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Accelerating SDN-enabled automation with road-tested transport APIs

Accelerating SDN-enabled automation with road-tested transport APIs

Application programming interfaces (APIs) such as Transport API (T-API) and OpenConfig are key enablers for fulfilling the promise of SDN to automate network services and operations. This is especially critical as transport networks trend toward open, disaggregated architectures. The successful introduction of road-tested APIs into commercial networks depends on validated, multivendor interoperability in real-world applications. Validating API specifications is like testing high-performance automobiles on closed courses to prepare them to be rolled out en masse on public roadways.

Nokia actively participates in industry forums such as the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) to support open interface development, testing and standardization. We design T-API, OpenConfig, and other open networking interfaces and models into our WaveFabric platforms and use them through our WaveSuite applications. In addition, our WaveHub Lab environments help our customers and partners enable rapid integration testing to reduce time to revenue for new services.

OIF is accelerating the commercialization of transport SDN and transport network transformation for the 5G era by bringing new use cases and deployment scenarios into operator labs. It aims to test the multivendor interoperability of Layer 1 and Layer 0 optical transport network (OTN) control using Open Networking Foundation (ONF) T-API 2.1.3 and OpenConfig device APIs.

The OIF 2020 Transport SDN API interoperability demo provided a closed-course track for testing SDN API performance in a range of real-world conditions. Hosted by Telefonica in its Madrid, Spain lab, the multivendor tests were conducted over several weeks from September to November 2020.


The demo tests were based on network operator-defined use cases and deployment scenarios that covered programmability, control and automation. They stressed the current T-API and OpenConfig API specifications using a combination of transponders and controllers provided by five system vendors, including Nokia. The objective was to identify what works and what needs to be refined or enhanced in the specifications.

We supported the interoperability demo by testing the T-API and OpenConfig interfaces on our WaveFabric platforms, WaveSuite applications and Network Services Platform (NSP) controllers in the Telefonica lab. We also supported testing in a virtual environment with our WaveHub Lab, using third-party transponders and controllers as well as our controller. Our tested solution included:

  • WaveFabric 1830 PSS optical transponders with open agents/APIs
  • NSP controllers for multilayer and for optical transport (NRC-T)
  • WaveHub Lab for virtual testing of T-API through NRC-T
  • The WaveSuite Health and Analytics streaming telemetry application with NSP

The demo testing will allow operators to introduce proven technologies into field trials and ultimately into commercial service. By adopting standard Transport SDN APIs, operators can:

  • Create more agile networks that can adapt to dynamic service demands and traffic patterns
  • Streamline service provisioning and shorten time to revenue
  • Reduce maintenance and management requirements with simplified control and automation

OIF will share the test results with relevant standards bodies and the industry at large. This initiative builds on past OIF interoperability tests that identified the need for the T-API specification, which was developed by the Open Networking Foundation (ONF).

Through the support of standards development organizations such as ONF for API development and OIF for specification interoperability testing, Nokia is bringing proven transport APIs to the open road. These APIs will enable our transport network customers to optimize CAPEX, reduce OPEX and increase return on investment with a smooth, automated operating experience.

Learn more about Nokia open networking and automation solutions:

Learn more about the OIF Transport SDN interoperability demo:

Dave  Brown

About Dave Brown

Dave Brown is a senior manager of optical networking product marketing at Nokia. Dave’s experience includes product management and marketing roles in IC, electronic manufacturing services, and optical networking systems companies. He is the director of communications and past president of the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF).

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