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Cloud, MPLS-TP Key Topics at Upcoming MPLS World Congress

As the industry leader in MPLS and Carrier Ethernet, Cisco will have a strong presence at MPLS and Ethernet World Congress in Paris, France from February 7-10, 2012.

With the spotlight in the industry around cloud services, this year’s conference will focus on how MPLS as a technology can help enable and deliver cloud Read More »

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Packet Transport Nicely Wrapped (Happy Birthday CRS-3!)

It was no accident that Cisco won “Best Core” and “Best Network Infrastructure Provider” of the year at the Telecom Asia People’s Choice Awards. We talked elsewhere about the rapid adoption rate of the Cisco CRS-3, but what are some of the specific reasons behind its success?

The key factor is that today’s core networks must handle dramatic increases in bandwidth both cost-effectively and intelligently. It is simply not enough to transport traffic faster and cheaper. The massive volumes of video, mobile, and cloud services require intelligent IP delivery. The CRS has ability to scale with true, standards-compliant 100GE, 322Tbps multi-chassis capacity, along with superior network intelligence using Network Positioning System to help ensure that content is transported most efficiently. For its one-year birthday, the CRS-3 has added a new capability with a Flexible Packet Transport processor card optimized for Label Switching. It scales the core economically with fast switching, providing carriers the ability to deploy high-speed, agile transport backbones.

Global service providers can reduce costs by utilizing a single core platform to deliver a mix of routing, peering, and transport services. To illustrate the versatility benefits, imagine that a business customer is initially provisioned for a point-to-point connectivity service using packet transport. This is traditionally a lower margin service with tremendous cost-pressures. As that customer grows, they require a multipoint connectivity service with Unified Communications and Telepresence. This service upgrade with higher profit margins can be made quickly and easily without need of a separate platform. This alone lowers the total cost of ownership for capital expenses by 44% and operating expenses by 36% (see the white paper: Flexible Packet Transport: An Approach to Core Network Optimization.)

Eve Griliches from ACG Research spent some time with me last week in this video discussing the new capabilities on the CRS platform, the new market opportunities it enables for Cisco, and how it compares to the competition. You can also listen to the Investor Tech-Talk on ‘The Evolution of Core Networks’ and why a separate standalone MPLS switch is sub-optimal from an architectural perspective.

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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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