November 6, 2017

What’s the Big Deal about NETCONF/YANG?

What's the Big Deal about NETCONF/YANG?

SNMP/SMI technologies have been the dominant management interface for the last twenty years. However, over those years, the limitations of these technologies have become apparent. The three most significant are:

  • They can’t do atomic transactions (series of all or nothing data operations)
  • They lack the ability to change a large number of parameters at once
  • They lack the ability to effectively enforce constraints and consistencies across multiple parameters

In short, SNMP is great for reading device states and configurations, but the industry as a whole has lacked the ability to effectively provision a device through a standard machine interface, a crucial capability for enabling effective automation and SDN applications.

The result of these inabilities has been signicant:

  • Industry standard MIBs typically do not support provisioning or changing configuration data—vendors either provide a non-SNMP configuration interface or extend the industry standard MIBs with proprietary extensions
  • Lack of an industry-standard ability to configure network elements has severely impacted device management from different vendors and the ability to effectively automate many management processes
  • Overall network management has become unnecessarily complex, work-intensive, and costly.


NETCONF is IETF’s new management protocol from IETF. It’s designed to enable configuration management. YANG is IETF’s new data modeling language. It’s designed to enable definition of configuration and state data. Together NETCONF and YANG overcome the biggest drawbacks of SNMP/SMI. Embedded in the network management system, they deliver dramatic advances in every area of network management, and represent a major operational advancement. These advances give operations staff a more comprehensive view of network conditions and easier, automated control of network configuration and performance.


YANG is a significantly refined data modeling language. It allows definition of constraints and separation of configuration and state elements. Unlike SNMP, NETCONF supports atomic transactions for configuration change.

NETCONF/YANG offers a wide range of specific benefits, including, but not limited to:

  • YANG has been widely adopted by key standards bodies (such as IETF and ONF) to produce a broad range of rich YANG models
  • YANG models both the configuration and state of key layers of network
  • Properitary extensions are required less frequently, resulting in easier multi-vendor interoperability
  • Enables automated operation and policies
  • Enables rich integration with OSS and other SDN controllers
  • Provides a solid foundation for automation and SDN

Aviat Implementation of NETCONF/YANG

NETCONF/YANG has been adopted by Aviat as our primary network management interface on Aviat’s next generation radio products, such as WTM4000 series. Aviat has committed to implementing YANG models defined by standard bodies such as IETF and ONF (including TR-532), to facilitate manageability by open SDN controllers.

Aviat’s newly introduced ProVision Plus element management and service management platform is built around YANG data models. ProVision Plus is the first commercially released management system/SDN controller to implement many of the emerging IETF YANG models, including the YANG Model for L3VPN Service (RFC 8049) and YANG Model for L2VPN Service. ProVision Plus is designed to manage NETCONF/YANG-capable network elements, such as WTM4000 series, as well as legacy network elements.

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