In an industry where open networking is increasingly valued by Service Providers, the need for interoperable solutions becomes even more important.

At Cisco, innovation is in our DNA. Each year, we spend a significant amount of revenue on research and development (R&D) – up to 12.8 percent in 2017. To fast-track the deployment of innovation in production networks, PlugFests and public interoperability events, where different vendors come together to check their implementations against specifications… and against each other, are blossoming in the telecom networking industry. This is why interoperability is near and dear to my heart.

Open Standards

Interoperability starts with standard bodies developing open standards through open processes. In this respect, Cisco has been, and continues to be, an active and involved contributor to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and to other industry associations (MEF, IEEE, …). Without a strong vendor commitment to open standards, the Internet, we all know and enjoy today, simply wouldn’t exist.

I would like to call out two major innovations – Segment Routing (SR) and Ethernet VPN (EVPN) – where Cisco has played a leading and active role in the industry and at the IETF.

Segment Routing

Segment Routing emerged back in 2013 when the first draft was posted under the leadership of our Cisco fellow, Clarence Filsfils. As of today, we count:

  • 3 RFCs (7794, 7855, 8354)
  • 56 active Internet drafts

Today, more than 80 percent of these drafts are actually under the leadership of Cisco and a lead operator group, resulting in customers across Enterprise, Service Provider, and Hyperscale Web segments rolling out SR with confidence.

Ethernet VPN

EVPN is another technology with strong activity at the IETF. As of today, we count:

  • 6 RFCs (7209, 7432, 7623, 8214, 8317, 8365)
  • 43 active Internet drafts

All of the published EVPN RFCs have been led by Cisco, under the leadership of our Cisco Distinguished Engineer, Ali Sajassi.  Moreover, the vast majority of these RFCs/drafts have been done in collaboration with a lead operator group, and as the result, they have benefited from direct input/feedback of these operators in addressing issues most important to them.

Multi-vendor Interoperability Testing

When Service Providers make the decision to roll out a specific technology in their networks, they want to make sure the technology is implemented and supported by their preferred networking vendors in an interoperable manner.

This is why we’re glad to see manufacturer-neutral companies such as the European Advanced Networking Test Center (EANTC) hosting public multi-vendor interoperability tests. This year, the scope of these tests covered: Segment Routing, EVPN, Software Defined Networking (SDN) – Path Computation Element Communication Protocol (PCEP) and NETCONF/YANG, Microwave and Clock Synchronization.

“We were really pleased to have Cisco rejoin our public interoperability event. The breadth of tests in which Cisco participated is really impressive – Segment Routing, EVPN, SDN – as well as the number of different platforms they brought in. This clearly shows an on-going commitment from Cisco to drive and support industry standards-based interoperable solutions,” said Carsten Rossenhoevel, co-founder and managing director of EANTC.

Cisco successfully participated in the following tests:

  • Segment Routing: Segment Routing over MPLS and over IPv6 (SRv6), LDP interworking, resiliency and monitoring
  • Ethernet Virtual Private Network (EVPN): EVPN with MPLS and Segment Routing transport, EVPN enhancements, IGMP proxy, EVPN routing, and EVPN interworking
  • Software Defined Networking (SDN): Path Computation Element Communication Protocol (PCEP), NETCONF/YANG


If you want to get further insight into the test results, read this blog from our lead engineer, Jose Liste. You can also download an EANTC white paper detailing all the tests and results. We will also host a Cisco Knowledge Webinar on June, 5.



Sumeet Arora

SVP Engineering

Core Software Group - US