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Insure for the Best

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VoicenData Bureau
New Update

Phone and Internet subscriber base is burgeoning day by day, thanks to the

cut-throat competition among cell phone service providers and Internet service

providers. India has become the second country after China to cross the 500 mn

subscribers mark. With the addition of 15.23 mn new wireless and wireline

subscribers in September 2009, India touched 509 mn subscribers (mobile

subscription 471.7 mn, wireline 37.3 mn). By December, the industry achieved yet

another milestone of 500 mn subscribers in the mobile phone services alone, as

the growth was driven by drastic tariff reduction by service providers. The

ongoing year will be a challenging year for SPs and ISPs as they will be forced

to focus on providing more services and improving QoS to increase ARPU. So they

have no other choice but to upgrade or expand network infrastructure, and to

increase their spend on T&M solutions to improve the network quality and ensure

QoS to customers.

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Technology Trends



The increased impact of air interface with new technologies like mobile,

WiMax, LTE, etc, may move the focus from 'wireline interfaces' to 'wireless'. We

start to see cases of hybrid solutions based on the concurrent presence of both

monitoring systems and protocol analyzers together. Also we witness an increased

velocity of definition and deployment of new UMTS releases, apart from HSPA and

LTE deployments. The deployment and development of 3G and LTE has triggered the

application of IMA, carrier Ethernet technology, and the emerging IEEE-1588 and

synchronous Ethernet technology in mobile backhaul. Large scale deployments of

communication technologies now require large scale emulation. More sophisticated

service provider networks require advanced, economical monitoring solutions.

Expert Panel

N Girish, director, sales, IXIA India



Sitaramaiah, director, sales and marketing, Fluke Networks India


HS Bhaskar, country manager, Spirent Communications


Antonio Policek, worldwide marketing manager, test & optimization, Tektronix
Communications



Gautam Awasthi, GM, marketing, electronic measurement group, Agilent
Technologies



IPTV deployments are becoming feature-rich to compete with each other. T&M

tools are needed to emulate these features. There has been a huge shift to IP

based traffic in the telecom industry. Unlike voice, IP based traffic is more

easily measurable in terms of QoS, and the focus of operators is turning more

towards effective delivery of data applications that support business-critical

enterprise applications. Voice too is becoming more IP enabled. All these trends

are causing the telecom industry to focus more on end user experience, and

therefore on T&M technologies that help instrument the network from the end user

experience management perspective. Sophisticated application delivery

controllers require more QoS/QoE sensitive traffic.

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The evolution in data center Ethernet (DCE) creates more new test

requirements like lossless Ethernet testing, high-density 10 Gigabit testing,

SAN/LAN integrated infrastructure testing, virtualization testing, green or

energy efficiency testing, etc. There are high demands for realism and higher

performance in application and security testing. The industry is also witnessing

a focus on the differentiation of UMTS and CDMA mobile terminal testing, and

provide end to end solution.

The growth of bandwidth intensive applications such as video on demand, iSCSI,

FCoE, high-performance computing, business continuity, and virtualization

continue to push the limits of the current infrastructure. Thus, the need for

'life after 40' solution will increase demanding 40G/100G test solutions.

For those developing the next generation of Ethernet networks, performance,

reliability and time-to-market are critical to success. A test platform that

supports both new and legacy technology is essential to contain costs while

accelerating development.

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LTE promises higher data rates, better service quality, lower operational

costs and more. The success of the early major LTE deployments is critical. The

move from the existing technologies to LTE represents the wireless world's most

significant evolutionary step, since the introduction of cellular services. New,

complex modulation schemes (OFDMA, SC-FDMA), multi-antenna techniques (MIMO) and

a new, all IP flat network architecture are all being rolled out simultaneously.

The resulting increase in complexity presents major challenges when configuring

and validating the performance of LTE implementations. Moreover, many operators

plan to deploy LTE in newly available spectrum bands, such as 700 MHz in the US.

While these bands are desirable in many ways, they also bring their own

significant challenges and pitfalls.

Almost all Indian network operators are transitioning from circuit switched

core to flexible, scalable and resilient core based on IP protocols. SPs are

creating the LAB environment for POC testing of devices to enable this core and

to deploy rigorously tested high availability solutions. So most of the carriers

are planning to migrate to IMS access technology in the near future.

