Mission Critical Communication for Mission Critical Industries
Mission critical industries are the ones responsible for everything in our daily life we take for granted. When we turn on the tap, we expect clean water to come out of it; when we switch on the light, we expect it to work; and when we board the train, we expect it to be on time and travel seamlessly to our destination. And usually we never stop to think about what powers these essential functions.
These things we take for granted require huge and sophisticated infrastructure to run properly. But because of well-organized infrastructures, we can hardly imagine our life without these critical applications to our daily life.
If all the electricity, water, gas and communication lines were to suddenly disappear, the world would enter pure pandemonium. Over the years, utility companies have built an extremely reliable infrastructure to minimize the risk of such chaos. A crucial piece of this preparedness is the visibility and control of communication infrastructure—the hinge and foundation upon which all critical industries rely.
However, in coming years, utility companies will need to change their communication networks because of aging systems and new enforced requirements. Currently, the underlying infrastructure is a TDM-based communication network. Soon, utilities will be forced to move to packet-based communication networks.
TDM vs. Packet Infrastructures
Without getting into too much technical detail, there are two key differences between packet and TDM technologies. With TDM, bandwidth is reserved whether you have information to deliver or not. With packet, on the other hand, you send information only when you need to, enabling statistical multiplex of several information flows over the same link. As a result, packet is more efficient in using the communication links; however, the bandwidth and the delay cannot be guaranteed.
The second fundamental difference between packet and TDM is the way the connection between the two communicating points is established. TDM uses a connection-oriented scheme, where the path is known and fixed. Packet is based on dynamic connectionless protocols, where each hop on the way decides on the next hop.
Packets that belong to the same information flow may not necessarily follow the same path. While the dynamicity of the packet protocols may be useful for a very dynamic environment, you actually lose control over your network and cannot guarantee deterministic behavior and performance.
Taking Control of Critical Assets
As we mentioned, the shift to packet-based communication is inevitable. What you must decide is whether you want your critical assets to rely on statistical chances or sophisticated autonomous protocols, or whether you want to have the control in your hands?
This can be a hard choice, but not necessarily required. Consider MPLS Transport Profile (MPLS-TP). This method enables you to enjoy the best of both worlds: packet efficiency with TDM-like deterministic performance and static control.
Whatever you choose, choose right. Mission critical environments are not tolerant of mistakes.
Will you be joining us at UTC Telecom & Technology 2016? Get more information about the event here.