Nokia Siemens Shares Ethernet Secrets

Nokia Siemens Networks expands its carrier Ethernet portfolio with new products and reveals a 'secret sauce' development

September 26, 2008

4 Min Read
Nokia Siemens Shares Ethernet Secrets

BERLIN -- Carrier Ethernet World Congress -- Nokia Networks , determined not to be left too far behind in the "end-to-end" carrier Ethernet access race, has had a busy week here in Berlin, showing off new products and capabilities, including a special technology development that helped it land a pan-European deployment.

Following in the footsteps of Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), which started the week by unveiling an important new piece in its backhaul portfolio, the Nokia Siemens team talked up its ability to deliver an edge-to-metro service delivery and backhaul product set, which now includes an internally developed new microwave transport product and a higher capacity multiservice edge box for traffic aggregation. (See NSN Touts Backhaul, NSN Launches FlexiHybrid, NSN Unveils Ethernet Switch, and AlcaLu Plugs Its Backhaul Hole.)

In particular it highlighted its work with sometime partner Symmetricom Inc. (Nasdaq: SYMM), which has developed synchronization technology designed to enable the efficient backhaul of high quality mobile voice traffic over Ethernet connections. (See Symmetricom, NSN Interop.)

Nokia Siemens and Symmetricom teamed up in the impressive interoperability showcase set up in Berlin by test house European Advanced Networking Test Center AG (EANTC) , with Symmetricom's standards-based grand master clock product proving invaluable in numerous mobile service tests and demonstrations made by the EANTC team and its vendor participants. (See EANTC Tests Carrier Ethernet and Carriers Don't Trust Ethernet Backhaul?)

But away from the EANTC demo, NSN talked of some not quite so public developments.

Resilient results
In running through the attributes of NSN's new carrier Ethernet switch, the A-2200, Nokia Siemens unveiled a key development in its carrier Ethernet portfolio, one that helped secure its recently announced deal with pan-European business services operator Colt Technology Services Group Ltd . (See Colt Unveils NGN Vendors.)

Francois Tournesac, NSN's head of carrier Ethernet transport sales for Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, who joined NSN as part of the Atrica acquisition, says the new switch has been in development for some time, and boasts greater capacity, supports more T1 lines, and is physically smaller than its predecessor, the A-2140. (See Nokia Siemens to Acquire Atrica.)

Like all Atrica-developed hardware it is supported by the company's Atrica Service Platform for Ethernet Networks (ASPEN) management platform, and in the future it will support the emerging packet transport standard, MPLS-TP (transport profile), of which NSN is a major supporter. (See Transport MPLS Gets a Makeover.)

Support for MPLS-TP suits COLT's plans, and the operator's CTO Dr. Alireza Mahmoodshahi has stated previously that the ASPEN management software was "one of the key issues in making the decision to choose NSN," though he also noted, in an interview with Light Reading, that "troubleshooting is much easier and quicker than with Ethernet over SDH." (See More Rides Coming on Colt's NGN.)

And it's in this OA&M (operations, administration, and maintenance) area where NSN has developed something new. COLT has an extensive SDH network that reaches across multiple markets in Western Europe, and, while wanting to migrate to a new Ethernet-centric network, Mahmoodshahi was very keen on retaining the multiple failover attributes of the SDH network. Those attributes mean that if network elements are taken down in multiple locations simultaneously, service is not affected.

So Atrica, even before it was acquired by NSN, started developing its Multiple Failover Protocol (MFP), which has now been completed and integrated into the A-2200 switch, and which will be added to NSN's other IP transport products.

And COLT likes it. Henry Bohannon a data products manager at the operator, told Light Reading that, in "many cases it's better than SDH multiple failover," and that COLT is very pleased with the "proprietary protocol."

Because that's what it is. The MFP, tailored for COLT, is not based on any standards, so that's what Nokia Siemens is looking at next. Tournesac says the vendor will now look to get the technology introduced to standards bodies and adopted into the MEF as a new specification.

And NSN is looking to develop further SDH attributes for the carrier Ethernet world. The company is "aiming to emulate everything that existing, legacy technologies can do," Bohannon says.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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