User Controled Lightpath Provisioning



UCLP: User Controled Lightpath Provisioning

The UCLP system was borned as a result of a RFP (Request For Proposals) issued by CANARIE in september 2003. Four implementation proposals prepared by four independent teams were accepted, among them the proposal of the CRC (Communications Research Centre, Canada) and the UofO (University of Ottawa, Canada). The i2cat foundation joined the team in april 2004, as a consequence of the MoU signed with the CRC.

The UCLP software can ve very simply thought of as a configuration and partition manager that exposes each lightpath in a physical network and each network element associated with a a lightpath as an object or service that can be put under the control of different network users to create their own logical IP network topologies.


As Bill St. Arnaud (senior director of Research Networks, CANARIE) says:

'UCLP can be very simply though of as a configuration and partition manager that exposes each lightpath in a physical network and each network element associated with a lightpath as an 'object' or 'service' that can be put under the control of different network users to create their own IP network topologies'.  

This way several network operators can make part of their resources available to end users so that they can decide when they want to create/delete end to end connections or change the network topology (that's why the system is called User Controled Lighpath Provisioning).


Example of UCLPv1.x system


More info: UCLP design document

HEAnet's UCLPv1

The goal of the project is to adapt UCLPv1 (User Controlled Lightpath Provisioning) system to make it compatible with HEAnet's networks. It will be achieved through 2 deliverables, the first one will implement a new ULCPv1 GUI adapted to HEAnet's requirements, and the second one will be to integrate UCLPv1 and E-DI and its implementation over HEAnet's network.

This project attempts to allow HEAnet network users to manage its own connections (LSP as lightpaths) by means of Ethernet connections, using a modified version of the current release of UCLPv1 developed by CRC (Communications Research Centre) of Canada, University of Ottawa and i2CAT Foundation. The software will provide a web-based GUI to establish, manage and query connections controlled directly by the user.

As a result of this work HEAnet will test this new UCLPv1 implementation, compare it with its current provisioning software and evaluate the possibility of deploying UCLP on its network.

This project started in June 2005 and it is expected to be finished next May/June 2006.

This project will be achieved through the collaboration of different partners: Fundació i2CAT, HEAnet, Cisco Systems, UPC (GCO), Tecsidel (sponsor), NDP, CRC and lead by i2CAT.

Cisco Systems has donated to i2cat Fundation a set of devices that emulates the 10Gbps EoMPLS HEAnet network. The devices are:

  • 3 Cisco Catalyst 3750G-12S
  • 2 Cisco Catalyst 3750G-16TD
  • 2 Cisco 7604 Routers

Tecsidel has financed a part of the human resources.

Project website: http://www.uclp.ca/






UCLP was born to satisfy the requirements of certain number of applications that cannot be implemented using centralized network management tools. Some of this applications are:

Customer controlled and managed networks

 Universities, regional networks, governments and large enterprises are building their own communication networks under condominium agreements. Participants in such agreements join efforts to buy together physical infrastructures (dark fiber, wavelengths, equipment). Each institution gets a part of the resources proportional to its initial investment. Each institutions wants to manage his resources independently from all the others, having the capability of implementing its own topology discover or protection mechanisms and being able to offer its customers added value services.


National Lambda Rail (USA), a customer managed network


Dedicated IP networks

Current IP networks are optimized for thousands of clients with relatively small traffic flows. All over the world are emerging small comunities who need to interchange high amounts of traffic at a high big rate (grid applications, e-science, sensor and instrument networks). This communities cannot use the public Internet to carry out their experiments; they need dedicated IP networks where routers and computers where high-end applications are running have dedicated end to end links. The problem with these links is that they must expand several network domains belonging to different operators without the link quality being affected (which is very hard to guarantee using network protocols designed to work intra-domain).


The undersea sensor network Neptune (USA/Canada)


User controlled traffic engineering

UCLP allows local and/or regional network managers to apply their own traffic engineering policies. Using UCLP they can create new BGP paths between two networks creating a direct optical connection. Big companies and regional networks can be interconnected directly using a peering point instead of a hierarchical IP network.


