Recently someone asked me why packet transport is so hyped right now. I answered that I don’t see it in those terms. To me, something that’s ‘hyped’ is exaggerated or intensified in a questionable way, and packet transport is none of those things. Rather, I view packet transport as a technology whose time has come.
From where we sit today, the popularity of packet-transport networking is being driven first and foremost by the telecoms networks that are becoming increasingly IP flavored. The exponential growth of IP applications and traffic has fueled increased demand for new packet-oriented service offerings for different applications and market segments – including business, residential and wireless. This robust bandwidth growth, coupled with the clear transition to pure IP/Ethernet services, is posing a severe challenge for operators worldwide. Why? Because they are looking for scalable and flexible solutions to meet the growth through ‘IP/Ethernet economics’ and a steep reduction in the cost-per-bit, while at the same time seeking to preserve the operational models, resiliency, management capabilities and ease of provisioning of the legacy TDM world.
And this is where packet transport in general and MPLS-TP specifically come into play.
Packet transport offers carrier-class transport and routing capabilities – specifically SLAs that are easily ensured via powerful OAM functionality – and network sizing and future scalability that are guaranteed through a variety of best-of-breed products. A typical packet-transport solution will employ an approach that combines Layer 1 and Layer 2 to improve an existing SDH/SONET network infrastructure while preserving the system and operational expertise, whether through an overlay/hybrid application or an all IP/Ethernet one with circuit emulation for TDM services. The result is lower capex and a clear path to a largely packet-based network. Which is where operators are heading anyway.
So, is packet transport all hype? No, I’d say it’s ripe for implementation.
Head of Optical Networking & CESR Line of Business