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Intelligent Backbone: Increasing Flexibility and Security at the Backbone Layer
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Intelligent Backbone:
Increasing Flexibility and Security at the Backbone Layer

Considered by many to be one of the more important orientations in optical network development, ASON is now entering a more sophisticated stage of application. Applications of intelligent Backbones by carriers such as, Brazil Telemar, have proven that the adoption of ASON's technology at the Backbone layer will greatly increase network flexibility and security.

Current Problems Associated with Backbones

Seen as the lifeline of communication networks, the capacity, efficiency, reliability and security of the Backbone network will decide whether or not networks as a whole can perform and function in a normal manner. Service operations become more diversified and networking grows more complex when one combines different aspects of broadband, internet and wireless use. Thus, the Backbone network faces new challenges in various aspects such as; flexibility, security, convenience in administration and maintenance, and so on.

With an extension of network scale and capacity, the stress placed upon the capacity of the rings likewise increases exponentially. So does the amount of services across the rings. Hence, the probability for failures between two points on the same ring also arises, thus allowing more services to be affected by failures in ring switching..Backbones are usually links that cover much longer distances. Statistics reveal that if fiber links are longer than the standard length, then the more failures there will be (according to the GR-418 standard, the reliability index for the fiber is 400FITs/km), which means a failure occurs on a 285-kilometer fiber every year. According to 2004 statistics from Chinese carriers, the failure rate of any given fiber is 473FITs/km, which means a failure occurs on a 241-kilometer fiber every year. Internet statistics from carriers in other parts of the world also reveals that the failure rate for fibers in 2003 was 422FITs/km, with a mean maintenance period of approximately 13 hours. Hence, if more than two fiber breaks occur in the networks within a short space of time, then the ring network would be paralyzed.

Backbone Flexibility Changes Brought About by ASON

Further development of the Backbone network will require huge investments, thus, special attention should be focused on such issues as flexibility, adaptability and enhancement of inter-operability. Below, we will discuss in greater detail the various advantages to be gained by using ASON technology.

  • Improved Grooming Flexibility through Mesh Networking

Utilization of the intelligent Backbone scheme will enable the network to become a flat MESH structure. Once this scheme is fully adopted then services can then be groomed through straight routings in any direction, which will completely break through the limits of the current ring network and thus increase grooming efficiency.

  • Increases Flexibility through End-to-End Automatic Service Configuration

With the adoption of the intelligent Backbone scheme will also come the realization of an end-to-end automatic service provisioning by signaling, which can greatly reduce the complexity of service provisioning and error probability, thus increasing efficiency.

  • Increases Application Flexibility of Optical Network Equipment through Plug-and-Play Upgrades and Expansion

Intelligent equipment adopts OSPF and LMP protocols to automatically detect and check new adjacent nodes and fiber resources. Therefore, the use of this new type equipment will bring about a faster and more convenient operation, while at the same time reducing the workload and requirements for maintenance engineers, thus making it much easier for carriers to accept this new technology. For it will not only intelligentize the networks, but also simplify the operation.

  • Increases Service Operating Flexibility through Continuous In-Service Adjustments

A more convenient means of maintenance is achieved when using intelligent optical networks, as opposed to using traditional equipment. In other words, continuous in-service adjustments guarantee optimal service routings, which makes it more convenient for carriers to maintain and administrate their services. Such automatic service adjustments can be made either through traffic engineering, or by manual optimization of routings.

  • Increases Bandwidth Utilization and Flexibility of Optical Network Service Protection through Real-Time Automatic Restoration

The employment of intelligent equipment provides a means of automatic restoration without the need to preserve protection bandwidth, which is the most striking difference when compared to traditional SDH equipment. For example, when a break occurs, this newly developed service automatically searches for a real-time protection path. In short, the essence of this type of mode is to share the protection bandwidth, which greatly increases the bandwidth utilization of existing networks, while at the same time providing a flexible and practical restoration mechanism for services operating on optical networks. It is also instrumental in decreasing the OPEX.

  • Increases Interconnecting Flexibility via E-NNI Interface

The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) is highly committed to the ongoing task of conducting cutting-edge research as it pertains to network interoperability. In the rapidly developing field of intelligent optical networks, the E-NNI protocol completely resolves the problem of how to successfully interworking the equipment of different vendors. For it not only increases the flexibility of the interworking of different vendors, but also offers greater convenience for carriers.

Statistics gathered from conducting E-NNI interoperability tests of equipment from different optical network vendors worldwide in 2005, reveal that the application of E-NNI protocols, as it relates to the interconnecting of equipment from different optical network vendors, has gradually become more advanced and sophisticated. This magnificent achievement was successfully demonstrated to the telecommunications world in June 2005, during the Supercomm, which helped to imbue customers worldwide with confidence in the interoperability and large-scale application of ASON technology.

  • Increases Operation Flexibility at the Optical Network Customer Layer through Dynamic Bandwidth Application

Intelligent equipment is specifically designed to support a UNI interface, thus allowing terminal users greater flexibly and more dynamic applications of optical network equipment for bandwidth resources. It also supports the BOD function, which enables carriers greater opportunities for exploration and development of new service modes, which in turn offers greater chances for profit growth through the idea of the optical virtual private network (OVPN).

Improvement in Backbone Security to Be Brought About by ASON

Generally speaking, the Backbones compose the basic carrier networks of telecommunications. Therefore, if a break where to occur in the Backbones it could result in heavy economic losses for carriers. Hence, the need arises for carriers to adopt an effective way to increase the reliability of the Backbone network. For areas where frequent fiber breaks occur due to private land use, or other reasons, an effective means is needed to improve network reliability.

  • Increase in Backbone Reliability

Intelligent Backbones successfully combine both WDM and ASON technologies, which enables them to employ perfect protection by tapping into the restoration mechanism of the WDM wavelength protection and intelligent attributes, thus greatly improving the security of the Backbone network.

This equipment is particularly designed with built-in intelligent attributes that allow it to adopt MESH networking, which enables it to support 1+1 protection and automatic restoration. Therefore, in the event of multiple faults, overall services are not affected, which greatly improves network security.

Telemar is the leading telecommunications carrier in Brazil, Telemar currently has numerous fixed and mobile networks, which generates a fairly high demand for real-time service commissioning. This poses a problem in that it creates the need for an even higher requirement for Telemar network construction, which should exhibit strong survivability, support fast end-to-end commissioning, provide services at different layers, and thus be able to amply meet the needs and demands of various customers.

It was in such a circumstance as this that Huawei Technologies put forward its intelligent Backbone network solution. Telemar's network currently covers 7 key cities which are situated on the east coast of Brazil. Since 2004, its entire network has been operating stably and successfully withstanding numerous trials of consecutive fiber breaks.

The following figure illustrates Telemar's network reliability after it employed Huawei's intelligent Backbones. Before the construction of the intelligent Backbones, the monthly statistics for reliability using traditional ring protection were about 99.99%. However, after the construction of Huawei's intelligent Backbones, reliability rose to 100% in all the statistical periods.


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