MPLS-TP's Split Standard Could Be Close

The International Telecommunication Union, Standardization Sector (ITU-T) has opened the possibility for a formally split MPLS-TP standard.

Two contrasting approaches for MPLS-TP management, G.8113.1 and G.8113.2, could both be "conditionally approved" at the next meeting of ITU-T Study Group 15, in December, an ITU spokesman tells Light Reading via email. It's a compromise brokered by the Study Group's chairman.

This would give official standards-body legitimacy to G.8113.1, a proposal that uses the ITU's Y.1731 recommendation as a basis for operations, administration and management (OAM). There's been vocal opposition to G.8113.1, as some vendors would prefer to use plain multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) management -- which is the G.8113.2 proposal.

One catch is that neither recommendation will get approved unless the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) assigns a code point to G.8113.1 within four weeks. A code point is an identifier letting the network know what's inside a packet; in this case it would be a way of detecting OAM packets that are using G.8113.1.

If G.8113.1 doesn't get its code point in time, then the ITU-T won't approve either of the OAM proposals, the spokesman adds.

The debate about OAM has been intense. G.8113.1 is supported by Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and by carriers China Mobile Communications Corp. and Telecom Italia (TIM) . The G.8113.2 camp, meanwhile, counts Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) among its supporters. Here's our coverage of the MPLS-TP OAM saga:

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:48:50 PM
re: MPLS-TP's Split Standard Could Be Close

So, correlating this with the statement and letter we saw yesterday...

It sounds like if all goes well, G.8113.1 would become an ITU standard and would be recognized by the IETF, but it might indeed have to change its name to reflect being a non-IETF element of MPLS-TP. Small price to pay, IMHO.

Any other interpretations? Is this a good thing for the Y.1731-supporting camp, and for MPLS-TP in general?

schlettie 12/5/2012 | 4:48:47 PM
re: MPLS-TP's Split Standard Could Be Close

IETF doesn't do anything within four weeks.  Don't hold your breathe.

Seriously, IETF cannot allocate a codepoint without MPLS working group consensus.  The G.8113.1 approach has already failed to achieve consensus in the past; I don't forsee this changing.

chechaco 12/5/2012 | 4:48:46 PM
re: MPLS-TP's Split Standard Could Be Close

Please note, that there will be no split of the MPLS-TP. One possible scenario would be for ITU-T to request different EtherType and define its own switching protocol. But MPLS-TP as part of MPLS will remain one. Another possible scenario, is for supporters of pre-standard OAM, is to work diligently and professionally through IETF process.

Huub_van_Helvoort 12/5/2012 | 4:48:35 PM
re: MPLS-TP's Split Standard Could Be Close

Hi Chechaco,

Regarding the split: there will indeed be no split. I think thee will be a set of mechanisms based on RTFCs and there will  be an alternartive set based on G.8013/Y.1731.

The new Ethertype has been proposed many times and has been rejected the same number of times for very good reasons. It is a pity that this was not documented.


chechaco 12/5/2012 | 4:48:33 PM
re: MPLS-TP's Split Standard Could Be Close

Dear Huub,

I agree with your prediction. I think that there will be two in some near future.


Huub_van_Helvoort 12/5/2012 | 4:47:49 PM
re: MPLS-TP's Split Standard Could Be Close


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