Theres a lot of exciting talk and flashy demos relating to Ethernet, IPTV and other technologies and services this week at TelecomNEXT. So, as is often the case, it is easy to let boring stuff like operational costs get pushed to the back of bus. But OAM&P is a major concern for service providers, so Juniper Networks is centering its message, and news, at the show on those issues.
Part of that message includes the presentation of new information Juniper is providing in partnership with Tom Nolle of CIMI Corp., which reports that while the unit capital cost of bandwidth production has fallen almost 70 percent in the past five years, OAM&P costs in the same period have risen 30 percent. And the data indicate this problem could get much worse if the industry doesnt take significant steps to address the operational challenges. According to the CIMI data, in the five years ahead, analysts forecast an additional reduction in unit capital cost of bandwidth in the neighborhood of 70 percent, while the combination of consumer broadband expansion and SMB focus could double OAM&P costs.
Preventing service distribution from malicious attacks, network OS updates and network faults is the key technical operational challenge service providers face, according to CIMI. Meanwhile, primary business operations challenges focus on controlling opex relating to OSS/MNS integration expenses, maintenance and qualification expenses, and personnel and training expenses.
We work closely with the service providers and consistently have found a very large part of qualifying solutions and supporting network evolution involves the operations side of the service providers business, said Tom DiMicelli, product marketing manager in charge of Junipers E-series edge router portfolio. Thats critical to enabling new services. As Ethernet, IPTV, VoD come around, the operations side is critical in making sure these services can be rolled out efficiently and at a high quality.
Management, security, availability of services and automation features are included in the operations side of the business, noted DiMicelli, adding that these issues have to be considered both in terms of the new services and how they fit with the existing network and processes already in place at the service provider.
Juniper is focused on the packet-handling part of the network with our routers, DiMicelli said. We also are on the policy and control layer, one layer up from that.
Service providers today need to thread together the different databases about network gear and connections, subscribers and policy to get an idea of whats happening with a particular service, customer or connection, for example.
For some time, Juniper has used its J-Web, JUNOscope and SDX-300 solutions to tightly integrate policy and control with packet handling. J-Web is a device management system designed to allow an operator to configure or get snapshots of performance information from an individual Juniper device without requiring service provider personnel to use a command line interface. JUNOscope is an element management system that applies to Junipers M-series, T-series and J-series routers. The SDX-300 is a service deployment platform. At TelecomNEXT, Juniper is reiterating the importance of these tools.
New at TelecomNEXT from Juniper is a volume tracking application for the SDX-300. The company also has integrated the SDX-300 with its intrusion detection and prevention (IDP) network appliance. Today Juniper also announced E-series enhancements including flow mirroring, in-service update and Ethernet link aggregation capability.
The volume tracking enables service providers to realize an operations benefit by recognizing when specific subscribers hit their usage ceiling on bandwidth, and can allow the carrier to terminate usage of that customer if it so chooses. This feature also can act as a profit center, said DiMicelli, by allowing the carrier to redirect users who have overspent their bandwidth to a Web site and offer them additional bandwidth at a price.
Integrating IDP with the SDX-300, meanwhile, gives service providers a good idea of threats on the network and allows them to apply business policies to them. That both protects the carrier network by recognizing and mitigating attacks, and it allows the service provider to learn if a certain subscribers machine was the source of that attack. The SDX-300 can then have an E-series router redirect that user to a Web page, recommending the user scan his or her PC for a virus. In fact, the service provider could even offer to scan the users PC for a small fee, said DiMicelli.
As for the E-series enhancements, flow mirroring lets the service provider copy a users flow and send that to a troubleshooting device rather than having to take a customer offline to find the source of a service problem. Flow mirroring has been an existing feature on ATM interfaces of the E-series products, but now Juniper is adding it to the gigabit Ethernet-based interfaces on its E-series line.
The new in-service update feature on the E-series allows carriers to do software release updates on the routers without taking the routers offline. Its effectively the software parallel to hot swappable capabilities found on a lot of hardware these days. DiMicelli said this feature addresses the often painful process service providers have to endure to prepare the network for a software update.
Finally, the E-series new Ethernet aggregation capability promotes network uptime, especially during preplanned maintenance events. DiMicelli explained that if two interfaces on the router need maintenance, for example, this feature creates a third interface and moves user traffic to the physical line attached to that interface so the service provider can do maintenance without interrupting customer traffic.
All the new features being announced by Juniper this week at TelecomNEXT are available now.
Juniper Networks www.juniper.net