Light Reading

BT Guru Picks Holes in NGNs

Ray Le Maistre
11/18/2005
50%
50%

LONDON -- (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) group technology officer Mick Reeve says the world's telecom standards groups are, at last, all singing from the same song sheet with their work on next-generation network (NGN) standards.

Addressing an International Telecommunication Union meeting in London today, Reeve, a key figure in the development of BT's 21st Century Network (21CN), praised the ITU for its role in bringing together the work of many different groups around the world and delivering a unified vision of what an NGN should look like and deliver. (See BT Unveils 21CN Suppliers, Bross: More to Come on 21CN, and Wales to Get 21CN First.)

"The ITU has done a great job in finding a global agreement on NGNs. There's a high level of agreement globally about NGN principles" that has helped deliver an "overall architecture for next generation networks and systems, something that has been unheard of before now," says the BT man. He cited the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), TeleManagement Forum, and Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) as organizations that have helped in the ITU's work.

His praise came as Houlin Zhao, director of the ITU's telecom standards body, the International Telecommunication Union, Standardization Sector (ITU-T), revealed the ITU's Release 1 of NGN Standards specifications -- a whopping 900-page document -- at a presentation near London today.

But while the ITU is making headway in delivering specifications that, says Reeve, are practical and applicable to telecom network operators, he says there are still a number of major NGN hurdles that need to be addressed, most specifically in terms of interconnection, wireless, MPLS, and Ethernet.

Interconnecting NGNs
Interconnection is becoming "a fundamental issue for NGNs," Reeve says. "At the moment there are various interconnect models for different services, but how do you interconnect MPLS-based NGNs? MPLS doesn't support interconnect at the moment -- there isn't enough information in the header, and that's a major challenge."

Reeve says the issue can be addressed by the IPsphere Forum, the industry body (of which BT is a member) formed to continue the work started by 's (Nasdaq: JNPR) Infranet initiative. (See Infranet Becomes IPsphere.) But, "it needs to do things fast, and it needs to feed its work into the ITU."

Next-gen wireless broadband
Reeve says while there are many debates and arguments about wireless technologies, there is common agreement by telecom technologists that OFDMA (orthogonal frequency division multiple access) is the best technology to deploy for broadband wireless in the future. (See All Hail OFDMA!.)

However, he notes, there are a number of different camps arguing about the best route to OFDMA deployment. The 3G mobile infrastructure players see it as an extension of what they have developed, the WiMax brigade believe they're best placed to deliver, and "then there are proprietary solutions such as the Flarion option from Qualcomm. I just wish we could find one way to get to the technology we want," says a frustrated Reeve, who admits he doesn't know which industry body is best placed to deliver a consensus approach.

MPLS and Ethernet frustrations
As he mentioned recently at Light Reading's Future of Telecom Europe 2005 event in London, Reeve has issues with MPLS and Ethernet, believing there is work to be done before either can be regarded as truly carrier class. (See Aggregation Aggravation.)

"It's not possible to trace an MPLS route end-to-end in a standard way. You have to jump through hoops to achieve that sort of visibility, and that doesn't meet our needs for operations and maintenance. It's good to see that the ITU's NGN Working Group 7 is addressing this issue."

Ethernet also still poses too many O&M issues due to the technology's lack of carrier-class management features. This problem is recognized within the Ethernet community, though, which is working on standard specifications. (See Ethernet Growing Pains .)

Reeve also noted the ongoing dilemma carriers face with new fiber deployments -- "bandwidth demands will eventually necessitate fiber-to-the-home or fiber-to-the-cabinet, but it's a difficult economic case" -- and touched on the need for standards focused on IPTV developments. "There are multiple approaches and different architectures, but wherever the IPTV standards work starts, it should end up as an ITU standard."

Reeve and many of his BT colleagues have been heavily involved in ITU standards work, including representation in the Focus Group on NGNs. Now, with Release 1 concluded, the ITU will focus its attention, in its NGN Global Standards Initiative (NGN GSI), on the detailed protocols necessary to deliver multiple services over NGNs.

But where does that leave the U.K. carrier? BT is determined that 21CN, its NGN, will be built using standards-based systems, but the rollout has begun using technology that isn't based on a set of global NGN specifications. (See Wales to Get 21CN First.)

