The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) recently announced the official release of the RFC 8453 Framework for Abstraction and Control of TE Networks (ACTN) and RFC 8454 Information Model for ACTN. These two releases mark a step forward in the international standardization process of the ACTN architecture, laying a solid base for operators to evolve from existing complex multi-domain networks to a future-oriented intelligent network.
The ACTN architecture proposes a concept of controller hierarchies based on operators' specific scenarios and service requirements. This architecture focuses on the northbound interface solution and standardizes interface models to allow interoperability between different vendors' devices. It also develops various service features based on user experience. The IETF first proposed the ACTN architecture at the end of 2013. In 2015, the Traffic Engineering Architecture and Signaling (TEAS) Working Group formally accepted this architecture as the SDN solution, and subsequently accepted the information model and began defining traffic engineering (TE) series data models. In 2018, in cooperation with upstream and downstream industries, the IETF finally completed the standard release of the architecture and information model. The TE topology and tunnel model drafts are also coming to the RFC editor and waiting for publication.
- The framework for ACTN introduces the hierarchical controller architecture; abstracts complex networks layer by layer; shields complex technical features of network devices; and provides users with simple, flexible, and controllable network services.
- The information model for ACTN defines open standard interfaces to open virtual network resources and management rights to upper-layer applications, further stimulating the potential of the network in service orchestration, network virtualization service provisioning, intelligent O&M, and automatic management and control.
- The YANG models defined by the IETF can be applied to interfaces between controllers in the ACTN architecture. The TE topology model defines a multi-domain and multi-technology network topology model, providing a good basis for multi-vendor interconnection.
The two RFCs released by the IETF are the result of the ACTN series standards. In the future, IETF experts will continue to discuss and formulate standards for more technology-specific documents. In addition to the TE basic models, the OTN/WSON, microwave, and IP network models and service models are being examined by IETF working groups and are becoming stable and ready for publication. Guidelines for the applicability of models are also under development and discussion.