ITTC Project

Open Control Architectures

Project Award Date: 07-21-1999


The provision of new services on current and future high-speed networks will require network elements to be flexible and easily controlled. To enable this, a simple, powerful, and flexible network control mechanism is needed. This must be capable of meeting the needs of multiple network services and specialized services tailored to specific communications needs, including video distribution, remote sensing, or conferencing. Several approaches to the solution of this problem have been proposed, such as the original GSMP methodology; the cplane, Inc., switchlets concept; and the Cisco VSI scheme.

The significance of off-board control and management is that it allows Sprint to direct the networks evolution more effectively. This is possible because the data and control elements are separated, and perhaps even supplied by different vendors, so incremental changes can be made to portions of these network items without being tied to a particular vendors solution. The insertion of new capabilities and new services into the network is thus made simpler and more manageable. Network elements become more controllable and configurable, without waiting on vendor-specific solutions for that particular piece of the network. Different control architectures can be used for selected portions of the elements, thus making these elements more flexible and valuable, as they can provide multiple services. Sprint can upgrade specific control architectures independently of others.

Through a mixture of implementation, measurement, and architectural analysis, this research addresses a series of objectives including (a) comparing Cisco VSI with GSMP and switchlets, (b) developing and using a tag switching/MPLS control architecture in a switchlets environment, (c) measuring the performance of switchlets, (d) investigating GSMP support of MPLS, and (e) developing and transferring administrative knowledge of next-generation technologies.


Faculty Investigator(s): Joseph Evans (PI)

Project Sponsors

Primary Sponsor(s): Sprint

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