One network, many services – and the vital role of OAM

network-servicesService providers need better management and control of their networks to support new revenue generating services. Operations, administration and maintenance (OAM) functions must be part of the network if they are to deliver Carrier Ethernet services with the assurance of committed levels of SLA and QoS. What are the relevant OAM standards and how do they help improve business services, cloud based services and backhaul network service delivery to allow better service verification and management?

It is not enough for service providers simply to provide dumb pipe connectivity, allowing others to exploit their network to make lucrative business from customized OTT services. So SPs expand their business strategy and increasingly offer their own value added services to increase their return on the massive infrastructure investment. Many diverse services are now sharing the network and it is now the network owners’ responsibility to meet appropriate service level agreements (SLAs) and ensure a quality of experience (QoE) that will both attract repeat sales and build market reputation.One size, however, does not fit all. Business services, mobile backhaul, inter-connect and cloud services both to end-users and other providers each have different requirements and expected availability, resiliency and SLA demands. So providers need cost effective solutions that support multiple business services as diverse and demanding as tele-presence, cloud computing, and remote backup – each requiring their own SLAs to include factors such as delay, jitter and packet loss. Their customers – including business services, cloud providers and mobile operators – also want increasingly stringent SLAs, with service assurance at least as good as what they were used to in SDH/SONET networks.

So, packet-based networks need to match the high uptime and guaranteed service levels of legacy voice networks, but managing the stream of packets carrying various types of traffic end-to-end across diverse networks is a growing challenge. Legacy management tools designed for LAN-type Ethernet networks are simply not adequate for today’s demands – failing to address the more complex security, performance and access control issues arising across the multiple administrative domains of wide area networks (WANs) and their access networks.

As a result, operations, administration and maintenance (OAM) tools are becoming an essential part of every end-to-end solution. They allow SPs to control their networks and services, making for easier, faster remote troubleshooting and improved real-time alarms and reporting.

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Why should any customer choose your service over that of your competitors? Providers seek to differentiate their offerings in many ways, but the really important feature is not so much added functionality as how well each function is implemented and the quality of experience it providers the end-users. … Read more

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