User controlled traffic engineering


More info:


The following documents describe the motivation and the objectives of the second version of the UCLP software.


More info: User Controlled Lightpaths

HEAnet's UCLPv1

The main focus is to adapt UCLPv1 to HEAnet's network and its integration with the E-DI, providing a new GUI web-based tool to manage connections.

Within these objectives, several topics are covered:

  1. Provide a mechanism for learning the MPLS network topology.
  2. Keep state of all interfaces and all nodes. Using the E-DI interface to interact with the equipment
  3. Provisioning, deletion and modification of links/connections.
  4. Configure both ERS (Ethernet Relay Service) and EWS (Ethernet Wire Service) type circuits (EoMPLS connections).
  5. List circuits, and availability monitoring
  6. Secure Web based graphical user interface, with hierarchical users.
  7. Installation and user's guide manuals

UCLP is already implemented over CA*net 4, however it is a version technologically oriented for optical networks, but the work to do is to adapt and modify the system to the HEAnet's particular network devices and CISCO MPLS equipment requirements.

The innovation is at the implant of UCLP system in the HEAnet networks, and therefore the control of MPLS networks with a UCLP. 



Software architecture

The UCLP system is diveded into federations. A federation is a logical partition composed by heterogeneous resources of different networks (SONET/SDH, WDM, Ethernet, GMPLS) that are under the control of a single administrator (the federation administrator).

UCLP represents all network resources (slots, fiber) as software objects. There are two basic objects:

  • LigthPath Object: Represents a lightpath (a dedicated link between two boxes).
  • Resource Object: Represents a slot/port/channel in a box (SONET/SDH, WDM, Ethernet, O-UNI).

Each federation has a number of software services to manage the physical resources and to provide the functionality required by the federation users, which can be the administrator (who needs to manage the physical resources as well as the user accounts) or normal users (who need to manage their connections). These software services have been implemented using Jini (a Java technology designed to build distributed systems in a simple fashion).

  • GSAP (Grid Services Access Point): OGSA clients access point to the system (being either humans or grid applications).
  • JSAP (Jini Services Access Point):  Jini clients access poin to the system (being either humans or grid applications). Coordinates the calls to other services.
  • LPOS (LightPath Object Services): Creates, deletes and manages the lifecycle of lightpath objects.
  • SCS (Switch Communication Services): Creates and deletes the resource objects. Sends messages to and receives from a switch or network cloud using a specific network protocol (SNMP, CLI, TL1, O-UNI).
  • JavaSpace: Database where objects are stored.
  • JLS (Jini Lookup Service): Service registry through which the other services in a federation talk (to themselves and to other federations services).


UCLPv1.x software architecture


So services use the JLS to talk to communicate with other federations in the system. But, how do JLSs in different federations discover each other? Here is where the federation manager comes into play. The federation manager is nothing but a JLS that does not belong to any federation and whose location (IP address and port) is known by all the other JLSs. When a JLS start, it registers to the notification service of the federation manager, who keeps the JLS informed about what is happening with the JLSs of the other federations. This procedure is illustrated in figure 5.


Federation manager


More info: Detailed software architecture

HEAnet's UCLPv1

Cisco Enhanced Device Interface (E-DI)

As Cisco Systems has provided the software of E-DI, it will be installed and tested with testbeds, and implemented in HEAnet under the scope of UCLPv1. At a later phase, the adaptation of UCLP to use E-DI will be studied.

Cisco E-DI provides a comprehensive management interface for Cisco devices and offers interfaces for two categories of users - the human user interacting with network devices through the command line interface (CLI), and management application programs interacting with network devices through an XML programmatic interface.

Cisco E-DI provides a CLI user interface (CLI-UI) and an XML programmatic interface (XML PI). Cisco E-DI is used by Enterprise as well as Service Provider customers. It supports configuration for IOS and CatOS network elements (NEs), and applicable services and devices, including L3 MPLS VPNs, Metro Ethernet, select switches and branch office equipment. Cisco E-DI can be deployed in conjunction with a management application, or in a stand-alone configuration.


03/2006 to 12/2007
148.904 €