UNH-IOL Sets Up SDN Test Consortium

The university-based lab is offering its existing installation of switches and controllers to anyone interested in testing for performance and interoperability, especially use cases, including SDN-WAN, IoT and NFV.

Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading

July 12, 2016

3 Min Read
UNH-IOL Sets Up SDN Test Consortium

With a facility already brimming with switches from the likes of Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) and Hewlett Packard Enterprise , the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (IOL) announced a Software-Defined Networking (SDN) Consortium that will perform controller and switch interoperability, conformance and benchmark testing.

UNH-IOL has established itself as a reliable third-party provider of test services, working with the Broadband Forum the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) , Open Networking Foundation , Open Platform for NFV Project Inc. , NIST and other organizations, testing everything from 40G/100G Ethernet to IPv6 to LoRA Wireless -- part of the reason why it already has such a conglomeration of switches and controllers available for SDN testing. Through work on service provider standards, the organization also has a full collection of specialized equipment, including DSLAMs and CMTSs.

Several vendors have expressed interest in maintaining a testbed for SDN and NFV testing, which is all the impetus the organization needed to propose a formal consortium, according to Timothy Winters, UNH-IOL senior executive, software and IP Networking, speaking in a web-based press conference today.

The SDN Consortium will initially focus on three specific use cases:

IoT -- UNH-IOL has already worked with one service provider on virtual customer premise equipment (vCPE).

SDN WAN -- As note, the lab is already working with switch vendors. There is interest in investigating if segment routing can replace MPLS.

NFV -- The lab is likely to continue collaborating with OPNFV in this area, Winters said.

The organization has participated in projects in the NFV testing area, for example, helping plan the OPNFV plugfest held at CableLabs . Winters said the Consortium is open to hosting SDN plugfests, but it does not have any intention of creating conflicts with other similar events. (See CableLabs Sets Up NFV Interop Lab.)

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"We want to collaborate with other labs," Winter said. Such collaborations are necessary, he suggested. "It doesn't do anybody any good to go to two different labs and get two different results." The organization wants to help develop consistent tests and test routines.

The Consortium officially opens on August 1. It will be testing SDN applications and controllers against SDN switches, whether OpenFlow, NetConf, RestConf or others. Interoperability testing is available on day 1, whereas conformance and benchmarking will follow the requests of SDN Consortium members.

At this stage in market development, stakeholders have a particular need for benchmarking (or assessing an SDN controller's adherence to industry standards and expectations), the number of connections it can support and its speed and functionality.

Winters said he expects the consortium to attract anywhere from five to 15 members this year. The membership fee is $20,000, or roughly the cost of a single switch, he noted.

— Brian Santo, Senior Editor, Components, T&M, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Brian Santo

Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading

Santo joined Light Reading on September 14, 2015, with a mission to turn the test & measurement and components sectors upside down and then see what falls out, photograph the debris and then write about it in a manner befitting his vast experience. That experience includes more than nine years at video and broadband industry publication CED, where he was editor-in-chief until May 2015. He previously worked as an analyst at SNL Kagan, as Technology Editor of Cable World and held various editorial roles at Electronic Engineering Times, IEEE Spectrum and Electronic News. Santo has also made and sold bedroom furniture, which is not directly relevant to his role at Light Reading but which has already earned him the nickname 'Cribmaster.'

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