Working Toward the Next Generation of Networks

IEEE standards projects aim to advance SDNs

8 December 2014

The IEEE Communications Society met in April with experts from academia and seven leading communications companies to discuss standardization opportunities for software-defined networks. The meeting resulted in the establishment of two research groups and two study groups, which are expected to lead to IEEE Standards Association working groups.

Two related IEEE projects are already under way: P1903 and P802.1CF.

GROUP effort

The Research Group on Software Defined and Virtualized Wireless Access is working on interoperability issues, ways to extend software-defined network technology to mobile devices, the use of SDNs to control and program network resources, and methods for extracting and managing information necessary for wireless network controllers.

The Research Group on Structured Abstractions is identifying and formulating standardization efforts. The group is working on creating the object structure of the common data layer that the integration framework components use for application message processing. This is needed for standardizing network interfaces and descriptors.

The Study Group on Service Virtualization hopes to leverage the existing body of work on next-generation service overlay networks. The goal is to provide new capabilities by merging and exploiting real-time service, terminal, and network information for each network. The group also plans to define service-specific functions for virtualization and softwarization.

The Study Group on Security, Reliability, and Performance for Software-Defined and Virtualized Ecosystems is working to identify critical SDN framework details including service virtualization priority classes; reliability, security, and performance use cases and applications; and key performance indicators.


The following standards are under development by IEEE working groups.

IEEE P1903 “Next Generation Service Overlay Networks (NGSON)” is an IEEE Communications Society–sponsored effort to standardize a service ecosystem for the benefit of network operators, service and content providers, and end users. Protocols are being developed for service creation, content delivery, and self-organizing management. A reference framework of IP-based service overlay networks for collaborative and customer-centric service delivery has been standardized already. It includes context-aware, dynamically adaptive, and self-organizing network capabilities such as advanced routing and forwarding schemes. The goals are to accelerate the proliferation of SDN services and applications and to offer a more efficient way of providing them through a service-architecture ecosystem of one-stop shopping for service-specific challenges.

IEEE P802.1CF “Open Mobile Network Interface for Omni-Range Area Networks (OmniRAN)” is focused on network reference models and functional descrip­tions based on the family of IEEE 802 standards, which deal with local and metropolitan area networks. The project encompasses work on functional entities and reference points along with behavioral and functional descriptions of communications involved in SDNs.

For more information, visit the IEEE Standards Association website.

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