Team Members
Project Description
Statement of Work


User Controlled LightPaths Project

Last updated: 22-Jun-2004


Lightpaths, for example wavelengths in a WDM system or STS channels in a SONET circuit, represent a dedicated subset of optical network resources. They offer both the capacity and end-to-end QoS needed by next generation high-bandwidth network applications such as Grid services.

The objective of the project is to provide a software system that allows users (e.g. research institutions, government departments, hospitals) to own and control lightpaths, enabling rapid provisioning of network resources across multiple independent management domains. By allowing users to advertise unused portions of their lightpaths for lease by others, the system will also increase the pool of available network resources beyond what can be offered by carriers.

The proposed software system manages lightpath-related data and interacts with lightpath cross-connect devices in order to provide users with the following functionality:

  • partition the available bandwidth in an owned lightpath and spawn child lightpaths

  • advertise an owned lightpath for lease

  • lease an advertised lightpath from another user for a limited period of time

  • concatenate a series of lightpaths to establish an end-to-end lightpath spanning multiple independent management domains

  • manage cross-connections between owned lightpaths as well as peering with lightpaths of other users

A possible extension to the project allows users to create survivable lightpaths. For example, path protection can be incorporated as an option during the process of end-to-end lightpath creation, and restoration mechanisms can be applied to unprotected lightpaths.

A detailed architecture of the system, consisting of three layers, is presented in Figure 1.


Figure 1: System Architecture


The user access layer is concerned with handling and parsing requests from the Web-based interface used by customers and administrators. The service provisioning layer consists of a set of Grid services that implement functionality related to lightpath manipulation. The resource management layer consists of a set of Resource Agents and a lightpath object (LPO) database. The Resource Agents perform low-level communication with network hardware and provide a virtualization of hardware resources, allowing customers to control the subset of resources dedicated to their own lightpaths. Lightpath objects represent lightpath-related data and are stored in the LPO database.

By placing ownership and control of lightpaths in the hands of network users and by facilitating the deployment of high-bandwidth Grid applications, the project reinforces Canada’s leadership role in promoting the widespread adoption of a next-generation user-controlled optical Internet.