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Carriers are enhancing their transport networks and improving their daily operations to address the increasing demand for (new) IP-based services. They require more scalable support for the increasing traffic demand and more flexible operations for connection provisioning. They are also seeking optimized resource utilization and time performance using faster and more robust recovery schemes while maintaining overall network costs. With advances in the GMPLS protocol suite including its user-network interface support, the possibility for better cooperation between transport and IP/MPLS networks is now possible. This article addresses this question by positioning and comparing the capabilities of the optical interworking forum's UNI with the Internet engineering task force's GMPLS UNI. Through three recovery scenarios, a quantitative analysis is provided that determines the gain obtained in deploying the GMPLS UNI over its OIF counterpart. Finally, a testbed demonstrating the feasibility and practicability of the GMPLS UNI implementation (which enables end-to-end connection rerouting) is presented.