Optical/IP Networks

Report Details VOIP OAM Progress

The rollout of voice-over-IP technologies in carrier networks is getting a lot of press these days, but little is said about one of the biggest challenges facing service providers: how to provide the sort of management capabilities that exist in telephone networks.

A report that’s just been published by Light Reading spells out these and other challenges facing carriers that want to offer VOIP services over Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) networks (see VOIP vs PSTN).

The report points out that IP networks have relatively simple management systems, which manage connections that lump together millions of separate IP flows. Even when networks support IP VPNs, the traffic within them is not treated as it is in the public switched telephone network, where each individual connection is monitored from end to end.

The report points out that this issue is being addressed by the International Telecommunication Union, Standardization Sector (ITU-T) and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). It spells out the standards for operations, administration, and management (OAM) tools under development in both of these organizations.

At one stage, the development of these OAM tools was turning into a bit of a battle between the vendors behind the IETF and the carriers behind the ITU (see MPLS Gets the Management Blues). Now, however, those differences appear to be disappearing. The report notes that the ITU and IETF's work on defect indication, connectivity verification, continuity checking, and path trace is now pretty much aligned. It goes on to say that the ITU appears to be ahead of the IETF in two other areas: loopback and performance monitoring.

— Peter Heywood, Founding Editor, Light Reading

Archives of Related Light Reading Webinars:

materialgirl 12/5/2012 | 1:29:00 AM
re: Report Details VOIP OAM Progress What are they trying to do, make packet networks as expensive as circuit networks by managing them to death? Does Skype work today with all the "lack of management" or not?
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