Highly scalable networks to support large number of phone subscribers have

many challenges in meeting the QoS and QoE requirements. It is challenging to

have the network that meets the QoS and QoE under all the loading conditions and

any volume of network traffic. Under these conditions, self-healing optical

network with extremely high grade of services are required.

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Tips For CIOs

  • Choose solutions that can track and measure QoS adherence and QoE
  • Scaling beyond the capacity of the devices and network being tested is

    an important criterion
  • Choose partners and solutions allowing you to achieve the best

    performances
  • Operators should adopt concurrent proactive monitoring and reactive

    troubleshooting tools
  • Solutions should be able to measure indicators of network performances

    and QoS from a network perspective
  • They should also be able to create and measure a set of indicators

    able to represent the true experience from an end user perspective

Data from the network can now be turned more easily into reliable, actionable

information, allowing faster resolution of performances issues and a better use

of network and workforce resources. Real-time, signaling-based geo-localization

of network issues is one example of what can be delivered by advanced T&M

solutions.

The intelligence of the network with 3G is moving to the edge and this trend

will be even more significant with LTE, requiring a critical approach to T&M

strategies as opposed to former 2G network troubleshooting and optimization

techniques. Experienced T&M partners will be able to guide operators and

equipment vendors in making the right investments and decisions in order to

maximize returns on T&M investments, both in terms of increased performance and

reduced costs of operation.

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Realism and QoE testing is one of the latest trends in the T&M space. Realism

means real user behavior which include wide range of stateful user behavior,

both benign and malicious. It also encompasses real converged traffic including

line-rate, fully-emulated, stateful traffic across hundreds of ports. Apart from

the above two, it also represents real network conditions.

With the evolution to intelligent content aware networks, service providers

and network equipment manufacturers need to furnish tools and functions to plan,

measure, monitor, and assure evolving traffic patterns, new services, and

optimized application performance. This is not an easy task; it means that

increasing port density or adding new protocols is necessary but clearly not

sufficient for test engineers. What's required is a realistic network

environment representing end-to-end complex conditions of next gen IP networks

including aspects such as scalability and performance.

Traditionally, test solutions focused on a single dimension of either port

density or layer 2-3 network emulation or layer 4-7 application performance. As

a result, customer's initial investment was limited only to a specific test in

the development cycle. As network elements and services become more

sophisticated, they require testing beyond layer 2-3 considerations of

throughput, latency and loss to include QoE measurements (layer 4-7).

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There are solutions available with an innovative multi-core architecture that

addresses port density as well as the critical aspect of realism required to

ensure quality of experience (QoE) for new services helping to maximize RoI and

TCO throughout the test lifecycle.

In the wireless technology arena, new demands are related to the availability

of solutions that are able to cope with the increased importance and complexity

of the UTRAN (3G access). Particularly, the ability to monitor and troubleshoot

the IuB interface is demanded in a T&M solutions. Reliability of solutions for

network optimization to reduce costs of operation and improve QoS have become

the baseline of any solution.

Enterprises demand the availability of geo-localization applications that are

able to map network issues and performances on the most common mapping tools for

faster and more accurate resolution of network problems, and the possibility to

access a pre-define library of KPIs as well as the ability to easily create

customer-specific KPIs.

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In the fixed technology arena, the main demand is that of running legacy and

NGN test scenario with a single powerful platform, allowing to increase

productivity of development teams and cut the time to market of the new core

network products.

Choose Your Quality



Considering some important criteria by SPs, equipment vendors, and others to

choose the right and reliable T&M solutions is essential to maintain the network

quality. T&M solution by enterprises should have the ability to do true

subscriber modeling. It is to match the expected usage patterns of users for

voice, video, and data. The solution should be able to track and measure QoS

adherence and QoE (for example, meet latency demands of voice and video

traffic). Scaling beyond the capacity of the devices and network being tested is

yet another important criteria to be considered. It will facilitate test

admission control and QoS handling at line rate.

