October 16, 2018
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT; Headquartered in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan; President and CEO: Jun Sawada) has been collaborating with its global partners through activities in the Telecom Infra Project (TIP, *1). The corporation has developed the Transponder Abstraction Interface (TAI), which facilitates disaggregation between software and hardware in inter-datacenter optical transmission networks. Disaggregating hardware from software can offer incorporation of the latest technologies rapidly in an independent cycle; we aim to increase the added value of Cognitive Foundation® (*2). A working model showing this result will be exhibited at TIP Summit 2018.
The implementation of network technologies as open source software started in Silicon Valley. It creates flexibility for network operators. Projects such as the Open Compute Project (OCP, *3), TIP, etc., encourage newcomers to enter the field and bring innovation to the networking device market. In 2015, OCP officially adopted the Switch Abstraction Interface (*4), a common interface for Switch ASIC developed under the leadership of Microsoft. The same trend can be seen in the optical transmission network market. The Open Optical & Packet Transport (OOPT, *5) project group in TIP, in which many service providers and telecom carriers participate, has proposed white boxes that integrates packet switching and optical transmission functions. Through this method, innovations are designed to transcend corporate and technical boundaries.
Conventionally, the management and control interfaces for devices used in inter-datacenter optical transmission networks have included many elements that were different and often proprietary among vendors. This complicated situation has been a barrier to disaggregation between hardware and software. The TAI construct allows multi-vendor optical network elements to be managed and controlled using common software codes (Fig. 1). Disaggregating hardware from software can offer incorporation of the latest technologies in an independent cycle and fast integration of elements in optical systems at a lower cost.
NTT proposed its first interface specification and architecture to TIP in December 2017. Since February 2018, collaborating with global network operating system (NOS, *6) vendors, original design manufacturing (ODM, *7) vendors, optical vendors and other partners such as Facebook, NTT has driven the effort to define the TAI. Cumulus Networks, IP Infusion, Fujitsu, Edgecore Networks, Oclaro, Fujitsu Optical Components and Acacia Communications participate in the creation of TAI libraries. NOS vendors have incorporated these libraries into their commercial software products.
We have combined the TAI with open source software, such as the Switch Abstraction Interface and SONiC (*8); implemented in a white box system, and demonstrated rapid integration for low-cost development of control software for optical transmission devices. A working demonstration will be exhibited at TIP Summit 2018, operating with an Open Line System (OLS). By defining an open API for the TAI, NTT aims to develop an inter-datacenter optical transmission network that can meet the requirements of a wide range of global partners. Building on this result, NTT will expand its activities into the switching and cellular fields, and continue to promote open standards in collaboration with its global partners through activities in TIP.
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation
Science and Core Technology Laboratory Group, Public Relations
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