By Vikas Trehan, Vice President of Product Management and Marketing, InfoVista
There is no question that mobile networks are experiencing a period of unprecedented data traffic growth. As wireless data applications have proliferated, mobile service providers have derived renewed revenue growth from mobile data services. While we can be sure that wireless data applications and mobile data traffic will continue to grow at an exponential rate, it is also clear that revenues will not grow at that same pace.
For mobile operators, the only way to maintain operating margins is to keep CapEx lower in order to eventually gain a lower cost per bit. Mobile operators are either upgrading their own backhaul network or going to their wholesale providers (wireline or cable operator) for higher capacity contracts. The wholesale providers are expected to offer stringent SLAs with customer reporting. In this competitive environment, time to market is key to gaining market share.
In light of these market dynamics, all signs are pointing to Carrier Ethernet technology as the technology of choice for next-generation mobile backhaul infrastructures. Compared to legacy TDM networks, Carrier Ethernet offers clear advantages in handling the explosive growth of traffic while reducing operational expenses.
The industry has initiated several forums in an effort to accelerate the world-wide adoption of Carrier class Ethernet networks and services, including ITU (Y.1731), IEEE (802.1ag), IETF (Pseudowires) and MEF (Service Definition). All of these seek to build consensus on standards and benchmarks that will promote interoperability and deployment of Carrier Ethernet. While much progress has been made at the protocol level, management remains an important issue. We believe it is important for OSS vendors to participate in these industry efforts. Recognizing this, InfoVista has joined MEF to bring our years of experience and insights to the forum.
While the evolution to Ethernet mobile backhaul might appear to be a straightforward migration strategy, it introduces significant challenges for mobile operators, including:
- The need to assure the performance of cell sites by monitoring Pseudowires emulating TDM & ATM technologies over Ethernet
- The need to guarantee the same end-to-end quality as traditional TDM
- Right-sizing the Ethernet backhaul infrastructure
- And managing the complexities associated with class of service and MPLS traffic engineering.
As we continue to work toward common standards and benchmarks for the future, the right Ethernet-based performance management and assurance system can help mobile service providers and wholesale operators rise to meet the challenges they face today. Mobile operators should seek a solution that provides proactive performance management and reporting capabilities across a multi-vendor Carrier Ethernet environment and mobile domain. InfoVista provides critical support for an array of devices and services from leading network equipment vendors including Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent, Juniper, Huawei, and ADVA Optical Networking.
Service providers are embracing Carrier Ethernet to future-proof for explosive data growth and 4G mobile networks. At the same time, they have to support their legacy 2G and even 3G radio networks. The inevitable transition from a stable and legacy technology to a next generation IP/Ethernet infrastructure demands a much deeper comprehension of the new technology. InfoVista is proud to be a part of the world-wide effort to address the challenges ahead, and to provide valuable solutions today.
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