GMPLS Showcased in Demo
Participants in a multivendor demo at the McLean, Va., offices of Isocore say they've proven that Generalized Multiprotocol Label Switching (GMPLS) can be used to streamline the management and provisioning of multivendor IP/MPLS applications.
This isn't the first GMPLS demo by a long shot. But according to Isocore's Bijan Jabbari, it's a particularly ambitious one. Instead of running GMPLS in isolation, the test was aimed at showing that IP/MPLS applications, including Layer 2 and Layer 3 VPNs and videoconferencing via VPLS, could be managed via GMPLS (see Isocore Validates IP-Optical). Also included were tests of GMPLS interoperability using multivendor implementations of the UNI (user network interface) defined by the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF).
The live event followed the MPLS 2003 International Conference in Washington, D.C., and the vendors involved were only just starting to wind down late this afternoon. "It's difficult to stop them," quips Jabbari [ed. note: the zany madcaps!]
At least one carrier expressed interest in the proceedings earlier this week. "We already have a lot of transport gear, so we're still in the exploratory phase when it comes to GMPLS," said Christian Noll, research director of science and technology with BellSouth Corp. (NYSE: BLS). "But it's good to see multivendor interoperability testing going on. If we were to go with GMPLS, we'd stay away from any proprietary implementations."
The testbed included an "optical core" of routers and switches that generated optical bandwidth via GMPLS from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Fujitsu Ltd. (OTC: FJTSY), Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR), Movaz Networks Inc., Sycamore Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: SCMR), and Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA).
Avici Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: AVCI; Frankfurt: BVC7) and Tellabs also generated optical traffic using the OIF UNI.
The optical control plane for the IP/MPLS applications was included via gear from Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA), Extreme Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR), Foundry Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: FDRY), Laurel Networks Inc., and Redback Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: RBAK) as well as from Cisco, Juniper, and Tellabs.
Also included in the test was software from Furukawa Electric Co. Ltd., NEC Corp. (Nasdaq: NIPNY; Tokyo: 6701) and Japanese carrier NTT Communications Corp.
Test gear used in the demo included the InterWatch platform from Navtel, which, according to Jabbari, was the only tester capable of emulating both GMPLS and MPLS traffic. Testers from Ixia (Nasdaq: XXIA) and Spirent Communications were used for detailed MPLS validation and traffic generation, he says, but only Navtel could offer GMPLS, too.
So what's next? Jabbari is clear there's more testing in store, probably starting in January. "It's still early for carriers to deploy GMPLS," he says. "But to be really ready for when that time comes, we need to be testing now. We've demonstrated that more work needs to be done."
— Mary Jander and Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editors, Light Reading