With an angry ITU group ready to start a second MPLS OAM standard, Cisco makes its case for staying one big happy family

Craig Matsumoto, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

March 3, 2011

2 Min Read
Cisco Asks for MPLS Unity

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) has chimed in on the MPLS controversy, preaching the message that a single standard would be best for the industry.

It's Cisco's rebuttal to the recent International Telecommunication Union, Standardization Sector (ITU-T) vote to pursue an operations, administration and management (OAM) standard based on the ITU's Y.1731 standard. That effort would diverge from the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) 's work on MPLS-TP -- the side that Cisco favors. (See MPLS Argument Leads to Split Standard.)

In a blog entry dated Tuesday, March 1, Cisco first points out that the ITU-T has only approved the first stage of what could be a years-long standards process, so Y.1731 for MPLS can't be called a standard yet. Fair enough.

Cisco's main point, though, is that the industry shouldn't be developing a second standard. Some carriers have already picked or even deployed Y.1731, and they'd like to stick with it, but Cisco argues that wouldn't be the best option.

"Operators who select another method that is perceived to meet their short term needs now [may] ultimately learn that it fails to provide everything they had expected, and that having multiple OAM methods (one for Ethernet and another for MPLS) is not cost effective," writes Mike Capuano, Cisco's senior director of service provider marketing.

It doesn't seem likely that the Y.1731 camp will be easily swayed, considering the direction of the debate so far. (See MPLS-TP Could Be Headed for a Split, Rumor: T-MPLS Group Gets Shouted Down and MPLS-TP Delays Keep T-MPLS Alive.)

As you can see on our message boards, the debate goes beyond technology and into the procedures of the standards bodies. The ITU-T and IETF had been working together on MPLS standards, but the ITU, in a press release Monday, says the joint working team wasn't addressing ITU members' concerns. (See ITU Picks an MPLS Standard.)

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Craig Matsumoto

Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

Yes, THAT Craig Matsumoto – who used to be at Light Reading from 2002 until 2013 and then went away and did other stuff and now HE'S BACK! As Editor-in-Chief. Go Craig!!

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