SDN work gains momentum in ITU-T SG 11 and 13; Workshop to Progress SDN standardization

Standardization work on software-defined networking (SDN), a key priority for ITU-T in 2013, is progressing well in ITU-T’s Study Group 11 (SG11) with a number of important specifications nearing maturity following a meeting of two specialized groups in June.SG11 is tasked with developing the signalling requirements and protocols on SDN. The work will align with the functional requirements and architectures developed by ITU-T’s Study Group 13. In addition a Joint Coordination Activity on SDN was recently established to coordinate the work.

Matt Lopez, NEC Corporation and Rapporteur on Question 4/11 Signalling requirements and protocols for Bearer and Resource control in emerging telecommunication environments: “ITU-T’s consensus-based standards process provides an opportunity for the industry to agree common objectives for the emerging SDN environment, and resulting standards will do much to unify industry players in their work to introduce SDN on a large scale.”

Draft Recommendations in progress include a document specifying the scenarios and signalling requirements using SDN technologies in Broadband Access Network (BAN). A software-defined BAN (SBAN) simplifies network configuration, making deployment of new services easier and improving broadband service provision. Working document is only available hto ITU-T members.

Another document provides a gap analysis of SDN work going on across ITU and other standardization bodies as well as a framework, requirements and architecture for signalling in SDN. Working document is available here (members only).In addition SG 11 experts are working on a Recommendation that describes the scenarios and signalling requirements for a unified intelligent programmable interface for IPv6 service deployment. This working document is only available to ITU-T members.

The next physical meetings of the groups focusing on SDN will take place November 2013 in Uganda. For updated information see ITU-T Study Group 11 homepage.

ITU’s standardization work on SDN started in ITU-T Study Group 13 – Future networks including cloud computing, mobile and next-generation networks. SG 13 standardizes SDN’s functional requirements and architectures, and SG 11 thus works closely with SG 13 as it builds on this work by developing SDN’s signaling requirements and protocols.

SG 11’s recent meeting in Geneva received contributions calling for new SDN work items, including:

  • Scenarios and signaling requirements for software-defined BAN (SBAN)
  • Framework of signalling for SDN
  • Scenarios and signalling requirements of unified intelligent programmable interface for IPv6

Workshop to Progress Software-Defined Networking Standardization

An ITU workshop on software-defined networking (SDN) will gather a global selection of standardization experts to progress SDN standards-development with one aim to establish efficient coordination  of future work.

SDN is a promising route towards the introduction and realization of network virtualization, a major shift in networking technology which will give network operators the ability to establish and manage new virtualized resources and networks without deploying new hardware technologies. ICT market players see SDN and network virtualization as critical to countering the increases in network complexity, management and operational costs traditionally associated with the introduction of new services or technologies.

SDN proposes to decouple the control and data planes by way of a centralized, programmable control-plane and data-plane abstraction. This abstraction will usher in greater speed and flexibility in routing instructions and the security and energy management of network equipment such as routers and switches.

The upcoming workshop responds to Resolution 77 – Standardization work in ITU-T for software defined networking agreed by the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-12) in Dubai, UAE, 20-29 November 2012. SDN was emphasized as a strategic priority for ITU-T by the meeting of the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Group, 18 November 2012 (The 2012 CTO Meeting Communiqué can be found here). The Global Standards Symposium (GSS-12) held the day preceding WTSA-12, 19 November 2012, acted on the recommendations of the CTO Group by taking SDN as one of its points of focus and feeding the conclusions of its SDN discussion into WTSA-12.

The workshop will take place at ITU Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, 4 June 2013, within the annual meeting of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG), 4-7 June 2013. It will be co-chaired by Wei Feng, Huawei, China, Chairman of ITU-T Study Group 11 (Signalling requirements, protocols and test specifications); and Chae-Sub Lee, Kaist, Republic of Korea, Chairman of ITU-T Study Group 13 (Future networks including cloud computing, mobile and NGN). Confirmed speakers include representatives of ITU-T Study Groups 11 and 13; the University of Tokyo, Japan; MIIT/CATR, China; Cisco Systems; the ETSI Industry Specification Group on Network Function Virtualization (ISG NFV); and the Open Networking Foundation (ONF).

SDN Workshop Details at: