What I learned at Carrier Ethernet World Asia in Kuala Lumpur this week:
Turn off your SDH
That was the message from Juniper Networks and NSN, co-presenting under their new (if clunky) JV moniker, Carrier Ethernet Solutions BV. Andrew Coward, Juniper’s service provider marketing VP, said telcos are faced with the prospect of being relegated to dumb pipes at a time when incremental services on top of the network will be growing 20% CAGR over the next five years.
“That will happen on your network whether you do it or someone else does it,” Coward said, insisting that the most cost-effective way to get there is to lower the cost of the network – with the ultimate goal of going fully packetized and turning off the legacy SDH network forever (though an NSN employee told your reporter later that it’s probably going to be another ten years minimum before carriers actually start doing that).
Ethernet’s next trick: E-NNI and OAM
A number of speakers brought up the need for the E-NNI. standard to facilitate easier global rollouts of Carrier Ethernet services. Metro Ethernet Forum COO Kevin Vachon said the E-NNI standard is set for a vote and will be ready in Q1.
The next big standards are for service OAM, which Rotem Salomonvitch (country co-chair Australia/NZ for the MEF and IP solutions director for AlcaLu) described as “the biggest hurdle” for Carrier Ethernet. “Put bluntly, it’s a way to assign blame when something goes wrong – is it my fault or my partner’s fault?”
MEF standards for S-OAM performance management and fault management are due in 3Q10 and 1Q11, respectively.
Carrier Ethernet’s killer app is …
Microwave backhaul – at least in Asia, according to senior Ovum RHK analyst Matt Walker: “In general, Asian carriers have been more aggressive in migrating their backhaul to Carrier Ethernet.”
Himanshu Chuchra, head of wireless connectivity and mobile backhauling at NSN, concurred, stating that microwave accounts for half of Asia’s mobile backhaul, and carriers are starting to upgrade from PDH to Carrier Ethernet microwave.
“In the long term in developed markets, fiber will go deeper as operators upgrade to HSPA and LTE, but in the short term, you won’t get fiber to every site,” he said.
Cleaning mobile backhaul’s clock
If you’re going to upgrade mobile backhaul to Carrier Ethernet, however, one major hurdle remains clock synchronization, an area not covered in Phase 1 of the MEF 22 standard for Carrier Ethernet mobile backhaul.
That was the standout finding of the latest EANTC hot-staging multi-vendor interoperability test on display in the exhibition hall.
“We’ve found that you can’t always rely on GPS alone to synchronize the network,” said EANTC managing director Cartsen Rossenhoevel. “We found it’s still a major challenge to ensure the quality of the master clock, which is not easy when the master and the slave clocks are from different vendors.”
Act globally, think locally
Kentaro Ode of NTT Communications’ Global Solutions department warned his international carrier brethren that if you’re going to offer QoS for Carrier Ethernet services, you need to do it at the local access level, not just the backbone.
“70% of service outages happen on the local access network, so if you ignore that, you’re only guaranteeing service for the other 30%,” he said.
The trick, of course, is that carriers don’t own the local access portion. “That’s why you need to establish good partnerships with local access providers.”
Best blatant product pitch
“The competitor’s switch is like a Rolls Royce, but ours is like an F1 racing car. There is no air conditioning or stereo, but it’s fast! So of course you must pay money for that.” – Tetsuro Mikami, chief innovation officer of Hitachi Cable, touting the Apresia Layer 2 Ethernet switch.
Mikami also discussed the Japanese FTTH market, pointing out that customers are now paying $200 a month for 100 Mbps. “That’s 25 cents per megabit. It’s almost free!”