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 Monday, April 21, 2008

Fears that a set of next-generation network transport specifications developed by ITU-T could cause interoperability problems have been allayed.

The IETF and ITU will work together to extend IETF MPLS functionality to address the needs of the transport network. The work will move forward recognizing that the sole design authority for MPLS resides in the IETF, and the domain of expertise for Transport Network Infrastructure resides in ITU-T SG15.

ITU-T has been developing extensions to Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) MPLS to address the requirements of the transport network (T-MPLS). However, concerns were raised by the IETF that the approach taken by the ITU-T was incompatible with widely deployed - MPLS - technology. These concerns have been allayed with the agreement that the IETF and ITU-T will work jointly on the development of a transport profile for MPLS technology which will now be referred to as “MPLS-TP”.

The Joint Working Team (see previous newslog entry) consisting of experts from the IETF and ITU-T has recommended that IETF MPLS technology should be extended to meet the requirements of the transport network. The proposal is based on technical analysis that showed that the IETF MPLS architecture can be extended to provide the functionality required by the transport network as defined by ITU-T's Study Group 15. The ITU-T has accepted this proposal and the IETF will develop a transport profile for MPLS (MPLS-TP) with input from ITU-T to ensure that the requirements of the transport network are fully addressed. Details of the proposal and the technical consideration are available here.

Malcolm Johnson, Director, ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau said, "Given the complexity of today’s networks it is inevitable that we will, from time-to-time, see divergent approaches. What is important is that we quickly agree on a way forward. The experts in the joint group have worked hard to find a cooperative solution rather than going our separate ways. This is an excellent result and bodes well for the future collaboration between ITU and IETF".”

Russ Housley Chair of the IETF, "I am very optimistic about the outcome, and I see this as a significant milestone in the cooperation between the ITU-T and the IETF."