Optimising Internet Service Provider Networks

Carriers and service providers are working today in a highly competitive environment. The customer has multiple choices for access – cable, DSL, satellite, fixed-wireless IP, hosting and wholesale – and many more when selecting his data centre provider. And switching providers is easy. In addition, many carriers have made huge investments in network infrastructure, such as access and backbone networks, and find themselves with decreasing revenues due to competition. Quality of service is an absolute must and service providers are looking for new ways to better use their existing infrastructure to differentiate themselves and charge appropriately for this value add.

IPTV Streaming television Television channel Internet, iptv, television,  service, logo png | Klipartz

Triple play packages is a hot topic with new revenue opportunities made possible by fast, cost-effective IP network delivery of voice, data and multimedia content. There is a trade off between density in users, bandwidth and quality of service that carriers must juggle successfully. Qos is key – the very services offered such as VoIP, gaming, streaming etc in the multiple application bundles being offered, can rob providers of their key asset in customer satisfaction. Heavy volumes of unmanaged traffic will result in dropped calls, terrible quality conversations and unplayable streaming media. Packet loss, latency, jitter need to be effectively managed on demand to provide quality end user experience. A multitude of threats exist in the form of viruses, worms, p2p, DDOS attacks and simply sheer volume of traffic that affect performance and lead to customer churn. Providers are always looking at way to maximize the number of users and traffic on any given link whilst minimizing churn (multiplexing)

With advanced services and applications such as IPTV, IMS, VoIP and VPLS driving a more comprehensive set of sophisticated requirements, application aware Qos is a must for high quality video and voice streams to be protected against other applications with minimal configuration IPTV Streaming Service.

MPLS based services have gained wider acceptance both with carriers and with customers, as they are dynamic, flexible, ideally suited to geographically dispersed environments, and can be delivered over existing network services. MPLS in isolation provides just part of the promise of an application optimised WAN infrastructure. ExtendedMPLS enhances, traditional MPLS by providing a unique ability to automatically control and cascade traffic to alternate classes ahead of saturation as well as increased QoS granularity. ExtenedMPLS technology is traditionally suited for the end user market as it requires units on each side of the link however Intuitive providers could bundle the equipment into their managed service offerings.

Now an organisation can fully leverage the benefits of MPLS and implement a complete network infrastructure that recognises and delivers on the organisations needs.

“Organisations increasingly see network infrastructure as a commoditised utility – what they now look for are performance guarantees for their critical applications and user groups. The use of technology within our service will allow us to deliver previously unattainable levels of service assurance and network visibility within the most demanding environments, Our aim is to improve the issues that are posed by MPLS and help achieve maximum utilisation of bandwidth across any network topology (Ethernet, Fibre, leased line, XDSL, Frame relay, Satellite etc.) Barry Desmond of former Sirocom.

The best solutions are modular platforms on which a complete portfolio of optional, performance enhancing and security applications can be run. (Bandwidth management, firewall, traffic discovery, VPN, web caching, content filtering and mail gateway – these can be implemented transparently) Real time alerts allow the service provider to have layer 7 visibility into traffic patterns and to be alerted if there is any application on the network that might be out of a normal usage profile. Per user quotas are also easily implemented. This allows problems to be prominently displayed and network operators to be quickly directed to any given issue. Its uniquely flexible platform, which is of paramount importance when dealing with large service providers and its unique feature sets allows ISP’s to offer improved services to clients at multiple levels of complexity with real substantial gains to both the ISP and client.

Such technology empowers ISP’s to manage both their Internet link and links to clients on the same box at the same time. With a single unit one can manage the Internet link on the WAN card and all the customers as groups on the LAN card (or even both on one card if you want to). One can also have dependencies across these I.e. you can have a burst trigger defined or threshold on the WAN links that you use to control the LAN groups and you can group those as well (usually for service level groups).

The big problem many face is that they cannot control the rate at which non TCP/IP traffic is coming at them destined for the WAN. This results in longer queues, more latency and eventually severe packet loss if the burst does not stop. This will have critical consequences on latency sensitive applications such as VOIP and video conferencing etc. Appliances with tcp rate shaping capabilities can control the flow rate of any protocol in any direction. Hence it does not ever have to have queue traffic. The technology is all about avoiding queues whereas competitors have to queue to manage. We allow high priority traffic to flow freely through the network whilst never having to queue any packets of any type thereby eliminating packet drops completely and offloading routers and other equipment totally. The result is a much smoother flowing and rigid network. High priority traffic in effect has its own lane through the traffic that operates without delays and it is dynamic, adjusting in size according to traffic needs.

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