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Ethernet equipment

RAD Brews MPLS-TP Storm

PARIS -- Attendees at this week's MPLS and Ethernet World Congress in Paris look like they're in for a combative treat on Thursday when, after hours of presentations about the capabilities of MPLS-TP, RAD Data Communications Ltd. CTO Yaakov Stein will take to the stage to explain why Ethernet "retains a strong advantage over MPLS-TP in the access [network]." (See RAD Pitches Against MPLS-TP.)

Stein's presentation could be incendiary as MPLS-TP, a transport-network version of Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), is in the final throes of becoming a standard. (See ITU Pushes Toward MPLS-TP Answer.)

Stein bases his conclusion on 10 criteria, namely "fault management functionality, performance management functionality, automatic protection switching mechanisms, Quality of Service mechanisms, handling diverse traffic types, timing distribution, integration with surrounding networks, CapEx, OpEx, and security."

Among his critiques of MPLS-TP, the one pertaining to security might stimulate the most debate. "MPLS packets are inherently not authenticatable, which poses a major problem in access networks ... Even if the security problems are addressed -- and it is hard to see how that could be done without a major overhaul of MPLS -- the fact that MPLS packets are not self-describing is a disadvantage in environments where application awareness is needed," RAD's press release quotes him as saying.

With so many MPLS supporters set to be in the room, Stein can expect some volunteers when the audience is offered the chance to pose questions (or more likely challenges, in this instance).

It should be noted that RAD Data is showing off access products at its Congress booth that support Ethernet access over IP, Ethernet, MPLS and MPLS-TP network infrastructure.

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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