Today Light Reading is running their Digital Ethernet Summit. One of the more interesting topics so far was the webinar discussion of transport networks and using MPLS-TP and the IETF Standards being developed.
Transport Networks are mostly TDM based, there is a constant bit rate even when there is no traffic to be sent. There is a move toward convergence, there is a need to run multiple services across the same network. The transport network is evolving to statistical multiplexing, the Transport Networks need to get a greater sense of efficiency of network resources, but need to maintain their connection oriented nature for control, management, and service guarantees, so delay and jitter can be predicted.
Since services are invented and created each day fueling higher bandwidth needs, like video, VPN's, virtualization, and cloud virtualization and with these services being packet based, there is no need for a constant bit pipe (TDM), but the Transport Network can't sacrifice Quality of Service (QOS), the network needs to be predictable, scalable, stable, and with fast resiliency.
MPLS-TP is being proposed because of:
MPLS provides statistical multiplexing and control
MPLS has long been deployed for many services such as IP VPN, Ethernet, Frame Relay, TDM, and ATM
MPLS designed originally to carry IP efficiently. Later extended for other services emulation e.g. Ethernet, TDM, FR
Provides a rich and dynamic control plane not needed for transport networks
MPLS is much more than what is needed for transport. So what's needed for transport?
MPLS extensions seem to be suited to meet transport network requirements. However some are separating MPLS from MPLS-TP. MPLS-TP is being used for residential broadband access, business and enterprise, mobile back haul, and more recently IP TV. Very interesting developments in the carrier transport networks, which ultimately effect business, enterprise and government customers.
Time to check out the next presentation the Ethernet Market Update.