OIF Partners With UNH-IOL to Certify Optical Control Plane UNI

Enables Multi-vendor, Multi-layer Interoperability Using RSVP-TE Signaling

The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) today announced an agreement with the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Lab (UNH-IOL), an independent provider of testing and standards conformance services for the networking industry, to provide certification for Optical Control Plane User Network Interfaces (UNI) based on industry standards.  In line with OIF’s mission to enable global interoperability in optical transport networks, the Forum’s certification program will address the interoperability of optical and packet products, complementing OIF’s work on unlocking the benefits of SDN for carriers.

While an optical control plane is already deployed by a large number of operators around the world, interoperability between vendors is constrained by lack of an interoperable UNI. Multi-vendor interoperability of the optical control plane remains absent from commercial products, although various demonstrations have proven it is feasible.  The optical control plane facilitates operations and enables dynamic provisioning, restoration and optimization across optical networks. The UNI extends these capabilities to client nodes and the OIF’s UNI certification will help enable the availability of control plane interoperability in commercial products.

“The advent of interoperability in optical networks is a paradigm shift, which will dramatically increase flexibility and innovation in our networks,” said Philippe Lucas, SVP Strategy Architecture and Standards of Orange. “The OIF certification is a step to unlock the market by providing a unique reference and a critical market advantage to compliant, interoperable products.”

“The benefits of multi-vendor interoperability combined with certification can help broaden and accelerate the market for optical products, reduce costs, introduce new features and operational agility,” said Timothy Winters, Senior Executive of UNH-IOL.  “Certification can fulfill operator’s and vendor’s requirements with reduced repetitive testing and a higher level of confidence when going to market.”

“Development of the UNI certification test specification is happening at an important time in our industry,” said Tim Doiron, Principal Analyst Intelligent Networking, ACG Research.  “We’ve never gotten the optical domain out of vendor isolation when it comes to the optical control plane. Certification and interoperability will aid service providers in their migration toward a multi-vendor programmable, dynamic optical underlay with increasing automation, service agility and reduced operational costs.”

The Optical Control Plane UNI Certification Program

The new certification program, along with OIF’s well established and successful interop testing process and implementation agreements, helps the industry realize open, programmable and interoperable optical networks in commercial deployments, bringing to reality the promised benefits of transport SDN, with accelerated time-to-revenue coupled with increased operational efficiency. 

  • Certification is based on compliance with relevant industry standards including IETF RFCs on RSVP-TE signaling.
  • Addresses the main use cases enabled by an optical control plane, including simplified provisioning, automated path selection, dynamic restoration and multi-layer optimization.
  • Enables several deployment cases which are of primary importance to operators and require immediate interoperability, including IP/WDM integration, packet-optical interconnect, multilayer optimization and alien wavelength deployments.
  • Contributes to OIF efforts to unlock the benefits of SDN for flexible networks
  • Facilitates multi-vendor deployments.

Development of the UNI certification test specification is starting now. Visit the OIF webpage for more information. Formal testing of participating vendor products will start early 2017 and pre-testing is already open at UNH-IOL. The first OIF certified products are expected to be on the market in approximately 12 months from now.

About the OIF

Launched in 1998, the OIF is the first industry group to unite representatives from data and optical networking disciplines, including many of the world’s leading carriers, component manufacturers and system vendors. The OIF promotes the development and deployment of interoperable networking solutions and services through the creation of Implementation Agreements (IAs) for optical, interconnect, network processing, component and networking systems technologies. The OIF actively supports and extends the work of standards bodies and industry forums with the goal of promoting worldwide compatibility of optical internetworking products.  Information on the OIF can be found at

About the UNH-IOL

Founded in 1988, the UNH-IOL provides independent, broad-based interoperability and standards conformance testing for data, telecommunications and storage networking products and technologies. Combining extensive staff experience, standards-bodies participation and a 28,000+ square foot facility, the UNH-IOL helps companies efficiently and cost effectively deliver products to the market.