Pipeline Publishing, Volume 6, Issue 12
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Making Customers Happy
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Leveraging Ethernet Backhaul to Fight Churn

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By Manuel Stopnicki

Mobile operators and wholesale network infrastructure providers are embracing Carrier Ethernet in order to future-proof for explosive data growth and 4G mobile networks while, at the same time, reducing operational expenses. Deploying an Ethernet-based backhaul network is key to achieving the business objective of cost containment—driving down “per-bit” costs for transporting increasing data traffic. But to realize this objective, service operations teams must overcome four key challenges:

  • assuring performance of cell sites and emulated traditional technologies over Ethernet
  • guaranteeing the same end-to-end quality as traditional TDM
  • right-sizing the Ethernet backhaul infrastructure as data traffic explodes, and
  • managing the complexities associated with class of service and MPLS traffic engineering

Having the right Ethernet-based performance management system is critical to meeting these challenges and to ensuring the quality services end-users demand from their mobile provider.

Having the right Ethernet-based performance management system is critical to ensuring the quality services end-users demand from their mobile provider.

In the fiercely competitive mobile market, operators who deliver poor service quality to their customers are extremely likely to experience churn. Proactive assurance of the mobile backhaul is critical in addressing this challenge. End-to-end quality degradations in the mobile backhaul lead to local market/regional issues that affect service experience for an entire population of mobile users. With operators looking to push their top-line revenue by introducing more and

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Although Carrier Ethernet is the emerging technology of choice for next-generation networks (4G), operators still have to support their legacy 2G and even 3G radio networks, which use legacy transmission standards like TDM or ATM. Pseudowire or circuit emulation technologies are enabling operators to seamlessly support legacy transmission interfaces over a pure Carrier Ethernet network, but transmission connections to individual cell sites are still prone to multiple problems ranging from weather to careless configuration changes. The operations teams that traditionally managed the tools for testing legacy connectivity now need similar tools to assure the availability and quality of emulated connections over Carrier Ethernet. Furthermore, the capability to troubleshoot transmissions to each cell site in real time is vital for comprehensive service management.

more value-added applications that are streaming-oriented (e.g., video) and real-time (e.g., gaming), stringent end-to-end quality guarantees are essential and demand monitoring and measurement across the multiple classes of traffic separation.

The need to assure data service experience as well as the compulsion to adhere to strict timing synchronization make it imperative to consider end-to-end quality assurance techniques even before rolling out the Ethernet backhaul network. The recognition of this by the industry has led to the introduction of end-to-end Ethernet assurance standards like IEEE 802.1ag and ITU-T Y.1731, or more generically, Ethernet OAM. Popular Carrier Ethernet infrastructure

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