OpenFlow and GMPLS unified control planes: Testbed implementation and comparative study

Finding an effective and simple unified control plane (UCP) for IP/dense wavelength division multiplexing multilayer optical networks is very important for network providers. Generalized multi-protocol label switching (GMPLS) has been in development for decades to control optical transportnetworks. However, it is extremely difficult to deploy in real operational products, as there is still much non-GMPLS-capable equipment. On the other hand, OpenFlow (OF), one of the most widely usedsoftware defined networking implementations, can be used as a UCP for packet and circuit switchednetworks [“Packet and circuit network convergence with OpenFlow,” in OFC/ NFOEC, Mar. 2010].

In this paper, we propose and experimentally evaluate two solutions using OF to control both packet and optical networks (OpenFlow Messages Mapping and OpenFlow Extension). The overall feasibility of these solutions is assessed, and their performance is evaluated and compared with the GMPLS approach, using a custom-built simulator. Simulation results show that the Open-Flow Extension solution outperforms the OpenFlow Messages Mapping and GMPLS solutions.