The VP of Marketing for the MPLS/Frame Relay Alliance, Gary Leonard, was explaining the demo to a live audience at the show when the power went off and then back on again. “This is the kind of thing you generally don’t want happening in front of a live audience”, wryly noted Leonard, a veteran of many conference presentations. “But in this case, the most impressive thing was when the power came back on. Everything started working again without a hitch, and with no operator intervention. My first reaction was relief, of course, closely followed by: ‘Wow, that’s pretty cool!’ ”
The power outage was caused by a simple fuse blowing – quite a common event during the assembly of these kinds of demonstrations. Apparently, one of the demo power lines was pulling 20 amps through a 16 amp fuse for about an hour or so before the fuse finally said “enough is enough.” In a real carrier installation, the power supply would be tested before installing the equipment, and there would be multiple supplies, including backup batteries.
The real purpose of the demo is interoperability. The test configuration consists of IP/MPLS switches and test devices from:
- Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A)
- Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA)
- Avici Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: AVCI; Frankfurt: BVC7)
- Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)
- Ixia (Nasdaq: XXIA)
- Marconi Corp. plc (Nasdaq: MRCIY; London: MONI)
- Native Networks Ltd.
- Navtel Communications Inc.
- Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT)
- RAD Data Communications Ltd.
- Riverstone Networks Inc.
- Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA)
Here is a matrix of the range of services shown in the demo:
|MPLS DiffServ||Constraint-Based Routing||VPLS||L2 VPNs (PWE3)||BGP L3 VPNs||TDM over MPLS|
A whitepaper detailing the demo can be downloaded from: http://www.eantc.com/mplsworld2004.
In an upcoming Heavy Reading report on resilience, reliability, and OAM (operations, administration, and maintenance) in converged carrier backbones, there is a specific call to action for industry forums to play a larger part in the testing of multivendor solutions – features such as hardware resilience, software stability, and OAM.
— Geoff Bennett, Chief Technologist, Heavy Reading