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Japanese companies team up for SDN on WANs

Posted: 12 Mar 2014  Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:NEC  O3 project  software-defined networking  SDN 

NEC Corp., Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp., NTT Communications Corp. (NTT Com), Fujitsu Ltd and Hitachi Ltd have joined forces to develop technologies that enable software-defined networking (SDN) compatibility for wide area networks, including platforms for comprehensively integrating and managing multiple varieties of wide area network infrastructure and general-purpose network control applications used with those platforms.

The technologies were developed through the "Open Innovation Over Network Platforms" research and development project. Also known as the "O3 (O Three) Project," this initiative was launched in June 2013 based on research consigned by the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications' Research & Development of Network Virtualisation Technology, and has been promoted jointly by the five companies.

The project has defined unified expressions of network information and built a database for handling them, allowing network resources in lower layers such as optical networks to be easily handled at upper layers such as packet transport networks. This enables the provision of software that allows operation management and control of different types of networks based on common items. With these technologies, telecommunications carriers can quickly and easily provide virtual networks that combine optical, packet, wireless and other features.

Foremost, these achievements allow service providers to inform telecommunications carriers about their desired network configurations by, for instance, easily entering them via a website. Telecommunications carriers will be able to build virtual networks that satisfy the needs of service providers by flexibly combining optical and packet transport networks. They will also be able to comprehend what is happening when and where on the virtual networks, instantly and accurately. Moreover, in the future, telecommunications carriers will be able to reduce the time to design, construct and change networks in response to service providers' requests by about 90 per cent compared to conventional methods by having network devices in different layers coordinate with each other.

Details of the achievements are as follows:

1) Unified network information database and resource allocation technology

To permit management of each network comprising multiple wide area networks under unified rules, an expression system for common handling of necessary information (including network configuration and communications status information) was defined, and a network information database for handling it was built. This enables easy connection between the optical network as the lower layer and an upper layer (packet transport network), as well as coordination among related devices, which enables path-setting in multiple layers.

Fast provision of network services was also enabled by automatic allocation of resources, including band frequency needed in the optical and packet layers, based on the network information database.

2) Technologies for common control and management of networks

A software technology that permits operation management and control of multiple networks was developed using the above network information database.

Specifically, the rapid building of a new virtual network compatible with an existing large-scale network was made possible. This was enabled by levelling the control load through virtualisation of functions needed for the mutual connection between a new network and existing network. A network transfer technology, which supports gradual transfer from an existing network to a new network for their mutual connection, was also developed. Provision of optical core network resources optimal for band frequencies requested by end users was also enabled.


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