Optimizing Multi-Layer Networks with Transport SDN

The growth and evolution in traffic types and patterns over IP backbones is causing cable operators and service providers to reexamine the best ways to not only architect their IP and optical transport networks, but also the various ways to manage, orchestrate, and optimize multi-layer networks. The conventional approach is to place all networking functions solely within the IP router layer and to leverage the router vendor's embedded control plane protocols, and employing an optical network to essentially deliver static, dumb "pipes" to interconnect routers. With the recent emergence of SDN technology and its ability to decouple the control plane from the forwarding plane, resulting in direct, explicit control and programmability of packet flows, operators are now beginning to explore whether SDN has a role in improving the operations and economics of their multi-layer backbones and optimizing the performance of their packet networks. Furthermore, as Transport SDN begins to emerge for converged optical systems with integrated OTN/Packet switching, new options for deploying and managing multi-layer, multi-vendor networks emerge.