ViewsLetter(SM) on Provisioning

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ViewsLetter on Provisioning          12 July 2004            #39
Provisioning automation--from chips to the business layer.


    By William Flanagan, Editor & Publisher

SuperCom had a lot on the "Triple Play" that local exchange carriers want to pull off:  voice, data/Internet, and movies on the same IP packet infrastructure.  Most of the talk brings back memories from early in the life of ISDN, when that Digital Network was going to Integrate Services, all services, on one infrastructure.  Can we get a test for an echo on this line?

Fortunately for the LECs, they seem this time to have a better grip on marketing, and recognize that "If we build it, they might not come."  (Remember also DQDB, a/k/a Broadband ISDN.)

What's encouraging is that almost all the equipment vendors supporting the move to "the TP" recognize the need for two key elements:
    --automated provisioning, ViewsLetter's main concern, and
    --quality of service (QoS)--that is, prioritization and bandwidth guarantees that give some traffic preferential treatment.

For most customers, voice and video would get expedited at the expense of Web browsing and eMail transfers.  However, if the prime goal is to back up the financials ASAP, some customers may need to prioritize FTP.  That's where the automated provisioning comes in--let the buyer decide, and configure the service directly. 

Whatever the top application is, the customer must be able to decide,  based on individual cases, and then instruct the network service provider how the network should behave accordingly.  The faster the network responds, the better--the customer will want to change the order frequently.

Getting the network to perform as required, in terms of different classes of service, requires capable infrastructure.  In several recent  issues, ViewsLetter covered multiple aspects of Passive Optical Networking (PON), a technology that shares the transmission medium (fiber) under the control of the carrier's headend device.  The carrier allocates bandwidth and controls delays (applies QoS) by polling the subscriber devices.  IBM's SDLC dominated datacomm for decades by applying a similar architecture, at much lower speeds, but that's no guarantee the architecture will win today and tomorrow. 

There are other technologies that LECs may select to get into the "Qual Game."  We'll explore them starting in the next issue with carrier-grade switched Ethernet as an access technology.  Then Resilient Packet Ring will get a close examination.

Write if you have a favorite access technology you'd like to see covered in ViewsLetter:

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Flanagan Consulting        We Have The Experience
-- Call us for a vendor-neutral network architecture and strategy for expansion or convergence.  We know voice AND data--and how to avoid expensive bear traps on the migration path. 
--Working on product positioning or a marketing message for telecom?   Yes, we've done that--for hardware products and carrier services.
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 Updated: 17 July 2004 2003

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