to manage dispersion in an optical fiber and is complementary to the Electronic Dispersion Compensation (EDC) project launched by the OIF earlier this year.

“The MLM and EDC projects are driven by a high level of interest from the component vendor membership of the OIF,” said Karl Gass of Sandia National Laboratories, OIF Physical Layer User Group chair. “The goal of each project is to allow carriers a 50 percent increase in operating range using existing fiber.”

Interworking Methods Design Guide

The OIF has approved a project to develop a design guideline document for control plane interworking between OIF/ITU-T ASON and IETF/GMPLS network domains at the inter-domain signaling interfaces. The design guide will define interworking methods between existing, approved optical control plane signaling protocols, including OIF IAs, ITU-T Recommendations and IETF RFCs. This will allow software stack vendors and system vendors to map information, messages and behaviors between different protocols while preserving the required protocol functionality on each side of the interface. The design guide will provide carriers more latitude in selecting different vendors and vendor equipment that will interwork on the optical control plane.

Industry Forum Collaboration

The OIF's first optical internetworking workshop focused on the Global Grid Forum. The OIF's invitation to the GGF to participate in a joint workshop arose through recognition by several OIF member company representatives that the GGF and the OIF share a common interest in the dynamic control of optical networks. Grid applications utilize wide-area distributed computing resources for large-scale computational tasks. To function most effectively, these resources should be dynamically interconnected over a communications infrastructure, a feature provided by the OIF's UNI and NNI IAs.

“The Global Grid represents an exciting potential application of the dynamic optical networking capabilities enabled by the OIF's control plane IAs,” said Tom Afferton of Northrop Grumman, OIF board member. “Because of the broad interest in interworking technologies and because opportunities lie within the industry forums to speed the process towards standardization, the OIF is taking a leadership role to promote cooperation among forums.”

“Optical networks show us ways to fully realize the vision for Grids and Virtual Organizations,” said Franco Travostino, director for Nortel Labs, and co-chair for the Grid High-Performance Networking Research Group at the GGF. “The GGF was delighted to receive the OIF invitation and present GGF activities to such a qualified audience. We look forward to the OIF and GGF cooperating on topics of common interest.”

“The first workshop exceeded our expectations and we can look forward to more of these,” said workshop organizers Doug Zuckerman of Telcordia Technologies, OAM&P working group chair and Marco Carugi, of Nortel Networks, OIF board member. “The key was focusing the workshop on a topic of high interest among OIF participants and of significance to our industry.”

Newly Elected Leaders

In the board of directors election, the OIF membership elected Monica Lazer of AT&T and Steve Joiner of Bookham Inc, and reelected Marco Carugi of Nortel Networks, John McDonough of Cisco Systems and Vishnu Shukla of Verizon. Tom Afferton of Northrop Grumman and Berthold continue in their elected positions as part of a two-year term on the board. The board named Berthold as president, McDonough as vice president, Joiner as vice president marketing and Afferton as treasurer. In addition, the OIF announced that Michael Oltmanns of Winchester Electronics/Northrop Grumman was elected as Market Awareness & Education (MA&E) Committee co-chair; PLL and Jonathan Sadler of Tellabs was elected as Architecture and Signaling working group chair.

About the OIF

Launched in April of 1998, the OIF is a non-profit organization with 130-plus international member companies, including many of the world's leading carriers and vendors. As the only industry group uniting representatives from data and optical networks, the OIF helps advance the standards and methods of optical networks. OIF's purpose is to accelerate the deployment of interoperable, cost-effective and robust optical internetworks and their associated technologies. Optical internetworks are data networks composed of routers and data switches interconnected by optical networking elements.

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. Liaisons have been established with The ATM Forum, IEEE 802.3, IETF, ITU-T Study Group 13, ITU-T Study Group 15, MEF, NPF, Rapid I/O, T1M1, T1X1, TMF, UXPi and the XFP MSA Group. More information on the OIF can be found at www.oiforum.com.

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