The growing demand for bandwidth seems like a never ending story. Driven by the richness of content in vertical markets like broadband residential access and cellular, operators and telecoms vendors alike are constantly looking for ways to convert networks into more scalable and efficient packet-based transport networks.
Legacy TDM transport (SONET/SDH) is well known for its reliable performance and manageability. As such, these networks are looked at as the benchmark for packet-based technology. Knowing what’s required for carrier-grade packet-networks, operators are dictating requirements for handling existing and new Ethernet services like 40/100 GE. And Ethernet, with its built-in statistical multiplexing, is seen as the most cost-effective and scalable architecture for deploying these networks.
One of the ways in which Ethernet can be deployed and used for carrier-grade packet-based services is by utilizing MPLS-TP. Based on cooperation between the ITU-T and the IETF, MPLS-TP is emerging as a reliable transport infrastructure. MPLS-TP aims to provide telecoms operators with a reliable packet-based technology that’s based on circuit-based transport networking. Large scale deployments have four main objectives, all of which are met by MPLS-TP:
- Cost effectiveness: This can be achieved by using Layer 1 and Layer 2 protocols for simplified operation, unified management and control across packets.
- Network scalability: The ability to support larger numbers of clients and larger amounts of data end-to-end.
- Carrier multi-play: This refers to the ability to support multiple types of clients, with the built-in ability to differentiate between them upon need while preserving QoS.
- End-to-end reliability: Carriers must be able to have end-to-end visibility of their networks, including passive monitoring and active fault prevention. This is accomplished through the use of OAM flows.
MPLS-TP is enabling next-generation packet-based networks by linking the transport capabilities (brought from TDM transport to the Ethernet world) together with the service provisioning and management of TDM transport. Without getting too deep into the details, it can be said that MPLS-TP-based architectures empower transport networks by offering cost-effective and ease-of-use management. In recent years, we’ve seen several deployments of MPLS-TP where operators have added new packet-based services while reducing costs significantly. Operators have also been utilizing MPLS-TP for the aggregation of traffic originating from the boundaries of the network, migrating their TDM-based networks to packet-based networks without losing functionality.
I strongly believe that MPLS-TP will be massively used in future OTN-based transport networks, as its many transport-oriented features are well suited for the assurance of new very high-speed packet services.
Product Marketing Manager
Network Solutions Division