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Foundation for Next-Generation Transport: The Cisco Carrier Packet Transport System

SONET and SDH, while well established and highly reliable technologies, were optimized for an era of TDM voice communications - before cloud computing, VoIP, cell phones, mobile tablets, Video CDNs and even the Internet increased network complexity and radically changed traffic patterns. This infrastructure has delivered reliable transport because it is easy to provision, troubleshoot, and provides a high level of resiliency. However, with the increase in IP traffic and changing traffic patterns, a new solution is required: one that provides the ‘trust’ of SONET/SDH with the ‘efficiency’ and ‘agility’ of packet.

Today Cisco is announcing our latest innovation, the Cisco Carrier Packet Transport (CPT) System. Our goal is to enable the transport network in a way that combines the reliability and simplicity of point-and-click provisioning of SONET/SDH along with the efficiency and flexibility of IP/MPLS. 

Service providers generate a lot of revenue from connection-oriented services like leased lines. However the growth of these services from a revenue perspective is slow. New services based on cloud, mobile, and video are IP based and have huge growth potential. Service providers need to address this growing traffic and need to do so profitably. They need to find ways to lower the cost of transport and simultaneously tap into new applications that increase the average revenue per user. The Cisco Carrier Packet Transport System helps them do exactly that!

Of course, new technology can be overwhelming. So, it’s important to deliver all the benefits of packet technology without sacrificing the trust of transport. With the Cisco CPT System, service providers can build a packet transport infrastructure with the same reliability and familiar operational models of SONET/SDH. Standards-based MPLS-TP allows for robust packet connection-oriented control. Cisco’s Premier Integrated Management Experience (PRIME) offers service providers an A-Z point-and-click network management system. Both wavelengths and MPLS-TP label switch paths are provisioned in an easy “point-and-click” fashion autonomously or from a single integrated domain. This integrated solution provides opex savings and eliminates the need for overhaul and extensive employee re-training.

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MPLS 2010 Conference and Cisco Leadership

Well I am just recovering from a fantastic IETF-79 held in Beijing, PRC from November 7-12. I have to say that  the MPLS Conference 2010, held in Washington D.C. from October 24-27 was a resounding success!

MPLS-TP was the hot topic at MPLS 2010 this year in Washington D.C. Cisco had a strong presence e.g. with seven Cisco distinguished engineer and technical lead presenters:

  • Monique Morrow, Distinguished Engineer
  • Luyuan Fang, Principal Engineer
  • George Swallow, Distinguished Engineer
  • Santiago Alvarez, Distinguished Engineer
  • Azhar Sayeed, Director of Product Marketing
  • Clarence Filsfils, Distinguished Engineer
  • Zafar Ali, Technical Leader

Cisco had presentations on MPLS-TP, multicast, mobility, optical and cloud. Following, is my presentation from the Technical Sessions on Day 1

At this conference there was no question that MPLS-TP is the industry standard!

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Working Together to Attain MPLS-TP Interoperability

IP services are dominating overall network traffic growth and service providers are now truly architecting a transition from legacy Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) networks to packet transport networks. It’s no longer a question of if, but when. The Transport Profile for MPLS or MPLS-TP is the packet transport technology of choice, marrying the efficiency and flexibility of packet with the robust characteristics of a traditional transport network.  The telecommunications industry has embraced this emerging standard, mainly because it is subset of and interoperable with widely deployed IP/MPLS technology. To ensure this interoperability, it was collectively decided by both the ITU-T and IETF that the IETF will be responsible to define the protocol and functionality of MPLS-TP. The embeded spreadsheet specifies which RFCs have been completed and which contributions have been accepted and are in progress as Working Group drafts.

This vision is finally coming to fruition. For the first time since its inception, a standards-based interoperability test for MPLS-TP was conducted by Isocore. The results of this interoperability test were announced this week and demonstrate to the market the reality of a true MPLS-TP standard and that the vendor community is following and adopting this standard.  The interoperability focused on showing how systems from multiple vendors can work together while enabling transport-like characteristics such as statically provisioned paths, protection switching, in band OAM and OAM verification. All of the capabilities tested have been defined in RFC 5860, RFC 5654, RFC 5586 and RFC 5921 which are currently published standards from the IETF.

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Watch for MPLS 2010 Conference Next Week!

I am really excited about the MPLS Conference 2010 to be held in Washington D.C. next week. 

Whilst we have a fantastic agenda of industry leaders who are scheduled to speak at the conference, Cisco in particular will be highly engaged starting with the Sunday, October 24th Tutorial on Mobile Packet Core with Azhar Sayeed, Cisco.

On Monday October 25th, Cisco's Luyuan Fang will co-present with Nabil Bitar (Verizon) and Raymond Zhang (BT), on “MPLS-TP Deployment Scenarios and Design Considerations."

I will present  on "Network Enabled Cloud and Service Models."

The day will end with a panel co-chaired by Dave McDysan (Verizon) and Deborah Brugnard (AT&T) that includes Cisco Distinguished Engineer, George Swallow to discuss MPLS-TP and Ethernet OAM, “Peaceful Co-Existence or Continuing Competition.”

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Packet or Transport? Get Your Questions Ready for October 5th

cisco webcast panel presentersThe OSI stack has long served the telecom industry as a model for engineering since the early 80's (which IMHO was the best decade for music, but I digress). Nowadays the industry is abuzz with a host of developments in the lower layers of the OSI stack. Technologies like OTN and MPLS-TP are being built to extend transport characteristics in the packet domain. At the same time, bandwidth technologies continue to scale upwards to 100G and beyond. While discussions at layer 8 abound on some of them, the industry is largely converging on a standards-based path for development.

Earlier in May, Cisco hosted the IP NGN Virtual Summit where many of you got a flavor of the Transport Architecture evolution amongst various other topics. Following its success, we decided to expand on Transport Technologies in more detail in an hour-long event. The format is much more interactive, and those of you with burning questions can ask them live to our panel of experts. (Register Here)

The event will be held on Tuesday October 5, 2010 with two broadcasts to suit your schedule (each features the live Q&A):

  • First Broadcast: 0500-0600 PDT (San Francisco), 1200-1300 GMT (London)
  • Second Broadcast: 0900-1000 PDT (San Francisco), 1600-1700 GMT (London)

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