Reeve says BT would "rather have waited for the standards and worked to those," but the carrier has had to forge ahead to meet its business objectives and has had to work around the ongoing standards work. "We've been trying to convince the standards world that the architecture we have for the 21CN is the right one. If you look at what we're doing, there's nothing new in there from a technology viewpoint. We have based 21CN on existing, popular technologies, such as MPLS in the core and IMS. The plan to shut down the PSTN -- that's new."

BT is spending £10 billion (US$17.2 billion) on its new network, which it plans to have up and running nationwide in 2010. (See BT Moves Ahead With Mega Project.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

(8)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
deanfro
50%
50%
deanfro,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:10:11 AM
re: BT Guru Picks Holes in NGNs
You are right in that the whole point is that no one will offer various levels of QoS/SLAs at interconnect points unless they can charge for it. This is why BT and others are looking for the IPsphere forum to solve "business layer" problems such as service signaling and reconcilliation.
light-headed
50%
50%
light-headed,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 2:53:33 AM
re: BT Guru Picks Holes in NGNs
Of course if it is not done the way that BT wants to do it then it must be wrong!

There could not possibly be any other ways of providing convergence, NGN, et. al.
raid
50%
50%
raid,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 2:53:31 AM
re: BT Guru Picks Holes in NGNs
MPLS doesn't support interconnect at the moment -- there isn't enough information in the header

--------------------------------------------
Can anybody clarify what the issue is here ? Thanks in advance.

-raid
krbabu
50%
50%
krbabu,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 2:53:31 AM
re: BT Guru Picks Holes in NGNs
What is being implied here is the interconnection between carriers, at peering points if you will. Preservation of QoS, in particular, across carriers is what is at issue here.
alchemy
50%
50%
alchemy,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 2:53:28 AM
re: BT Guru Picks Holes in NGNs
krbabu writes:
What is being implied here is the interconnection between carriers, at peering points if you will. Preservation of QoS, in particular, across carriers is what is at issue here.

Once you strip out all the hype, the only value-add for "NGN networks" is the extended address space of IPv6 and yet another way of providing QoS at peering points. It ignores the reality that nobody is going to offer different levels of QoS at a peering point unless they can charge for it. If it's free, every packet will end up being marked to use the best possible QoS.
netboarder
50%
50%
netboarder,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 2:53:26 AM
re: BT Guru Picks Holes in NGNs
Why praise the ITU? What exactly have they contributed to IP/MPLS/Ethernet/Packet networks?!

IETF, as well as other pragmatic bodies (IEEE, MFA) are rapidly progressing NGNs as we speak, as opposed to ITU which always starts by setting an architecture and model everything to death. Who's going to read 900 pages of NGN architecture by the ITU?...

I think that professional network architects and carriers with a business to win are already deep into their "NGN" (are you waiting for ITU to start a VoIP service, or IPTV? or anything else..).

By the time ITU finish their specifications phase, it will be renamed to PGN (P=Previous):-)
netboarder
50%
50%
netboarder,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 2:53:26 AM
re: BT Guru Picks Holes in NGNs
The main issue is how to signal and maintain inter-provider TE, multi-hop LSPs, as well as pseudowires. These are all being addressed by the IETF, very quickly.
jmbieee
50%
50%
jmbieee,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 2:53:23 AM
re: BT Guru Picks Holes in NGNs
I think the only solution to the NGN is to simplify things, like the proposal described in the paper published in IEEE CommMag/GCN, October 2005:

From "Computer Networks" to the "Computer on Net"
The Convergence of Internet, Broadband, and
Telephone Networks in the IEEE 802 Standards

available [on-line]:

http://www.comsoc.org/pubs/gcn...

Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
From The Founder
Against the odds, Huawei is growing its telecoms networking equipment business in the US -- that should be ringing some alarm bells for domestic vendors.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Between the CEOs
Metaswitch's New CEO Martin Lund Discusses His Role

9|2|15   |   11:27   |   (2) comments


Technology industry veteran Martin Lund joins Metaswitch Networks this week as the company's new CEO. In this interview, Lund discusses his new role and the industry's progress with Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders. Lund believes that the industry disruption caused by SDN and NFV is creating opportunities for companies like Metaswitch – network software providers ...
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Nominum on Leveraging the Power of DNS to Deliver Superior Subscriber Experiences

9|2|15   |   07:13   |   (0) comments


Nominum CEO Gary Messiana talks about the challenges service providers face in competing for a much more sophisticated customer, a customer that has heightened expectations for more personalized and compelling digital experiences. Providers are focusing their efforts on delivering higher value subscriber services, retaining their existing customers and increasing ...
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Jeff Miller, ActiveVideo

8|28|15   |   19:05   |   (0) comments


Jeff Miller, President and CEO of ActiveVideo, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the impact of virtualization on the TV and video distribution market.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Vodafone: Mobile Money Is About Customer Trust

8|27|15   |   06.36   |   (0) comments


Light Reading spoke with Vodafone's Ian Ravenscroft about the unique responsibilities and opportunities facing operators handling customers' financial transactions over the network.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Palo Alto Networks on Expanding in the Carrier/Service Provider Market

8|26|15   |   07:54   |   (0) comments


Alfred Lee from Palo Alto Networks tells Steve Saunders about their new chassis-based system, the PA-7080, and how it can benefit service providers compared to legacy firewalls.
LRTV Custom TV
Global Services Forum Preview

8|25|15   |   02:36   |   (0) comments


Light Reading's CEO and Founder Steve Saunders talks about Huawei's upcoming Global Services Forum with the help of Heavy Reading's Patrick Donegan and Teresa Mastrangelo.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Infoblox on DNS Threat Index

8|19|15   |   04:39   |   (0) comments


Dilip Pillaipakam from Infoblox talks to Steve Saunders about his company's core network services.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Ihab Tarazi, Equinix

8|14|15   |   20:18   |   (1) comment


Equinix CTO Ihab Tarazi talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the dramatic changes in the data center, cloud and interconnect markets and discusses the impact of SDN and NFV in the coming years.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
The Netformx Ecosystem

8|14|15   |   09:39   |   (1) comment


Ittai Bareket, CEO of Netformx, talks with Steve Saunders about the Netformx Ecosystem, which employs cutting-edge prescriptive analytics to help solution providers maximize profits.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Versa Networks on Leveraging VNFs

8|12|15   |   07:37   |   (0) comments


Kumar Mehta, founder and CEO of stealth mode startup Versa Networks, talks with Steve Saunders about how providers can best leverage virtualized network functions (VNFs).
LRTV Custom TV
Transforming the Network Through OPNFV

8|5|15   |   7:09   |   (0) comments


Sandra Rivera, VP Data Center Group; GM Network Platforms Group, Intel Corporation, on OPNFV Arno and how the industry is coming together to accelerate the deployment of NFV and transform the network.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei ONS Product Demo

8|3|15   |   6:01   |   (0) comments


Huawei shows at Open Networking Summit 2015 in Santa Clara how its SDN and NFV solutions embrace openness.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Cisco's cloud and virtualization portfolio can increase business agility and innovation by building a more flexible network architecture.
Hot Topics
T-Mobile CEO Plays Data Traffic Cop
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 8/31/2015
CEO Chat With Bill Gates
Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 8/31/2015
Time to Monetize Cable WiFi
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 8/31/2015
New Apple TV: More $$, Not Content – Report
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 8/31/2015
Ex-AlcaLu Boss Tasked With Bolstering Altice
Iain Morris, News Editor, 9/1/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
September 16, 2015
Wi-Fi First or Second?
September 22, 2015
Media Begins With “Me”
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Technology industry veteran Martin Lund joins Metaswitch Networks this week as the company's new CEO. In this interview, Lund discusses his new role and the industry's progress with Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders. Lund believes that the industry disruption caused by SDN and NFV is creating opportunities for companies like Metaswitch – network software providers with the agility to embrace new technologies quickly and the ability to deliver on substantial projects for global network operators.
The scene: Last Saturday, lunchtime, the interior of a shi-shi-foo-foo eatery in Manhattan's SoHo district.
Cats with Phones
It's a New Age... Click Here
When smartphones replace stuffed animals.