MPLS-TP Still on the Brink

The ambitious push for a unified standard continues, even as some vendors and carriers exercise pre-standard options

June 1, 2011

2 Min Read
MPLS-TP Still on the Brink

MPLS-TP began as an unprecedented effort by two major standards bodies -- IETF and ITU-T -- to set aside parochial differences and develop a common standard for the necessary OAM tools to enable MPLS meet transport network requirements. The goal was to move quickly and to preserve compatibility with existing MPLS deployments, but in recent months, this ambitious effort has run into the kind of roadblocks that have slowed previous efforts at producing telecom standards more quickly.

For the next few months, Light Reading will be hosting an MPLS-TP Briefing Center, a space devoted to exploring the industry activity around this still-developing standard.

The original thinking that led to MPLS-TP was that a simpler version of MPLS was needed in the transport portion of the network, and while some vendors had designed their owned versions, a standard was needed. Here's a look at coverage of those early efforts at getting MPLS-TP off the ground, back when the technology was duking it out against Provider Backbone Transport (PBT, later PBB-TE):

  • Transport MPLS Gets a Makeover

  • MPLS-TP vs. PBB-TE

  • Packet Optical Transport Goes for the Long Haul

  • Asia/Pacific Warms to MPLS-TP

The thinking was that end-to-end MPLS would simplify metro Ethernet networks and optimize them for transport, enabling more affordable end-to-end MPLS deployments, streamlining operational models and allowing consolidation and simplification of network topologies.

Of course, vendors quickly got involved in developing MPLS-TP right alongside the standards effort. Here's a look at some of their activity:

  • Ciena Thinks Beyond PBB-TE

  • PBB-TE Loses Favor in Packet-Optical

  • TPack Does 40G, MPLS-TP

  • NSN Plays P-OTS Card

  • Cisco Intros CPT

  • JDSU Tests MPLS-TP

By mid-2010, MPLS-TP was supposed to be substantially complete as a standard, according to a very ambitious original plan. But delays, typical of the standards process, led some carriers and their vendors to push ahead with an earlier version of MPLS OAM, T-MPLS, as a practical way of meeting immediate needs. Here's a look at those complications, which led an ITU study group to, once again, create a split standard.

  • MPLS-TP Delays Keep T-MPLS Alive

  • Tensions Rise for Twitter & App Developers

  • TPack Does 40G, MPLS-TP

  • MPLS Argument Leads to Split Standard

  • ITU Picks an MPLS Standard

  • Cisco Asks for MPLS Unity

  • 8 Things to Know About Packet-Optical

For more detail on how MPLS-TP works and its advantages, here's a Heavy Reading white paper:

  • Extending Connection-Oriented Ethernet End-to-End Using MPLS-TP & ECI's Packet Transport Portfolio - by Heavy Reading

Light Reading will provide ongoing coverage of both the standards debate and the ongoing deployment of MPLS-TP, so check back at this briefing center.

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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