Okay, I’ll admit it – the sight of yet another ‘demo’ at a trade show doesn’t really excite me. And it probably doesn’t excite most attendees either.
But they are sort of a necessary evil. You see, for us solutions vendors, there’s really no better way to demonstrate new functionality or how to do things like provision a service. That’s why we make the investment in resources and time to create something that we hope those in the industry will find, well, at least marginally interesting. (Actually, we’d like you to be really thrilled by them, but hey – we’re realists!)
Seriously, though, a well thought out and constructed demo can go a long way to driving home a concept. Take, for example, the MPLS-TP and service provisioning demo that we showcased at the recent CTIA Wireless event in Orlando.
The demo simulated mobile backhaul. I won’t go into all the technical details here, but the basic concept was that we used our LightSoft
network management system client locally on the show floor to remotely manage some ‘cell sites’ back in the labs at our Fort Lauderdale office. Traffic on the radio access network (RAN) was aggregated via our 9000 Family Carrier Ethernet switch/routers
towards the base station controller (BSC) or radio network controller (RNC).
Sounds simple enough, but the interesting part is that we were able to demonstrate how easily an operator can provision many (in this case, 56) MPLS-TP full-mesh tunnels, or those tunnels that interconnect all the nodes in the network, in under two minutes using the management system. In contrast, that same task would take hours – or more likely most of a day – to accomplish with an IP/MPLS network. Why? Because the configurations would have to happen manually via command line interface (CLI) on each element or CLI scripts would have to be developed. This entails configuring IP addresses on each interface, as well as other protocols such as OSPF or ISIS, LDP and RSVP-TE. (Of course, there are cases where we advocate a full IP/MPLS implementation solution, but for some applications – especially mobile backhaul, which entails connectivity to so many cell sites – MPLS-TP not only makes more sense, but it’s also more cost effective and resource optimized.) So, the demo helped drive home in a very real way how many provisioning tasks can be made dramatically simpler by using a full-featured management system, ultimately saving time and money. And that’s something we can all get excited about.
In the coming months, we’ll be taking the demo on the road again to some customer seminars we’re holding throughout the Americas, as well as Carrier Ethernet World America
s in Brazil in May. If you’d like to find out if we’ll be in your area, please email me
– it would be great to see you along the way!