ITU-T Makes an MPLS-TP Statement

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 Either (1) G.8113.1 will be withdrawn, or (2) the title of G.8113.1 will be changed, and the content will be revised to reflect that it is not included as part of MPLS or MPLS-TP protocol suite.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:

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

chechaco 12/5/2012 | 4:48:53 PM
re: ITU-T Makes an MPLS-TP Statement

IMHO the idea behind the statement is clear - ITU-T Recommendations will not replicace IETF's RFC as normative references. And the statement confirms that the IETF RFC will be authoritative source in case there's technical difference between an ITU-T Recommendation and referenced in the Recommendation IETF RFCs.

gigeguy 12/5/2012 | 4:48:52 PM
re: ITU-T Makes an MPLS-TP Statement

The email from the iETF Chair, Russ Housley, is official. You can read the entire email at https://www.ietf.org/mail-arch...


Huub_van_Helvoort 12/5/2012 | 4:48:46 PM
re: ITU-T Makes an MPLS-TP Statement

Hello Chechaco,

You use a nice new word: "replicace", is this a concatenation of replicate and replace?

ITU-T recommendations will never replicate other standards documents, other SDO documents will always be referenced. The main reason is to avoid technical differences.

It is also not possible that a document from one SDO will replace a document from another SDO.

chechaco 12/5/2012 | 4:48:37 PM
re: ITU-T Makes an MPLS-TP Statement

Dear Huub, thank you for helping through one of my ten-thumbs moments.

It is beneficial for the industry that the Statement re-confirmed ITU-T position towards cooperation with other SDOs. The position is clear and I wonder why the article tried to find and make conclusions or speculations on something what is not there at all.

Huub_van_Helvoort 12/5/2012 | 4:48:35 PM
re: ITU-T Makes an MPLS-TP Statement

Dear Chechaco,

You could also ask why everybody stops after reading point (1) in the IETF message.

There is also a point (2), and it is worth reading it carefully. I actually wonder what the response would have been if both points had been reversed (i.e. firts point (2) and then point (1)...)

You question  "I wonder why the article tried to find and make conclusions" may best be answered by Craig himslef.

Huub_van_Helvoort 12/5/2012 | 4:47:49 PM
re: ITU-T Makes an MPLS-TP Statement


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