Network convergence has been one of the hot topics in industrial and scientific conferences and congresses during the last years. In this sense, IP technologies seem to be the industry election for matching the application requirements and network operator’s constraints. For instance, IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) is a wide implemented platform which is been commercially adopted for service delivery.
Within the Long Term Evolution (LTE) adoption, Ethernet will provide an end-to-end convergence scenario as Ethernet will be the transmission layer for backhaul, aggregation, backbone and core networks. LTE provides a packet-based network for easy service deployment. This allows Telecom operators to easy match application and service requirements depending on the access technology.
Nevertheless, some improvements have to be done on Ethernet equipment in order to fully support 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPPP) and Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) services, such as new mechanisms of synchronization to offer voice oriented channels with low latency requirements for end-to-end connections. Actually, synchronized Ethernet is a key technology in order to develop efficient data transport over LTE systems.
For further information read G.8262: Timing characteristics of a synchronous Ethernet equipment slave clock.
The Distributed Application and Network Area from i2CAT research lines cover the following technologies related to network convergence:
- Network infrastructure management applications
- Management interfaces: TL-1, vendor-specific CLI, Netconf, SNMP
- Recursive access rights delegation (IaaS)
- Automated network provisioning, bandwidth on demand (NSI)
- Extensible, modular and pluggable multi-vendor applications
- Early prototyping of standards (TMF IPsphere, OGF NSI)
- Software Defined Network (OpenFlow).
- Recursive InterNetwork Architecture (RINA)
- Full replacement for the current networking stack (from TCP down to the physical level)
- Interoperable testbed management solutions based on SFA (Slice-based Facility Architecture)
On the other hand, i2CAT EXPERIMENTA platform offers the following MEF Services in order to develop proof of concepts and validation activities using a real network.
- MEF 9 Ethernet Services
- MEF 14 Traffic Management
- E-LINE, E-LAN, E-TREE Services
- Ethernet OAM
- E2E QoS & VLANs Connections
– 1G/10G L2 ports
– Up to 10 Gbps Ethernet Services
- Functionalities: Native VLAN ID/Priority, LAG, Shaper, Policer; VLAN; Policies; QoS
i2CAT EXPERIMENTA open testbed allows access to network resources as a service at different network layers. Users can configure the network to fulfill their needs. The optical validation platform is designed to support multivendor equipment. i2CAT EXPERIMENTA platform offers multi-layer services to test network applications and devices at different OSI layers on a real environment. Physical network substrate is virtualized to offer virtual isolated slices to final users.
Users can manage and configure their virtual substrate through a dedicated software tool which deals with hardware particularities and manages concurrency. By virtualizing the network, parallel disruptive tests are supported running above the same physical infrastructure. The collaborative platform environment promotes research, development and innovation between public and private (PPP) entities.
Finally, Barcelona will be the Mobile World Capital until 2018 and it brings an ideal opportunity to local industry, administration and research institutes for creating an open innovation ecosystem.