IEEE to Standardize Fog Network Architecture based on Open Fog Consortium Reference Model

The OpenFog Consortium has announced that its OpenFog Reference Architecture will serve as the basis for a new working group formed by the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) to accelerate the creation and adoption of industry standards for fog computing and networking.  This and other future standards on Fog computing and networking will serve as a significant catalyst to propel the digital revolution occurring as a result of advanced Internet of Things (IoT), 5G and embedded artificial intelligence (AI) applications.

Fog computing and networking is an advanced distributed architecture that brings computing, storage, control, and networking functions closer to the data-producing sources along the cloud-to-thing continuum. Applicable across industry sectors, fog computing effectively addresses issues related to security, cognition, agility, latency and efficiency (SCALE).

The inaugural meeting of the IEEE ComSoc Standards Working Group on Fog Computing and Networking Architecture Framework- Project P1934 [1] is scheduled for November 2017, with its work expected to be complete by April 2018.  Additional details were presented at two Fog World Congress sessions I attended on October 31st and November 1st in Santa Clara, CA (see below).

Note 1.  IEEE P1934 proposed standard: OpenFog Reference Architecture for Fog Computing:

-Working Group: Fog Computing Architecture Framework
-Working Group Chair: John Zao  –  jkzao@openfogconsortium.org
-Working Group Vice-Chair:  Tao Zhang  –  taozhang1@yahoo.com

-Sponsoring Society and Committee: IEEE Communications Society/Standards Development Board (COM/SDB)
-Sponsor Chair: Mehmet Ulema –  m.ulema@ieee.org

http://standards.ieee.org/develop/wg/FOG.html

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

The OpenFog Reference Architecture is a universal technical framework designed to enable the data-intensive requirements of IoT, 5G and AI applications.  It is a structural and functional prescription of an open, inter-operable, horizontal system architecture for distributing computing, storage, control and networking functions closer to the users along a cloud-to-thing continuum. The framework encompasses various approaches to disperse information technology (IT), communication technology (CT) and operational technology (OT) services through an information messaging infrastructure as well as legacy and emerging multi-access networking technologies.

“This represents a giant step forward for fog computing and for the industry, which will soon have the specifications for use in developing industrial strength fog-based hardware, software and services,” said John Zao, Chair, IEEE Standards Working Group on Fog Computing and Networking Architecture Framework (and Associate Professor at Taiwan Chiao-Tung University). “The objective from the beginning was that the Open Fog Reference Architecture would serve as the high-level basis for industry standards, and the IEEE is looking forward to the collaboration in this effort.”

“The standards work produced by this new working group will be crucial in the continued growth of fog computing innovation and things-to-cloud systems,” said Dr. Mehmet Ulema, Director, Standards Development, IEEE Communications Society, and Professor at Manhattan College, New York. “This also is an outstanding example of the strategic alliance between IEEE and OpenFog to co-create and co-promote fog networking concepts and architectures.”

“The mandate for fog computing is growing stronger, driven by the recognition that traditional architectures can’t deliver on the operational challenges for today’s advanced digital applications,” said Helder Antunes, chairman of the OpenFog Consortium and Senior Director at Cisco.  “On behalf of the members of the OpenFog technical community, I’m pleased to see the recognized value of the OpenFog Reference Architecture and IEEE’s commitment to fog computing and networking via the formation of this new working group.”

…………………………………………………………………………………………

IEEE ComSoc Rapid Reaction Standards Activities – RRSA

On November 1st at the Open Fog World Congress, IEEE ComSoc Standards Chair Alex Gelman, PhD explained the RRSA mechanism to define new IEEE ComSoc standards for Fog computing/networking and other projects related to communications technologies.  Special targets for IEEE standardization are emerging technologies

Methodology:

  • Invite industry practitioners that have ideas for specific standardization projects or for areas of standardization
  • Identify relevant leading experts in the target field, e.g. Industrial  and academic researchers
  • Leverage IEEE ComSoc Technical Committees
  • Issue a call for participation, solicit project proposals and/or position statements
  • Select participants based on proposals/positions statements submissions
  • Selected proposals are typically selected that can be clustered in 1-3 groups
  • 1 day face to face meeting to come to agreement on a proposed new standard
  • If approved, culminates in a PAR – Project Authorization Request

Some observations made during OpenFog RRSA:

  • Scholarly nature of Fog Technologies
    • Fog/Edge technologies are still, at least in part, in conceptual phase
    • It is critical to engage Industrial and academic researchers in discussion and standardization
  • Multiplicity of standards
    • Notable complimentary efforts, e.g. MEC
    • The bad news about standards is that there are many to choose from
    • The good news about standards is that there are many to choose from
    • “Legislating” any particular technology will impede innovation
  • Properly architecting standards is key to harmonization of efforts
    • Early cooperation with IEEE and external standards groups is highly desirable for harmonization
    • Proper modularity of standards is critical for future Interoperability, Interworking, or Coexistence mechanisms
  • Viable Standardization Strategy
    • Harmonize IEEE standardization method with OpenFog entity-based membership is a good idea
    • Deploy adoption and standard development methods as appropriate
    • Position OpenFog Standardization among IEEE Strategic projects for 5G and Beyond

Related IEEE Standards Projects:

  • IEEE P1934 “Open Fog Reference Architecture for Fog Computing”
  • IEEE P2413™: Draft Standard for an Architectural Framework for the Internet of Things

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Future Fog Computing and Networking Standards:

During a November 1st late afternoon discussion on Fog/IEEE standards, Professor Zao said that in the future, the Open Fog Consortium would work with IEEE and other standards bodies/entities on other Fog computing standards. This author suggested that future Fog networking standards follow the CCITT (now ITU-T) model adopted for ISDN in the early to mid 1980’s:  define the reference architecture, functional groupings and reference points between functional groupings.  Then standardize the interfaces, protocols and message sets based on pointers to existing standards (where applicable) or new standards.  Several attendees agreed with that approach with the goal of being able to certify compliance to exposed Fog networking interfaces.

References:

OpenFog Reference Architecture

https://www.openfogconsortium.org/wp-content/uploads/OpenFog_Reference_Architecture_2_09_17-FINAL.pdf

 

IEEE Standards Association:  http://standards.ieee.org/

IEEE Standards for 5G and Beyond: https://5g.ieee.org/standards

IEEE IoT Initiative: https://iot.ieee.org/

IEEE SDN/NFV Initiative: https://sdn.ieee.org/

IEEE 5G Initiative: https://5g.ieee.org/

…………………………………………….

 

Recent Posts