DSL Service Management
Light Reading’s survey shows that there’s a lot of diversity in service management systems, although there are common patterns, too. Here’s a roundup of the core propositions and stategies.
Agilent Technologies has spent two years taking products with management data feeds and integrating these into an integrated Network Management facility, mainly in mobile telephony markets. It has specialized in service rollout, service verification, and billing verification. Agilent intends to use its experience in information aggregation and correlation to move to a platform company working mainly in 3G mobile.
Alcatel has precertified and tested solutions over the whole service management range. The strategy is to accommodate service providers that buy best-of-breed management components by integrating the solution and reselling the partner blocks. Alcatel leads the video service management field after purchasing iMagicTV and Thirdspace. Alcatel also addresses the business market with a range of VPN management solutions, while its Research and Innovation Group has created a session request broker for converting SIP network requirements into B-RAS policy control messages.
Bridgewater Systems has a good three-stage value proposition for carriers moving from basic access to advanced services. These are bandwidth control, new service introduction, and dynamic service introduction. It will continue to major on three key areas: dynamic bandwidth management, legal peer-to-peer traffic control, and service accounting with its Revenue Collector and Formatter. Bridgewater is a member of the Service Creation Community.
Cisco Systems' move into service management is mainly with products that help to manage network infrastructure, so that the infrastructure can be abstracted for the service layer, which can then "manage the cloud." This programmable network layer is enabled with products such as CiscoWorks Service Management, Internet OSS, and the Cisco Network Services Engine.
CoSine Communications is now being acquired by Tut Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: TUTS), which has indicated that it will no longer be selling CoSine's products. CoSine's IPSX 9500 was rated "best product overall" in the Metro B-RAS section of a Heavy Reading report entitled Next-Generation DSL Equipment: The Path to Profitability.
Juniper Networks has created an impressive service management system with advanced features. The company has partnered with key vendors for provisioning, monitoring, and assurance: MetaSolv, Micromuse, and Quallaby. Bandwidth control and service assurance are greatly improved by the admission control plug-in, which uses RSVP signaling to the users; and the Advanced Services Gateway, which can use SOAP signaling to media servers. And in the recent Heavy Reading report mentioned above, Juniper’s B-RAS came the closest to meeting the stringent requirements of the DSL Forum’s Technical Report 59 Architecture. Juniper is a member of the Service Creation Community.
MetaSolv Software concentrates on service quality management and subscriber and service provisioning. The acquisition a year ago of Orchestream, the market-leading IP VPN service management vendor, showed the commitment, which continues, to concentrate on the new markets of IP networks and mobile telephony service management.
Nortel Networks is another IP service switch/B-RAS vendor (the Shasta BSN 5000) with a supporting set of service management in the form of the Shasta Customer Portal and the Shasta netRIO service management system. The switch majors on network-based security services such as IP VPNs, firewalls, and intrusion detection. New features include flow-based accounting and real-time policy-based network control in response to H.323 messages and the like. The BSN 5000 was joint winner of the "best security services metro B-RAS" in the Heavy Reading report.
Syndesis has a well-honed, automated provisioning and service creation system for network access. It uses the term "network creation" as another key process. But this sophisticated system with its policy-driven provisioning should cope with the move to multiple service delivery on one pipe. The system handles 20,000 transactions per hour through the provisioning stack. The company will add new network access provisioning like Wireless LAN and WiMax to its portfolio.
TTI Telecom has a service quality and SLA management system based on a data warehouse information broker. It believes the service management winners will be those with the best and most responsive CRM system. The strategy is to include more APIs to work with more types of information. TTI is also investing in enhanced testing, third-party tools, signaling, SLA models, object models, and correlation tools.
Visual Networks aids service performance management with a desktop agent for monitoring various connection types, including IPSec VPNs, a backend database for collecting information from agents, and two Web-based applications: customer care and service-level management. The strategy now is to add more agents in CPE and servers.