What’s New with NETCONF and YANG?

As I attend a number of events each year it never ceases to amaze me how conversations have evolved over the years. Less than a decade ago very few engineers were talking about NETCONF and YANG. And if they were it was simply to note that each had their own idea of how it worked or should work. Entrance from stage right the IETF, who helped set standards to make the adoption and usage of NETCONF and YANG more acceptable and make it the standard it is today.

Yet adoption of NETCONF & YANG was slow at first. This isn’t the case anymore, adoption continues to grow as we find more and more applications and uses for these languages. While attending the Broadband Forum related events this past year, I noticed that the conversations more than ever included comments on NETCONF and YANG and its support of SDN. Oh, that elusive SDN that has become not just a buzz word but a networking approach for every company. We saw this coming for years and have been a key player in making sure that the standards were in place so the broader community could have a programmable way to access networks no matter what infrastructure was being used.

With this widespread adoption, it is also good to not only know what the IETF is doing but understand what is new in the broad community of users. Below is what I learned from the recent Broadband Forum activities and what I have read related to NETCONF and YANG adoption:

  • Programmability and automation is a primary focus for Broadband Networks
  • Almost every Broadband Forum project included an NFV and/or SDN connection
  • Broadband Forum has become an industry leader for YANG models in Access Networks:
    • Build on IETF models, e.g. ietf-interfaces, etc.
    • Model functionality as it relates to access networks
  • New common YANG Modules for Access Networks  (TR-383) have been released and YANG models for Access Nodes in SDN (WT-368) is in progress
  • Technology-specific YANG models have been defined for Fiber to the Distribution Point (TR-355) and being defined for PON Management (WT-385) and ONU Management (WT-394)
  • NETCONF is being advocated as the management protocol in Working Text drafts including NETCONF Management of PON ONUs Architecture Specification (WT-395), Migration to SDN-Enabled Management and Control (WT-413) and Framework for multi-management PON devices (WT-372)

I am very interested in what’s next and how companies will implement these modeling languages into their networks. I will continue to get educated and share any insights, new developments and approaches I am seeing in the market. Feel free to let me know your thoughts.

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