Emulating Software-Defined Disaggregated Optical Networks in a Containerized Framework


Telecom operators’ infrastructure is undergoing high pressure to keep the pace with the traffic demand generated by the societal need of remote communications, bandwidth-hungry applications, and the fulfilment of 5G requirements. Software-defined networking (SDN) entered in scene decoupling the data-plane forwarding actions from the control-plane decisions, hence boosting network programmability and innovation. Optical networks are also capitalizing on SDN benefits jointly with a disaggregation trend that holds the promise of overcoming traditional vendor-locked island limitations. In this work, we present our framework for disaggregated optical networks that leverages on SDN and container-based management for a realistic emulation of deployment scenarios. Our proposal relies on Kubernetes for the containers’ control and management, while employing the NETCONF protocol for the interaction with the light-weight software entities, i.e., agents, which govern the emulated optical devices. Remarkably, our agents’ structure relies on components that offer high versatility for accommodating the wide variety of components and systems in the optical domain. We showcase our proposal with the emulation of an 18-node European topology employing Cassini-compliant optical models, i.e., a state-of-the-art optical transponder proposed in the Telecom Infrastructure Project. The combination of our versatile framework based on containerized entities, the automatic creation of agents and the optical-layer characteristics represents a novel approach suitable for operationally complex carrier-grade transport infrastructure with SDN-based disaggregated optical systems.

Applied Sciences, Vol. 11, No. 5, PP. 2081, DOI: 10.3390/app11052081