Ethernet Operations, Administration, and Maintenance

by Cisco Systems
Published 2006; Posted November 2006



As intense competition continues to erode their profitability and demand for new services increases, service providers are accelerating their transition to an IP-based NGN. Service providers require innovative, converged infrastructures to improve delivery of current services and provide a scalable framework for tomorrow’s new, bandwidth-intensive services such as IPTV, video on demand (VoD), gaming, and voice over IP (VoIP). Solutions that provide greater network intelligence, integration, and flexibility will not only give carriers short-term relief, but also position them to seize new market opportunities. These solutions are part of a larger vision – the Cisco IP NGN – encompassing a broad transformation of not only the service provider’s network, but its entire business. The IP NGN empowers service providers to meet the needs of all customer segments efficiently and economically while providing the basis for delivering applications that enable sustainable profitability and subscriber retention.


Convergence is central to the IP NGN, and it occurs in three fundamental ways: application convergence, service convergence, and network convergence. Cisco ServiceFlex Design defines the network layer of the Cisco IP NGN architecture optimized to converge both consumer and business services. Service Providers will use Ethernet OAM to reach out from the central office (CO) all the way to the customer premise, providing the “eyes, ears, and hands” with which network operations can be performed. Creating a highly reliable and available converged network is a goal that many carriers are already pursuing through their efforts to eliminate multiple service-specific networks or to reduce multiple layers within a network. A “many services, one network” model in which a single network can support all existing and new services will dramatically reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) for service providers and allow them to quickly provide new services.


Service providers are turning to Ethernet technology for metropolitan-area networks (MANs) and WANs to support the IP NGN model. Ethernet is familiar to enterprise customers and their IT staffs; it can scale to deliver bandwidth up to 10 Gbps to support demanding applications such as triple play, and its bandwidth can be tailored to deliver performance that meets the needs of specific business applications. The challenge for service providers is to provide a highly available Ethernet network where entertainment and business-grade services are assured of being delivered even if the physical link or virtual paths in the network fail. Increasingly, Ethernet as a WAN technology is being recognized as the medium of choice for NGNs. OAM provides the service assurance over a converged network that service providers are looking for in an Ethernet network. Service assurance provides the detection, resiliency, and monitoring capabilities that are needed for service availability, increased service velocity, allowing auto-provisioning of equipment, and making end-to-end deployment easy through connectivity fault management and link-level protection. Ethernet OAM helps the service provider to provide end-to-end service assurance across the IP/MPLS core, the Ethernet metro, and to the customer’s premises.



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