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Advanced IP/MPLS and Optical Networks: Concepts and Standards

The suite of protocols that defines Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) has been enhanced to generalize its applicability to the control of optical networks, with one area of prime consideration being the use of these generalized MPLS protocols in upgrading the control plane of optical networks. A major advantage of the MPLS architecture for use as a general network control plane is its clear separation between the data forwarding plane, the signaling (connection control) plane, and the routing (topology discovery/resource status) plane.

A through understanding of MPLS technology, the issues involved in using it to control optical networks, and the protocol and system enhancements needed to enable this is crucial for building advanced transport and hybrid packet/TDM systems, and for building modern transport networks.

With this goal, this workshop covers:

  • MPLS technology: Brief introduction, operation, and advantages
  • Agile optical networks: motivation and basic concepts
  • Control plane architectures and system design trade-offs: possible architectures for the control plane, their pros and cons
  • Differences between datagram and optical routing: service impact, standardization
  • MPLS control plane for non-packet technologies: Enhancements to IP routing (OSPF) and signaling (RSVP-TE) , how that impacts system and network operation
  • Overview of optical control plane standards: discovery, intra-domain routing, signaling, and inter-domain routing, and the UNI (User-Network Interface), with a look at work ongoing at the ITU, IETF, and OIF.
  • Dynamic path establishment in multi-layer networks: issues and operation

The workshop adds value by providing attendees a through overview of the enabling technologies and the state of standardization of the control plane for integrated optical networks. It highlights the protocol changes and the system enhancements needed to build advanced systems for such networks, while at the same time explaining their impact on network operation, which is crucial for deploying new network infrastructure. The workshop is particularly useful for service provider organizations and system/software vendors seeking to sort through the maze of options and standards being worked on today, because it crystallizes the key issues, and clearly outlines their impact at the protocol, system, and network level.

Audience: The workshop is targeted at system and network architects, advanced hardware and/or software engineers, strategic marketing, executives, system engineers, application engineers, and network engineers who wish to understand some of the key control plane issues and technology behind building modern transport networks. The workshop will be useful for companies involved in providing systems, software, or chips for wide-area networks, optical networks, and the carrier/ISP services spaces.

Category: Introductory to Intermediate.

Expected background: This is an intermediate-level workshop that assumes that the audience has some familiarity with SDH/SONET signal structure, and some understanding of IP routing and signaling protocols. The workshop will focus primarily on the operation and advantages of MPLS technology, and on the adaptations needed to apply it to the control of SDH/SONET and optical networks, plus the state of relavant international standards.

Workshop Duration: Expected duration is 1.5 days (with 8 hours of instruction plus 2-3 hours of Q A).

Workshop Goals: To enable the attendees to:

  • Understand the key issues in the dynamic control of modern transport networks
  • Grasp the fundaments of MPLS technology
  • Appreciate why MPLS is useful for controlling transport networks
  • Comprehend the applicability of MPLS technology for modernizing the control plane of SDH/SONET and optical networks
  • Recognize what such control entails
  • Focus on how MPLS has been enhanced to apply to transport networks, and how it operates in this context. The attendees will also have a
  • See the state of relevant international standards, and of the functionality provided by the basic components of the optical control plane currently undergoing standardization.
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