Next-Gen Networks: The Human Factor
With so much hype surrounding technology, we tend to forget the human beings behind the revenue projections, service offerings and network operations. At the end of the day, even with sophisticated machine-to-machine protocols and point-and-click provisioning, human beings are the ones who ultimately develop and implement the protocols, click the mouse and replace faulty hardware.
We tend to forget that a shift in technology should not necessarily involve a shift in personnel, especially if we want our employees to embrace new technologies. Keeping the same look and feel minimizes training costs, eliminates the need for personnel changes, shortens the time to market and, of course, lowers the risk of human error.
The idea behind MPLS-TP is to simplify network provisioning and maintenance with the shift to packet-based infrastructure. MPLS-TP asserts that instead of using complex IP routing and signaling protocols in each element of the network, this ‘wisdom’ should move to a central network management system. Although some may feel that transport is simply too important to be relegated to automated, self-learning processes, what MPLS-TP actually does is give control back to the network operations people. Now, rather than having the routing protocols determine traffic routes, with MPLS-TP network operators can build deterministic paths between network elements. So in addition to making the transport folks feel more comfortable with the new technology, the risk of human error is greatly reduced.
With all the talk of convergence today, you may not think it’s possible that a network could actually end up with a much more complex structure after it’d gone through the ‘convergence and simplification process.’ But indeed some have. And one of the main reasons for this is that although the network elements themselves have kept up to the ‘convergence promise,’ the management systems have not. As a result, often several management systems are required to provision a service across different network domains involving multiple technologies. In sharp contrast, a unified network management system helps keep the management aspect simple by utilizing one system and screen for all technologies.
Topics: Network Operations