Stylish Customer SLA Overview - The Face of Carrier Ethernet 2.0



Welcome to March 2013 issue of Creanord EchoNEWS. EchoVault is the leading Carrier Ethernet SLA management platform, helping Service Providers focus on aligning the network with the SLA to drive service provisioning and reporting, in order to enable differentiation and improve customer satisfaction. This article focuses on expanding multi-vendor SLA management with the new EchoVault 6.0 and giving customer SLA a simple, clear, yet powerful face.


Customer-Focused SLA is The Ace of Your Multi-Vendor Network

With Carrier Ethernet 2.0, reporting on service quality is an absolute requirement. Still, reporting is often done in a way that customers cannot easily comprehend, such as delay, jitter and number of packets lost. EchoVault excels in translating technical jargon to a form that the customer can understand, i.e. answering the question 'am I getting what I paid for'. The new Customer SLA View gives a powerful overview of how well the services are being provided.


Picture above: EchoVault Customer SLA view. The screenshots show a fictional Mobile Backhaul provider, with services for AT&Z, Horizon Wireless, Logo Corp and Z-Mobile, with two separate markets for Horizon. One simple glance shows that AT&Z have 4526 circuits of which 4506 are conforming to the SLA right now. The circuits can have different SLAs, such as platinum level with five nines availability with strict latency and gold level with four nines etc, yet the overview is clear enough to be presented to a non-technical person.

In order to be able to provide SLA monitoring and real time reporting for a broad range of services, support for many different types of equipment is vital. Depending on the service type and criticality, the SLA properties vary and different key performance indicators may be needed. Sometimes a demarcation device is required, but in other scenarios probe-based measurements with significantly lower capex and opex are sufficient.
Because telecoms services are provided using equipment with a comparatively long lifespan while the industry is evolving fast, networks often end up with services being provided by using different equipment types and vendors. Still, the team responsible for SLA delivery and particularly customers should not need to worry about which equipment a service is being provided with in order to view how well the services are working.

Expanding and Extending SLA Management with EchoVault 6.0

The new EchoVault 6.0 brings even more flexibility into data retrieval from diverse data sources. With the addition of Two-way active measurement protocol, TWAMP, a protocol with wide vendor support for instance in base stations is now available. In addition to being supported in many types of equipment, TWAMP brings the benefit of one-way metrics (if clocks are well synced), without the need for a NID at both ends. One important aspect of SLA management is managing the cost of performance data measurement collection. Just as Ethernet allows wide flexibility in service quality, EchoVault allows flexibility in performance data collection mechanisms, to allow balancing the cost with agreed service level requirements and network topology. For more important services, the best data collection mechanism may be appropriate, whereas for less critical services simpler mechanisms suffice. Here follows a few options to set up performance measurements for SLA management:

  • Network Interface Devices (NIDs) at both ends of a circuit for best measurement quality. This enables granular data for data delivery ratio (DDR), microburst detection and precise delay and jitter measurements with one-way results for premium SLAs such as Mobile Backhaul, Wholesale and Financial. Many tier 2 operators providing mobile backhaul to large mobile operators have chosen this approach to ensure clear demarcation points.
  • For less critical links or links not requiring bandwidth monitoring, TWAMP, UDP Echo and EtherLoopbackâ„¢ are great options, providing the key performance indicators of delay, jitter and packet loss for SLA calculations at lower cost. The new TWAMP measurement brings the benefit of wide vendor support and one-way metrics without the need of a NID at each end. One solution raising particular interest has been measuring against thousands of base stations from a couple of test heads using TWAMP.
  • For legacy equipment or equipment providing best effort-type services ICMP ping may suffice or indeed be the only option.

In line with the trends of virtualizing network functionality many providers are looking at options to provide high quality services and measure them without the need for extensive hardware installation. For such a solution TWAMP, UDP Echo and EtherLoopbackâ„¢ bring a welcome chance to manage costs while reaping the benefits of differentiation through effective SLA management.

More Efficient SLA Delivery and Y.1564 Audit Report automation

EchoVault 6.0 introduces numerous enhancements, including workflow-optimized multi-stream Y.1564 Ethernet service validation that goes beyond RFC 2544. Y.1564 benefits are faster validation thanks to running many flows simultaneously, while still providing a high level of accuracy. This allows for significant opex savings as links can be turned up much faster. Throughput meter report automation easily gives the provider a stylish 'birth certificate' to show successful provisioning test according to the promised SLA has been done. The attractive layout, workflow and reporting of Y.1564 tests provide the new standard of SLA delivery.

In addition to the above, EchoVault 6.0 brings a new polished user interface with improved dashboard search and filtering functions as well as user definable circuit descriptions making day-to-day operations easier. New functionality also includes High Availability connector as well as language customization support capability and performance enhancements. For more information on the latest in SLA management, see EchoVault Super Release 6.0.

MWC Wrapup

Mobile World Congress in Barcelona was once again a record-breaking event with 72,000 visitors and Creanord was well received. With more and more service providers looking at improving their customers network experience SLA management will soon start playing a very big role. Please check out our press release made during the congress on Expanding Mobile Backhaul SLA with EchoVault 6.0 here.

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