Abstract

Passive optical networks (PON) have become a promising solution for accessing networks because of the advantages they offer, such as high efficiency, security, and cost reduction. However, network management in PON is not yet automated and needs network operator intervention. In recent years, software-defined networking (SDN) has become an emerging technology. Through the separation of control and data plane in SDN switches, SDN provides dynamically fine-grained traffic control that enhances total network controllability and manageability. In this paper, we leverage the benefits of gigabit-capable passive optical network (GPON), while enhancing its capabilities on traffic management to the same level as an SDN switch. More specifically, we abstract the underlying physical GPON into an OpenFlow-enabled virtual SDN switch. The virtual switch can be used to connect multiple sites in widespread geographic locations. Similar to a real OpenFlow switch, a GPON virtual switch can be controlled by a standard OpenFlow controller. In our design, an embedded OpenFlow agent resides in the optical line termination (OLT) of the underlying GPON. The agent communicates with the external OpenFlow controller and simultaneously uses optical network unit management and control interface inside the OLT to manage ONUs. We created a prototype system based on a commodity GPON network. In the virtual switch, we implemented all the OpenFlow functions, including packet forwarding, bandwidth metering, statistical data collection, and status reporting. The experimental results show that the GPON virtual switch can correctly perform all the functions defined in the OpenFlow 1.3 specification. Its performance on flow entry modification time, dynamic bandwidth control, and switch status monitoring are comparable to the performance of a real OpenFlow switch.

© 2016 IEEE

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