By Ranga Thittai, Product Manager, InfoVista
The need to keep pushing profits as mobile data traffic explodes and an impending move toward LTE may quite clearly signal the need to roll out an Ethernet backhaul. But are you well prepared to realize the true benefits of Carrier Ethernet as a cost effective transport medium?
As data traffic explodes at a rate of 400-800% annually worldwide, the easiest and most natural tendency would be to “extra provision” or in other words, throw in extraneous network hardware to handle this traffic growth. But wouldn’t that defeat the whole business intent behind Carrier Ethernet backhaul?
Under-provisioning, on the other hand, would compromise end-to-end transport quality and cause other heartaches like sloppy synchronization in the Radio Access Network. So how do you avoid this trap of over-provisioning and also ensure the right end-to-end quality? The trick lies in the use of advanced systems that can help on both these fronts. Over time analytics on traffic utilization data can be used to not only predict “near-long term” forecasts but also for establishing the right engineering limits for every sub-entity (ports, sub-interface, QoS queues) that make up the backhaul network. But the next step is to test your engineering limits. Long term analytics like hourly baselines and busy hour analysis of end-to-end quality (leveraging Ethernet OAM standards) can help the operator determine if their “first pass” at the engineering limits indeed support their expectations for end-to-end quality. If not, the iteration continues.
Mind you, mobile data traffic growth is only going to become even more unpredictable in the future – with numerous iClones flooding the market and threatening to cause equivalent (if not more) traffic tsunamis like the one brought by the iPhone. Therefore, the need for such systems is long-term and well entrenched. As service providers deploy Ethernet backhaul, they are better off making the right management decisions upfront to be able to “surf” these unpredictable traffic waves.
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