November 15, 2011
3:25 PM -- The argument over a fragmenting MPLS-TP standard might have reached a crucial point with a statement issued early this morning by the International Telecommunication Union, Standardization Sector (ITU-T) .
I say "might" because I'm not sure whether the statement changes much. It's a declaration that anything that calls itself "MPLS" or "MPLS-TP" will come from the auspices of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) . Or, to put it another way, the IETF has final say on what goes into those technologies and what doesn't.
The ITU-T put out the statement early this morning, to coincide with the IETF meeting being held in Taipei, Taiwan. here's the relevant part:
Consequently Mr. [Malcolm] Johnson [director of ITU's Telecommunication Standardization Bureau] and Mr. Russ Housley, Chair of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) have agreed that MPLS, including MPLS-TP, is defined exclusively in the standards-track RFCs. The ITU-T will reference the IETF RFCs for MPLS-TP from its Recommendations providing there is consensus that they meet the needs of its members. By mutual agreement some other specific aspects, including the equipment model and protocol-neutral management information model (G.8121-series, G.8151, G.8152), developed in ITU-T are considered part of MPLS-TP.
Technically, nothing new has happened. The statement describes itself as a reaffirmation of the ITU's practice of not duplicating other standards bodies' work.
The question remains: What does this mean for ITU-T G.8113.1, the proposal that infuses a T-MPLS element into MPLS-TP? (Short summary on ITU-T G.8113.1: Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. likes it; Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) doesn't. See links below.)
Since it didn't spring from an IETF effort, my conclusion was that G.8113.1 is being kicked out of the fold. But an ITU-T spokesman tells me via email that that's not the case. The situation is apparently being negotiated.
Some in the IETF might be hoping differently. A source forwarded us an email, purportedly from Hoursley (IETF) to Johnson (ITU-T), that supposes this could be the end of G.8113.1:
The IETF anticipates one of the following actions will be taken to conform to this agreement. Either (1) G.8113.1 will be withdrawn, or (2) the title of G.8113.1 will be changed, and the content will be revised to reflect that it is not included as part of MPLS or MPLS-TP protocol suite.
But remember, that's from an unofficial email. Again, the ITU-T is telling us that the official statement does not automatically mean G.8113.1 is no longer considered part of MPLS-TP.
What does it all mean? I think it's a preamble to the next big blowup in the MPLS-TP debate. If you think I'm wrong -- or if you've got news to share out of the Taipei meetings -- do let us know on the message board.
Finally, if you're lost as to what we're talking about here -- it boils down to whether the operations, administration, and management (OAM) for MPLS-TP should be based on the ITU-T Y.1731 recommendation or on Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS). Here's a reverse-chronological summary:
MPLS-TP Camp States Its OAM Case
MPLS-TP Still on the Brink
Cisco Asks for MPLS Unity
MPLS Argument Leads to Split Standard
MPLS-TP Could Be Headed for a Split
MPLS-TP Delays Keep T-MPLS Alive
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading
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