15 October 2002 -- Spirent plc business group Spirent Communications, British Telecom's advanced research and technology business BTexact Technologies, and European Institute for Research and Strategic Studies in Telecommunications GmbH (Eurescom, a European organisation for collaborative R&D in telecoms), have completed a test confirming the feasibility of performance management for IP quality of service (QoS) using MPLS.
As a result of this test - part of a Eurescom project - service providers will be able to employ a simplified methodology for identifying the location of performance problems across multiple operator networks, and for verifying their capability to capture performance information at various classes of service.
The project arose from an increasing need within the service provider community for improved network-performance visibility across the entire service delivery chain. For many applications, traffic may traverse the networks of several providers in order to reach its destination. Because traditional performance management tools can only monitor single networks, it used to be nearly impossible to determine which provider's network is causing a problem when the subscriber experiences performance issues.
However, the solutions defined and implemented within this test offer providers a model for collecting and correlating performance information not only within a given domain, but between domains as well. This "end-to-end" visibility enables providers to positively isolate performance problems with carrier-class speed, accuracy and efficiency.
"We believe that network-wide service assurance strategy needs to keep up with the accelerating migration to IP-based services while simultaneously managing legacy services," said Jim Schleckser, president of Spirent's Service Assurance ? Broadband business unit. "The Eurescom test project is proof of our end-to-end service assurance approach - which gives these providers visibility into all seven layers of the OSI stack, as well as across their entire shared physical network - is ready today to meet the real-world deployment challenges of multivendor, multiservice, carrier-class networks."
The test network consisted of two MPLS-based network domains, each running multiple service classes. Metrics used to measure QoS performance included one-way transfer delay, one-way delay variation, loss ratio, error ratio, and packet discard.
These measurements were taken from test probes and network elements provided by the participants: featured Spirent Communications products included their SmartBits traffic generation system, qScope 4000 test probes, IPWave impairment generation tool, and Perform OSS for performance and SLA management; BTexact provided label edge and switching routers.
Under this testing, Perform's role was to identify incidences when policing and discard was occurring due to traffic exceeding a threshold, as well as performance for each network domain and service class. This role took advantage of Perform's ability to capture and report on a variety of metrics at different points in the end-to-end flow of subscriber traffic - an essential step in isolating performance issues in a multi-carrier, multi-vendor environment.
Philip Wilmot, senior IP data analyst, next-generation networks, IP measurement and data analysis for BTexact, stated "Vital to the success of this effort was Perform's ability to accurately report performance information for the various service classes. When impairments were injected into the test network, Perform was able to report the location and the impact of those impairments."