Forwarding and Control Element Separation

The information below is for an older approved charter
Document Charter Forwarding and Control Element Separation WG (forces) Snapshot
Title Forwarding and Control Element Separation
Last updated 2001-07-27
State Approved
WG State Concluded
IESG Responsible AD Adrian Farrel
Charter Edit AD (None)
Send notices to (None)


The emergence of off-the-shelf network processor devices that 
  the fast path or forwarding plane in network devices such as routers, 
  along with the appearance of a new generation of third party 
  routing, and other router control plane software, has created the need 
  for standard mechanisms to allow these components to be combined into 
  functional wholes. ForCES aims to define a framework and associated 
  mechanisms for standardizing the exchange of information between the 
  logically separate functionality of the control plane, including 
  entities such as routing protocols, admission control, and signaling, 
  and the forwarding plane, where per-packet activities such as packet
  forwarding, queuing, and header editing occur. By defining a set
  of standard mechanisms for control and forwarding separation, ForCES 
  will enable rapid innovation in both the control and forwarding 
  A standard separation mechanism allows the control and forwarding
  planes to innovate in parallel while maintaining interoperability.
  The products of this working group will be:
  o A set of requirements for mechanisms to logically
    separate the control and data forwarding planes of
    an IP network element (NE)
  o An applicability statement for the ForCES model
    and protocol
  o Informational RFCs as necessary documenting current
    approaches to the functional model and controlled
    objects therein
  o An architectural framework defining the entities
     comprising a ForCES network element and identifying
     the interactions between them.
  o A description of the functional model of a
    Forwarding Element
  o A formal definition of the controlled objects in the
    functional model of a forwarding element. This
    includes IP forwarding, IntServ and DiffServ QoS. An
    existing specification language shall be used for
    this task.
  o Specification of IP-based protocol for transport of the
    controlled objects. When the control and forwarding devices
    are separated beyond a single hop, ForCES will make use of an
    existing  RFC2914 compliant L4 protocol with adequate reliability,
    security and congestion control (e.g. TCP, SCTP) for transport
  The main focus area of the working group will be control and
  forwarding separation for IP forwarding devices where the
  control and forwarding elements are in close (same room/small
  number of hops) or very close (same box/one hop) proximity. Other
  scenarios will be considered but at not the main focus of the
  work. The functional model of the forwarding element will include
  QoS (DiffServ and IntServ) capabilities of modern networking
  devices such as routers.  In order to minimize the effort to
  integrate forwarding elements and control elements, a mechanism
  for auto discovery and capability information exchange will form
  an integral part of the standardized interface.
  ForCES will coordinate with other standards bodies and working
  groups as appropriate. Examples of such bodies include IETF/GSMP,
  IETF/Megaco, the Network Processing Forum (NPF), the Multiservice
  Switching Forum (MSF), IEEE P1520, and SoftSwitch. ForCES will
  review relevant protocol efforts such as GSMP and Megaco and will
  extend or reuse them if appropriate. If protocol reuse is
  accepted as satisfactory for fulfilling the ForCES requirements
  then ForCES may recharter to adopt specific deliverables around
  the selected protocol.