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GENIE - GMPLS and MPLS in Enhanced IP Network
For further information please contact:

Adam Kapovits
Project Supervisor
Wieblinger Weg 19/4
69123 Heidelberg, Germany

Project Information
What is this Project about?

MPLS is one of the most successful technologies of the last couple of years. Most carriers have implemented MPLS in their IP backbone networks by now. MPLS provides the carriers with a faster and more economical network management and new tools to build innovative services. However, the MPLS evolution path is still far from completion and new opportunities and challenges lie ahead for network carriers. One of these challenging future tasks is the implementation of a Generalised Multi Protocol Label Switching (GMPLS) network architecture. GMPLS makes it possible to manage the whole network with one management plane. GMPLS offers carriers the possibility of a more efficient network management and providing new attractive services to the customers. In the meantime, the MPLS network concept needs to adapt to and embrace new developments in other networking fields, such as mobile IP, IPv6 and new access technologies. Activities of relevant standardisation bodies – eg. IETF (PPVPN, CCAMP, MPLS Working Groups) will be closely followed by the project. A Close cooperation with standardisation efforts will be carried out.

Data traffic demand grew exponentially in the last couple of years, prompting massive interest and investment in optical networking, as the only transport technology that can provide the required bandwidth and keep up with the growth. In addition to Synchronous Optical Network (SONET)/Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH) systems, Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) and Optical Cross-connect (OXC) systems are being developed to increase network capacity. Currently, the optical control plane is in the focus of interest, which is intended to provide simpler, faster and more flexible provisioning of optical facilities and resources in optical networks. Historically, a centralised connection management approach has been used to manage resources and set up connections. The drawback of using a centralised approach is that it requires a complex Operating Support System (OSS). Experience has shown that the process of integrating equipment from multiple vendors into one single OSS is difficult, costly and lengthy. Another approach that some vendors have been pursuing is development of their own proprietary control plane solutions. The biggest issue with this is interoperability. It is almost impossible for different proprietary implementations to inter-operate, unless the vendors co-operate and jointly develop their implementations. Therefore, a common control plane standard is important, and fortunately, various segments of the industry are working towards it.

It is very likely – if not certain – that the Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) Traffic Engineering (TE) model will become the next generation routing model for IP networks, and is promising enough to be extended to act as the control plane of optical networks. Generalised MPLS (GMPLS) is the extension of the MPLS protocol that addresses the needs of the optical control plane.

What are the main objectives of this Project?

  • Provide an overview of existing MPLS implementations
  • Identify innovative future services
  • Experiment with services in existing demonstrator networks
  • Provide
  • An overview of GMPLS and its benefits
  • Recommendations for interconnecting carriers MPLS networks (inter-AS MPLS VPNs)
  • Migration guidelines for carriers regarding how to upgrade their network infrastructure to GMPLS

What are the key results for this Project?

The project will develop guidelines for carriers, who are in the process of interconnecting their MPLS networks and/or upgrading their MPLS network infrastructure or introducing GMPLS. New challenges posed by trends such as user mobility, IPv6, new access and transport technologies will be also taken into account. In particular, the project will review the GMPLS technology, its advantages and the new services it makes possible. New services will be defined that enable a more economic use of the existing MPLS networks. The results will also support decision makers with the comparison of different technology trends and implementations, as well as with statements regarding the opportunities and disadvantages of migrating to GMPLS represents.

What relationship exists to other organisations or bodies?

Some relationship will 

Project Results
Deliverable Title  No Issue date
Status of MPLS and GMPLS D1 September 2003
Innovative future services D2 January 2005
MPLS and GMPLS trials and Experiments D3 December 2004
Building and operating GMPLS networks D4 January 2005