End users are ready to switch to a different service provider once the level

of satisfaction in terms of quality, price, or both is below a certain

threshold. With the increased competition and the new level of services that can

be offered by new technologies, this threshold can be at a level which is

dramatically lower than what was in the past. Therefore, while choosing T&M

solutions, enterprises should look for those partners and those solutions which

allow you to achieve the best performances and the best QoS and QoE without

having to increase the cost of operations, so that both the levers (quality and

price) can be under control. The right T&M partner can also grant a more

comprehensive relationship, offering not only tools, but also a true pass of

expertise to the workforce, reducing technology and business risks related to

the roll out of new architecture or new services.

T&M focus should be on end user experience of services. While other aspects

of service offerings can easily be imitated and responded by competition, it

takes solid processes and tools to support such processes that deliver

consistent and good end user experience of the services. To support such

processes, operators should adopt concurrent proactive monitoring and reactive

troubleshooting tools that enhance the processes ability to deliver consistent

QoS.

Growth Drivers

  • Expanded wireless deployments
  • Expanded broadband usage
  • More IPTV usage
  • More VoIP
  • Demand for protocol analysis based network optimization solutions
  • 3G and WiMax deployments

C-level executives need to appreciate the opex savings that can result from

an early testing. Problems found in the lab can cost 1/1000th of the cost of

fixing them in the field. Early and frequent testing can bring reliable products

and services to market, preventing customer churn. When choosing a T&M solution,

they should consider the set of technologies that they offer today and will

offer in the future, and choose a vendor with a proven track record for

development and scale.

QoS is becoming just a first step towards a more comprehensive QoE approach.

Equipment vendors and operators should now look for solutions not only to

measure indicators of network performances and QoS from a network perspective,

but also to create and measure a set of indicators that represent the true

experience from an end user perspective and eventually correlate these with the

network KPIs. Also, in a multi-vendor network environment, which is more and

more frequent among all TLC operators around the world, a third party solution,

not based on data coming from proprietary OSS feeds are the only viable and

reliable solution.

Moreover, QoS and QoE can be improved with the new T&M solutions without

having to increase the costs of operation. In particular, the right decision on

the tools used to control and improve QoS will be able to help operators to

optimize the use of their resources, delivering better performances, avoiding

areas of waste and in many cases reduce the overall burden on practices and

tools that are no longer accurate and useful in the new 3G environment. For

example, the extensive use of drive test based tools will not be useful at all

in 3G networks as the 'dynamic' behavior of the radio access in 3G cannot be

addressed with the inadequate sampling model provided by DT campaigns.

One of the challenges that ISPs or SPs have in choosing T&M vendors is the

choice of variety of test support in the products and the intensity of

technology support in them. Considering this, operators need to take mixed

approach in there measurement solutions build-up. There are groups to do the

basic installation and testing and other groups to do the detail troubleshooting

in the network and the testers are procured accordingly. Anticipating the need

for the number of testers, training engineers to use these testers and using

them to their fullest capability are some of the challenges that operators face

nowadays.

There is a drive to improve the cost of operations at the top, and

standardizing on a reliable vendor partner is one way where both the parties

stand to gain. This is true even for test and measurement. While choosing a T&M

solution or partner, enterprises need to consider the T&M vendor's focus and

competency regarding commitment towards offering innovative and cost-effective

solutions, and vendor's local capability regarding sales, support, repair, and

calibration. Apart from these considerations, vendor's product offerings,

roadmap, and warranty need to be considered. Product's interoperability and

scalability are essential to be taken into account. Vendors also need to work

closely with the standard bodies like WiMAX Forum, LTE and 3GPP to help

enterprises at the forefront of new technologies. Scalability has become an

important consideration in this area. This scalability can be at many levels and

one of the scalability is on the bandwidth front. For example, the ability to

test from 10 Mbps Ethernet all the way up to 10 Gbps forms an important aspect

to be considered. Another level of scalability can be in terms of the number of

services or the granularity per interface. Third level of scalability that needs

to be kept in mind is the ability to simulate a large network.

