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...

Flash Poll
From The Founder
Anshul Sadana answers questions from Steve Saunders, Light Reading's founder and CEO, about Arista's CloudVision, a global cloud network controller for workload orchestration and workflow automation delivering a turnkey solution for cloud networking.
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Custom TV
End-User or Enterprise Benefits to the New IP

7|30|15   |   04:27   |   (1) comment


Andrew Coward discusses what the New IP means to end users or enterprise customers. He explains compelling reasons, including how every customer can get their own network, from the transformation to the New IP.
LRTV Custom TV
Network Visibility & the New IP

7|30|15   |   02:23   |   (0) comments


Mukund Srigopal provides an explanation of what network visibility is and how it is essential as service providers transition to the New IP. In addition, the importance of the network packet broker is discussed.
Between the CEOs
Video Exclusive With Basil Alwan, Alcatel-Lucent

7|24|15   |   26:44   |   (5) comments


Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
LRTV Custom TV
VDF: Enable the Financial With Mobile Money

7|20|15   |   06:53   |   (0) comments


Ian Ravenscroft discusses how operators can expand to occupy the entire digital services value chain through service innovation.
LRTV Custom TV
Telefónica on OSS Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:01   |   (0) comments


Jose Gonzales discusses the details of Telefónica's operation transformation program.
LRTV Custom TV
Judi Achmadi on Huawei's Cloud Storage Solution

7|20|15   |   03:33   |   (0) comments


Judi discusses the key business goals of TelekomSigma's public cloud service and how Huawei's solution helps them address challenges.
LRTV Custom TV
KPN Enlightening Digital Business & IT Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:19   |   (0) comments


Rob de Beer discusses the changes that operators need to make with service innovation now coming from the Internet world.
LRTV Custom TV
Stratus Telco-Grade Cloud Solutions & NFV

7|20|15   |   07:34   |   (0) comments


Ali Kafel from Stratus Technologies addresses high-availability concerns within the telco industry with a solution that enables telcos to provide high-availability and stateful fault-tolerance using a software-based approach.
LRTV Documentaries
The Six Million Dollar Business Man

7|20|15   |   01:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Saunders, publisher. A man barely alive after an acquisition malfunction imploded the company he founded. Gentlemen, we can rebuild Light Reading. Better, faster, stronger.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Anukool Lakhina, Guavus

7|20|15   |   38:51   |   (1) comment


Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
LRTV Custom TV
IBM's Flash Storage With Intel QuickAssist

7|20|15   |   03:18   |   (0) comments


Intel's Bev Crair and IBM's Eric Herzog discuss how IBM's V9000 Flash Storage System has helped customers around the world. Featuring real-time compression powered by Intel QuickAssist Technology, the V9000 is a next-gen flash storage solution.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Thailand's AIS: Transforming to an FMC Operator

7|17|15   |   4:53   |   (0) comments


Saran Phaloprakarn, Senior VP of Fixed Broadband Business Management of Thailand's AIS, was a keynote speaker at the first Asia-Pacific Ultra Broadband Summit in Bangkok. In this video, he talks to Heavy Reading about transforming into an FMC (FBB+MBB+Content) operator.
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
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Network operators start seeing savings from NFV in the first year, according to a study by Affirmed Networks and ACG.
Hot Topics
Robbins Succeeds Chambers as Cisco Changes CEOs
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 7/27/2015
Cable Feuds With Senate Dems Over STBs
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 7/31/2015
RJio to Launch Its Own 4G Devices Brand
Gagandeep Kaur, Contributing Editor, 7/27/2015
Easing the Tech Pains for the Homeless
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 7/28/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
September 22, 2015
Media Begins With “Me”
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
Cats with Phones
Comes With Free Phone Stand Click Here
Who says cats don't have any skills?