IEEE 1904.2 Task Force

Standard for Control and Management of Virtual Links in Ethernet-based Subscriber Access Networks


In their quest to find the optimal balance between the performance of subscriber access networks and their cost, the network operators increasingly combine optical distribution section with a copper-based drop section, which typically includes a twisted pair, a Category-5 cable, or a coaxial cable. Network operators require a management system that would allow them to efficiently access and manage the subscriber demarcation device as well as the various devices that interconnect their optical and copper sections of the network.

In addition, to achieve the best-possible service quality, the access network operators find it necessary to extend their management domains past the typical subscriber demarcation device, such as an Optical Network Unit (ONU), a Coaxial Network Unit (CNU), Cable or DSL modem, or a Residential Gateway (RGW).

As Ethernet-based networks (switched Ethernet, point-to-point Ethernet, or Ethernet Passive Optical Network) are becoming technologies of choice for public subscriber access network, there is a pressing need to provide virtual links (tunnels) compatible with Ethernet and that would allow network operators to manage a variety of devices in access network or in subscriber premises in a uniform and consistent way.

Scope of the project

This standard describes control mechanisms and management methods necessary to enable creation and operation of virtual links in Ethernet-based subscriber access networks. The key characteristics of the Virtual Link Control (VLC) mechanisms are:

  • The ability to transit Layer 2 bridges in a single IEEE 802 Media Access Control (MAC) domain to allow remote device management;
  • Extensibility to accommodate new protocols and new types of devices;
  • The ability to simultaneously send messages to multiple VLC-aware stations using broadcast or multicast addressing.

The standard describes the message format, as well as processing operations at the stations participating in the VLC protocol.

News & Announcements

IEEE Std 1904.2-2021 has been approved by the IEEE Standards Association Standards Board on June 16, 2021.

The IEEE 1904.2 standard is available for purchase and via subscription.

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Modified: 30-Jul-2021