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Automatically Switched

Optical Networks
Service Architecture models An analysis
Surbhi Sinha
WHITE PAPER - December 2001
High bandwidth optical networks are being designed by telecommunications providers to provide
traffic-engineered services to the service platforms like routers, ATM switches. Automatically
Switched Optical Networks (ASON) is a concept that is being discussed to provide quick service
activation to the service platforms in a data-centric network reliably. This paper discusses the
different service models available for the architecture of an ASON and a comparative analysis
between the same and design considerations for achieving an ASON network.
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Table of Content
Introduction .....................................................................................................01
Overlay Service Model ......................................................................................01
Peer to Peer Service Model ............................................................................. 02
A Comparative analysis of the Service Models ....................................................03
Design Considerations .....................................................................................04
How Wipro addresses your ASON product design needs .....................................06
References ......................................................................................................06
About the Author...............................................................................................06
Contact Us ......................................................................................................06
About Wipro.....................................................................................................08
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Automatically Switched Optical Networks
Page: Table of Content
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Introduction
The explosion of bandwidth in the carrier networks of the telecommunications providers
through the use of Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) has led to the
concept of quick and reliable service activation and control. In other words, it is bandwidth
on demand. Manual provisioning of connections on the existing networks takes time and
is tedious. Optical networks that are dynamically provisionable are expected to overcome
limitations of the existing networks.
The services provided by the transport network (service provider) would be used by user
equipment clients such as an IP router, ATM switches etc. IP routing over the past few
years has been using a concept called Multiprotocol label switching (MPLS). MPLS is
based on the idea of forwarding information in a MPLS aware network (routers) through
the use of labels instead of looking up the address information in the IP packet at each
router. The MPLS network also supports quality of service though traffic engineering
enhancements. Explicit routes can also be defined for a packet through the network giving
a feel of a virtual circuit.
Multi-protocol lambda switching is an effort to extend MPLS used by routers into the optical
domain so that they can co-operate with the optical core switches for dynamic creation of
the end-to-end services. IETF as Generalized Multi Protocol Label Switching (GMPLS) and
the ITU as G.astn are doing the standardization of MPLS in the optical domain. The
approaches for the architecture of a system that uses the optical network can be
classified as the overlay architecture model and the peer-to-peer model. An explanation
and a discussion of the models follow.
1. Overlay Service Model
This model can also be called as a client-server model. The client devices are the routers
that are on the periphery of the optical network and the optical network is the one that
provides the services. The routers are connected to Transport Network Element (TNE)
devices (OXCs/OADMs) on the optical network through optical links (fibers) that can carry
Figure 1: Overlay Service Model
...........................................................................................................................
Transparent
internal
connectivity
Optical n/W
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data. The edge routers communicate to the TNE through a standard User to Network
Interface (UNI). The client device cannot see any of the internal organization of the optical
network other than the optical node it is connected to. Through the use of the UNI, the
router requests bandwidth to the TNE. The TNE gets back with the status as to whether a
path has been established or not. The signaling functions that are supported for
interaction with the TNE though a LDP or RSVP-TE based control channel are as follows.
n Light path establishment
n Light path teardown
n Light path modification
n Light path status
On a light path establishment request, the routing is done inside the optical network and
the destination client device is contacted for establishing the route. The only detail that the
source device gives is the destination device address and the granularity of the bandwidth
that it needs. The optical network edge device routes it internally to the network device that
is adjacent to the destination address specified in the request and a path is formed.
2. Peer to Peer Service Model
Figure 2: Peer to Peer Service Model
This model also called the Integrated Services model can be considered to be functionally
similar to the overlay model except that the client device can see the internal topology of the
optical network. The edge router can decide on the path to be taken by the packets on the
egress port that goes to the TNE. The router can also have a built-in edge cross-connect
function. There is no distinction between the routers and the optical networks as far as the
control plane is concerned.
The routing information exchange between the optical and the client network will use an
IGP protocol like OSPF with suitable optical traffic engineering extensions. The OSPF link
state advertisements from the optical network elements will contain information about link
type, composition of bundled links etc.
...........................................................................................................................
Optical n/W
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Table 1. A Comparative analysis of the Service Models
Automatically Switched Optical Networks
There is a service model referred to as the Augmentd/hybrid service models which is in-
between the peer and overlay models. The border optical network devices here exchange
summarized routing information with the border clients.
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3. Design Considerations
This segment discusses briefly about the various components that have to be in place to
achieve an implementation of the different service models.
UNI
OVERLAY MODEL
With this model, the UNI can be split as UNI-Client (UNI-C) and the UNI-Network
(UNI-N). The UNI-C segment sits on the client device and the UNI-N sits on the
network device. An Internet Protocol Control Channel can be run between the UNIs
to have a control session.
