2 MIN READ | Service Assurance

Standardizing Service OAM Across Industry Is Key to Third Network

Christopher Cullan
Dec. 21 2015

Adoption of service OAM standards, specifically MEF 35.1, is picking up steam among communications services providers (CSPs), but it needs to be universal. Adhering to more than just the CE 2.0 equipment certification specifications is crucial for network equipment providers, because the benefits for all of us in the industry are so great.

Y.1731 is not the same as MEF 35.1!

The MEF specifications for performance monitoring (MEF 35.1) leverages the tools within the ITU-T's Y.1731 specification but they are not equivalent. This statement is not fully understood by much of the market but it is crucial to the performance assurance of today's CE 2.0 services. The MEF (and its CSP members) created a standard with specific performance attributes and KPIs, measurement methods, and mandatory plus optional elements that are all part of delivering a CE 2.0 service. Thankfully we're seeing a rise in awareness and adoption by both CSPs and equipment providers of the Service OAM standard.

For CSPs, this adoption means OSS integration costs go down, services hit the market sooner and time-to-revenue speeds up markedly when following the industry best practices. And driving that message home to both CSPs and their suppliers is exactly what I aimed to accomplish when I spoke at GEN15 recently.

Enforcing the MEF service OAM standard is key to not only helping CSPs improve their bottom lines but to ultimately guarantee a positive customer experience. The Third Network is completely based around assurance, guaranteeing that all services performing across multiple operators are helping meet the end subscriber's expectations. If services that cross multiple operators use different metrics, methods and communication of their individual segment's performance there is no way to effectively assure the end-to-end customer experience.

The road to LSO

Customers are demanding end-to-end service assurance, with lifecycle service orchestration (LSO) representing the ‘glue' between SDN, NFV and CE 2.0 to enable true agile, orchestrated and assured network services that can include multiple operators in the delivery of the service.

Much of the discussion surrounding LSO and software defined networking (SDN) taking place today revolves around greenfield network deployment, where one had previously not been. But for most CSPs, this is not practical. The existing networks are the cash-generating engines of the CSPs, this legacy is prevalent and critical and cannot be merely replaced.

Our joint proof of concept with Oracle Communications and Juniper Networks integrates existing OSS systems and physical functions with all of the latest ideas surrounding vCPEs, virtual PEs and other related NFV concepts. It puts in place a blueprint that doesn't abandon the legacy network but instead, outlines how to take what CSPs have today and start to fully embrace the network-as-a-service (NaaS) vision.

To delve deeper into these topics, watch our video from GEN15:

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