Network-Layer Management
Foundation for Predictable IP Services

by Packet Design
Published January 2007, Posted January 2007




The mission of enterprise network engineering has undergone a significant change in the last decade.  No longer is simply building an IP network and preventing major outages enough.  Network requirements are ever-increasing, with the advent of web-enabled applications, Voice over IP (VoIP) and Video over IP. IT and network engineering in particular is tasked with delivering a predictable IP network service infrastructure that can support ever more IP services and mission-critical applications.


However, IP networks are far from predictable today.  While todayís IP networks do not suffer the levels of hard downtime associated with the early implementations of the 1990ís, they are still plagued with brown-outs, intermittent disruptions and performance degradations, and mysterious behavior.  Whatís worse is that most of these problems leave no audit trail today, placing network engineering in the unenviable position of not being able to explain what has happenned, let alone why.


Unpredictable and unexplained behavior is a major challenge for IP networks because it disrupts critical application availability and performance, impacts user and IT productivity, and reduces confidence in IT as a service delivery organization.


This white paper explores the root cause of a large percentage of IP network unpredictable behavioróthe dynamic, network-layer problems that occur as a result of IPís distributed architecture.  It then examines why traditional, device-oriented, SNMP-based network management is unable to address this class of IP network problems, and the need for next-generation network-layer management.  Finally, this paper describes how new route analytics technology is applied to provide network-layer management, enabling network engineering to deliver predictable IP network service infrastructure.



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