Global Lambda Integrated Facility

GLIF Techs take the high ground in Albuquerque

25 February 2006 -- The GLIF Technical and Control Plane Working Groups held meetings on 8-9 February 2006 in conjunction with the Internet2/ESnet Joint Techs Workshop in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. With an average elevation of nearly one mile, Albuquerque offered a rarified atmosphere for following up the work begun at the previous meetings in San Diego in September 2005.

The meetings opened with a joint session of the working groups, to review progress on the identification of GLIF resources (such as lambdas and optical exchanges), and to define standard terms for their usage. These resources are being documented on the GLIF website along with appropriate contact information, in order to better facilitate co-ordination between the GLIF participants. In addition, a nomenclature to describe these resources was formulated, as different terms are currently used to denote the same things.

It was agreed that lambdas are high-capacity circuits based on an optical wavelength, which usually terminate at exchange points known as GOLEs (GLIF Open Lightpath Exchanges). The GOLEs themselves are comprised of equipment that is capable of interconnecting lambdas and performing lightpath switching across them, whilst lightpaths are communications channels (virtual circuits) established over lambdas, that connect two end-points in the network.

The two working groups then broke out into separate sessions. The Technical Working Group discussed ways of improving connectivity by improving fault management processes, as well as defining different contractual models. The session also featured a presentation from Charles Yun (Internet2) on security considerations in optical networks. The development of an automated registry of GLIF resources was examined in more depth.

The meeting of the Control Plane Working Group focused mainly on network service definitions and network element descriptions. Service definitions allow to specify the characteristics of a service (for example, HD television) in order to understand if a network is able to support such a service. A network element description allows to specify network interfaces in order to connect one interface to another. The discussion about these topics was triggered by three presentations. Andree Toonk (SARA) and Jeroen van der Ham (University of Amsterdam) focused on the means that have been produced in their institutions to describe networks, and how these can be used to provide an overview of resources and make path discovery easier. Jerry Sobieski (Mid-Atlantic Crossroads) gave a talk about common service definitions and showed how the common service definition was used to describe the HOPI service.

The meetings concluded with a further joint session to allow both working groups to update each other on their progress. The next meetings will be held during the 6th Annual LambdaGrid Workshop in Tokyo, Japan in September 2006.

About GLIF -- The Global Lambda Integrated Facility is an international virtual organisation of NRENs, consortia and institutions that promotes lambda networking. GLIF provides lambdas internationally as an integrated facility to support data-intensive scientific research, and supports middleware development for lambda networking. It brings together some of the world's premier networking engineers to develop an international infrastructure by identifying equipment, connection requirements, and necessary engineering functions and services. More information is available on the GLIF website at