Transport SDN project tackles multi-layer network optimisation 

Created November 12, 2013
News and Business

System vendors Infinera and Brocade working with ESnet – the US Department of Energy’s Energy Sciences Network that operates a 100G network linking research centres and universities and undertakes network R&D – have used software-defined networking (SDN) technology to provision and optimise traffic across several networking layers. 

Infinera and ESnet demonstrated OpenFlow provisioning of transport resources a year ago. The latest work has OpenFlow provisioning at the packet and optical layers and performing network optimisation.

ESnet’s circuit reservation platform is used to request network resources via an SDN controller which oversees the network comprising Brocade’s 100 Gigabit Ethernet MLXe IP router and Infinera’s DTN-X platform.

“We have added more carrier-grade capabilities,” said Mike Capuano, vice president of corporate marketing at Infinera. “Not just provisioning, but now we have topology discovery and network configuration.”

“The demonstration is a positive step in the development of SDN because it showcases the multi-layer transport provisioning and management that many operators consider the prime use case for transport SDN,” confirmed Rick Talbot, principal analyst, optical infrastructure at Current Analysis.

Further work is needed before the demonstration system is robust enough for commercial deployment. “This is going to take some time: 2014 is the year of test and trials in the carrier WAN while 2015 is when you will see production deployment,” said Capuano. “If service providers are making decision on what platforms they want to deploy, it is important to chose ones that are going to position them well to move to SDN when the time comes.”

The Infinera/ESnet collaboration is one of several involving optical vendors and partners working to extend SDN in the WAN. ADVA Optical Networking and IBM are developing SDN technology to connect data centres, while Ciena and partners have created a test bed for SDN in the WAN.

By Roy Rubenstein

See also:

Press release: Infinera and Brocade Collaborate with ESnet to Demonstrate 100G Multi-layer Network Optimization using SDN

Gazettabyte: SDN starts to fulfill its network optimisation promise


This article was written
by Roy Rubenstein

is the editor of and has been researching and writing about the telecom and semiconductor industries for over 20 years.