Insure for Quality



In order to maintain the QoS and QoE, SPS, ISPs, and other telecom equipment

users in India need to invest sufficiently. There is no doubt that the industry

spends a huge amount of money for improving services. However, most of the time

the industry ends up spending for managing uptime issues and not on improving

the overall end user experience. Companies probably need to spend more than the

present rate for improving the quality of services compared to a developed

telecom market. In a developed telecom market, quality is the #1 focus and

priority. Whereas in a growing market like India, it is the infrastructure that

gets the #1 focus and priority.

Compared to developed markets, Indian manufacturers and service providers

spend less money on T&M. This is due to various factors, including outsourcing

of testing services. There has been no requirement to guarantee QoS, resulting

in straightforward service offerings that do not stress voice and video over

data. Over a period of time, companies would increase their spending for

improving the QoS to foster customer satisfaction and retain customers.

Challenges



SPS, ISPs, and other telecom equipment users find some major challenges in
adopting T&M solutions available in the market. Rapidly changing technology

means that quality assurance departments need to learn and test new

technologies. New technologies are often in flux with maturing specifications.

SPs require more test ports with new, large devices as the usage of a network

expands. Technologies like Carrier Ethernet and 3G/LTE are changing the dynamics

of the telecom industry. More and more Internet subscribers are adopting mobile

broadband and this throws up new challenges in delivering and managing these

services. The networks these days are deploying a lot of technologies in the

same network than a few years back. Testing these heterogeneous networks for the

integration aspect is one of the major challenges in the next generation

networks.

Lot of applications are sensitive to EMI/EMC issues and also many governments

around the world enforce strict electromagnetic emission norms in their

countries. Passing these government tests require thorough testing and

measurement of electromagnetic radiation.

ITU and IEEE release standards for a lot of technologies and interfaces.

While it is easier for a single vendor's products to work together, but

inter-interoperability between different vendors require strict compliance to

these standards. So every time a service provider inducts a new equipment into

his/her network, he/she needs to test it thoroughly for compliance to these

standards. Forums like MEF are standardizing the services offered by service

providers and supported by vendors. These require testing capabilities for these

standardized services like EPLine, EPLan and Etree.

T&M companies also need to educate customers about different offerings, and

how they can help customers improve quality and increase revenue which will fuel

the T&M market growth. In some cases, the migration from 2G to 3G may catch

service providers unready in terms of availability of the necessary skills

needed to run a completely new and different type of network and to provide a

completely new and different set of services to their end users. The example is

the explosion of data traffic due to the rapid success of iPhone and of the mass

adoption of flat—rate mobile broadband packages. The main challenge therefore is

to understand that what worked well in the past will be inadequate to solve the

T&M needs; and new tools and perhaps a whole new T&M strategy needs to be

deployed to win the game.

Growth Drivers



The growth of the T&M market will be driven by increased demand for protocol

analysis based network optimization solutions for service providers. This will

be dictated by the progressive inadequacy of drive test data because of the new

radio network environment including MIMO and beamforming that cannot be analyzed

by sampling campaigns, but need almost a continuous monitoring approach in order

to capture the rapid variance in the network. Increased complexity of the

wireless network scenario with co-existence of multiple technologies is driving

the need for interoperability and inter-working tests; and thus driving the need

for test and measurement solutions in the networking domain. Increased

complexity in the end user services and the significant ramp-up of data traffic

require innovative test solutions from vendors. Expanded wireless deployments,

expanded broadband usage, more IPTV usage, and more VoIP and VVoIP applications

will drive the testing solutions requirements in the Indian market.

Apart from 3G and WiMax adoption by service providers and users, rapid

evolution of wireless communication standards moving to 3.5G and 4G. 3G will

happen in a big way in 2010-2012 in most major markets around the world.

Existing as well as new service providers would launch their 3G services once 3G

spectrum auction is done for private operators. Already the state-run operator

BSNL and MTNL have launched 3G services in about 760 cities in various states

with a planned investment of Rs 2,700 crore for 3G services alone. 3G launches

by service provider involves upgrading the existing infrastructure and deploying

new technologies and new equipments. This can be for the radio networks, mobile

devices, microwave backhaul, and transport technologies. So, the demand for T&M

solutions catering to this market is expected to be very strong in the next

couple of years.

Kannan K



kannan@cybermedia.co.in

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