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Streamlining your network with G-MPLS

Nov 12, 20023 mins
Cellular NetworksMPLS

G-MPLS will enable the transport and data networks to act as one homogeneous network.

Every so often, we come across a new technology that appears to have the potential to significantly help service providers enhance the operation of their network and offer new services. Generalized Multi-protocol Label Switching (G-MPLS) is one such technology, and we set out to learn first hand what service providers and equipment vendors thought. To do this, we conducted a series of interviews with these segments. The overall theme we heard from service providers is that G-MPLS has the potential to dramatically change how they operate their networks. This is the first in a series of articles in which we will present the findings.

The Internet Engineering Forum and the Optical Internetworking Forum are currently developing the G-MPLS standards. It is an extension of the MPLS standard, a packet- and cell-switching technology designed to improve the efficiency of data networks. G-MPLS is a framework of standards with a common signaling protocol that enables the interworking of and communications between the transport and data layers. It extends the data layer routing capabilities to the transport layer. Ultimately, G-MPLS will enable the transport and data networks to act as one homogeneous network.

So before you say to yourself, “Yeah, yeah, another worthless standard equipment vendors will be pushing down our throats,” here are some highlights of the expected G-MPLS impacts from our service provider interviews:

• Multi-Layer Traffic Engineering – 25% to 35% capex savings and up to 50% opex savings. G-MPLS enables automatic reconfiguration and optimization of the logical optical paths between the routers based on the actual traffic patterns and volumes, resulting in the savings.

• Integrated Protection and Restoration – 15% to 30% capex savings and 10% to 40% opex savings. G-MPLS enables a dynamic multi-layer recovery technique allowing the transport and data network to work together to protect and restore the network.

• Rapid Service Provisioning – 20% to 30% capex savings and 10% to 80% opex savings. G-MPLS automates many of today’s manual processes, speeding the provisioning process and eliminating errors.

• Increased Revenues – up to 10%. G-MPLS enables faster revenue recognition due to quicker provisioning and the ability to offer new revenue-generating services.

All of these items add up to some substantial savings along with the potential for new revenue. As one service provider said (no mention of the name for obvious reasons), “this might actually give us some margin in the future.” That would be a good thing.

While mass commercial deployments might still be a few years away, service providers have the ability to start to take advantage of this technology today with G-MPLS-enabled equipment. The good news: Existing networking equipment does not need to be thrown away; G-MPLS can be activated on current equipment. This provides a cost-effective way for service providers to begin using the technology. Since the standards are not complete, equipment vendors will provide upgrades and new releases as they become available to conform to the latest G-MPLS development.