Replacing the Spanning Tree with GELS


(T) At the 2005 MPLS World Congress in Paris, an evolution of GMPLS called GELS was announced to provide a control plane to Ethernet switching.

The idea is quite interesting and was initiated by Loa Anderson from Acreo AB and Dimitri Papadimitriou from Alcatel.

GMPLS was a successful control plane to have first IP networks interface to core optical networks. And since then, GMPLS became a very successful control plane for optical networks and provided a large number of features to MPLS to control IP networks.

So…why not applying the universality of GMPLS to Ethernet networks?

Since the spanning tree protocol (STP), Ethernet has never had a new control plane. In addition, GELS could be specified to facilitate and accelerate the deployment to have Ethernet both as a service and as a transport technology for service providers. And, service providers have a real need for that (that can save their CAPEX!).

Having said that, the real question is first does Ethernet need a control plane to evolve? And, second how Ethernet can be modified (beyond just increasing the bandwidth for the data plane) and still be backward compatible?

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