Neighbor Discovery and Service Discovery have to be done at the UNI-C layer.
Neighbor Discovery relates to the discovery of an optical network neighbor running
the UNI-N segment of the specification. An associated element of neighbor
discovery is the link verification where the different links between the client device
and the transport network element are verified. Service discovery is from the point of
the client edge device getting information about the supported signaling protocol,
the clients port level service attribute, and routing diversity in the network.
Service requests can be validated by the use of the COPS protocol. The Policy
Enforcement Point (PEP) would sit on the optical network node with the UNI-N
where itll validate the request against a policy database by contacting a Policy
Decision Point (PDP) server. There also can be a local PDP within the UNI-N.
PEER-PEER MODEL
With the peer-to-peer model, there is no necessity for demarcation of the UNI into
UNI-C and UNI-N because the control planes of both the networks are the same.
Regarding the validation of the service request, the optical network element could
still be the PEP. In this case the message would be a CR-LDP or an RSVP-TE
message.
Routing
The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) has come out with a UNI 1.0 specification,
which is under review by the standards bodies. This specification enables a client
device to request a TNE for a light path establishment, teardown, modification and
status.
OVERLAY MODEL
Here IP overlays are setup across the optical network. The optical network can
maintain a list of the IP addresses and virtual private network identifiers it is
connected to. For path computation purposes, a light path is setup to the egress
optical network element port address that corresponds to the destination IP
address. OSPF with extensions could be used internally in the network to advertise
node capabilities.
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PEER-PEER MODEL
An IGP like OSPF or IS-IS with suitable optical extensions to propagate link related
information could be used to exchange topology information. The routers and the
optical network elements maintain the same link state database.
For an edge router to compute a path to other external routers, the path through the
optical network can be considered to be a virtual link for route computation
purposes.
Common Elements
This section briefly discusses the common elements in the architecture.
Link Management Protocol (LMP)
This is the protocol that is used between optical network elements to manage their
links. As a part of the link initialization, the control channels between the OXCs are
checked and then test messages are exchanged over the bearer channels on the link.
LMP provides the message formats and mechanisms to do this. The control channel
connection is verified by means of a keep-alive protocol between the OXCs. LMP also
does fault localization on failure of the links.
Issues
The following are issues that are still under consideration in the optical network
segment.
If a link is determined to have failed, there can be multiple ways in which the light path
can be re-routed. Assuming that there is no redundancy on the link, there must be a
path computation for an alternate route from the source link of the failure path. This
could prove complex, as all the nodes must have the intelligence to do a protection
switch rather than being a simple router of light paths. Otherwise, the restoration path
can be pre-computed at the ingress node and the path restoration effected. This has its
own complications since it is considered slower to the local restore method earlier.
Optical performance monitoring inside the optical network is another issue. In the
current networks, there is an optical to electrical conversion at which point errors are
computed and alarms raised. In an all-optical network, there is no such conversion.
Performance may be monitored by tapping a fraction of the light signal and analyzing it.
There may be complexities involved if the optical nodes do not support wavelength
conversion. A single common wavelength has to be found across the nodes in the
optical network for the light path to be established. This may involve more computation
and node information distribution.
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4. How Wipro addresses your ASON product design needs.
Relating to the design considerations noted above, Wipro has an in-house developed
OSPFv2 compliant stack and a MPLS stack with CR-LDP as the signaling protocol. The
stack is being extended to cater to optical networks (GMPLS). Work is in progress on a
prototype of the LMP draft, which is used to manage the links between the optical network
elements. Wipro is also working on the OIF specification for ASON UNI.
References
1. Dimitris Pendarakis, Bala Rajagopalan, Debanjan Saha,Routing information
exchange in Optical Networks, Internet draft, draft-prs-optical-routing-01.txt, 2001
2. UNI 1.0 Signaling Specification, Optical Internetworking Forum, June 2001
3. Ayan Banerjee et al, Generalized Multi-protocol Label Switching: An overview of
Routing and Management Enhancements, IEEE Communications Magazine, January
2001
4. Sudhir Dixit, Yinghua Ye, Streamlining the Internet-Fiber Connection, IEEE Spectrum,
April 2001
5. Seetharaman et al., IP over Optical Networks, A summary of issues, Internet draft,
draft-osu-ipo-mpls-issues-02.txt, April 2001
6. Lang et al, Link Management Protocol (LMP), Internet Draft, draft-ietf-mpls-lmp-02.txt,
2001
7. Awduche et al, Multi-Protocol Lambda Switching: Combining MPLS Traffic
Engineering Control With Optical Cross connects, Internet Draft draft-awduche-mpls-
te-optical-03.txt, 2001
About the Author
Surbhi Sinha is a Consultant at Wipro Technologies and specialises in Optical
Networking solutions. Surbhi has been with Wipro for the past 8 years.
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