Ethernet Loopback SLA for Mobile Backhaul

Welcome to June 2012 issue of Creanord EchoNEWS, keeping you informed of developments at Creanord and in the fields of SLA assurance, automated Ethernet service delivery and OAM (Operations, Administration and Maintenance).

This edition focuses on extending SLA Management for Mobile Backhaul with EtherLoopbackTM and details Ethernet Loopback use cases for Communications Service Providers (CSPs). The functionality allows you to extend SLA measurements to many of the devices already in your network.

Introducing EtherLoopbackTM

Ethernet Loopback SLAs mobile devices are becoming more sophisticated and capable and their use more advanced, the amount of data being transmitted over wireless networks is growing at a staggering pace. In the US, for instance, the rate was 123% a year from 2010 to 2011 and there is no end to growth in sight. With this in mind, it is no wonder CSPs are facing challenges to turn up towers quickly and focusing increasingly on Ethernet to provide the backhaul, thanks to its attractive price points and flexibility.

With the requirement to set up networks quickly, it's easy to forget the need to be able to report and analyze the network both from an operational and support perspective. You really need to be ready when something goes wrong. EchoVault provides state-of-the-art measurement capabilities for NID-based quality measurements with powerful functionality to relate this to the business objectives, i.e. SLA. This is a great solution for a greenfield implementation. However, if a CSP has a network already in place, the chances are there are going to be equipment from a variety of vendors installed. So what to do with this equipment?

In multi-vendor scenarios, EchoVault proposes the new simple yet powerful EtherLoopbackTM functionality. This allows gathering availability data from a broad range of third party equipment such as Cell Towers, NIDs, Switches, Routers and EFM modems. Compatible equipment include devices from Alcatel-Lucent, Huawei, RAD, Juniper, Cisco etc. The data is gathered using the almost ubiquitous Layer 2 Ethernet loopback. With help of the EtherLoopbackTM key performance indicators (KPIs) on delay, jitter and frame loss are gathered into EchoVault. EchoVault then performs its magic calculating the percentiles, standard deviations, service availability in real time as well as comparing the values to SLA targets. No extra hardware is required at the site being measured against, just configuration to enable loopback.

Setting up EtherLoopbackTM

Carrier Ethernet SLA Management is based on using performance measurements, SLA calculations and comparison against defined targets. Additionally the SLA should be reported to an end customer. ITU-T Y.1731 is a standard often used for Ethernet performance management and very useful in a context where NIDs are placed at either end of the connections to be measured. Another standard is 802.1ag CFM (Connectivity Fault Management). Both standards include L2 loopback and any device supporting either can be used for EtherLoopbackTM measurements. Because both standards have been around for many years, this functionality is widely available. It is on this that EtherLoopbackTM is based. The benefit of EtherLoopbackTM is that it is simple, widely supported on the devices, yet it provides a good level of understanding network element availability.

The above figure shows a process for setting up EtherLoopbackTM to describe how the SLA can be followed up and reported through EchoVault:

  1. One SLA repository for multiple vendor provided services
  2. Improved service differentiation and visibility into the service for customers through an interactive SLA portal
  3. Better visibility into service performance for internal interest groups such as sales
  4. Improved trouble ticket prioritization with information on which services are close to being breached

Using EtherLoopbackTM allows for a very cost-efficient and simple way to gather SLA data, analyze it allowing you to react quickly to degradation as well as bring visibility into your service by reporting to end users.
Stay tuned for more information on how EchoVault helps you tame the next generation of Carrier Ethernet.


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