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Day 2: MPLS & Ethernet World Congress 2012 – MPLS Transport Profile & MPLS End-to-End?

This post has been contributed by Tom Nadeau, VP/Principle Architect at CA Technologies. Sincere thanks to Tom for sharing his thoughts and observations!

Continuing from the previous post, today we’ll share our observations on Day Two of the MPLS & Ethernet World Congress.

Day 2 of the Conference was focused on MPLS Transport Profile (MPLS-TP).  This is a technological evolution of MPLS used to enable it to better function and operate within traditional optical or transport networks. In particular, it is targeted at service providers wishing to replace their traditional optical/transport networks with packet-optical ones.  One of the key drivers for MPLS-TP was Operations and Maintenance (OAM), allowing it to be more easily used by traditional telco operators that are accustomed to managing and deploying optical networks (versus packet networks based on IP/MPLS).  The most interesting presentation was given by George Swallow entitled, “Dynamic MPLS-TP in a Unified MPLS Environment” who predicted (as he, I and others did at Cisco about 5 years ago), that the new features from MPLS-TP will be eventually folded back into MPLS, effectively extinguishing MPLS-TP – and the confusion around it being a new and separate technology. Day 2 also saw an interesting presentation by Yaakov Stein, CTO of RAD, comparing Ethernet and MPLS-TP for the access, along several dimensions (such as maturity, scalability, security, and so on)  on a scale of 1-10 , where, per Yaakov’s assessment, Ethernet was a big winner for access deployments.

"MPLS End-to-End: A Realistic Paradigm?" Roundtable on Day 2 of the MPLS & Ethernet World Congress 2012 chaired by Dr. Vishal Sharma (Metanoia, Inc.). The expert panelists included (from far left to right) Thomas Beckhaus (DT), Hector Avalos (Ericsson), Xipeng Xiao (Huawei), George Swallow (Cisco), Yaakov Stein (RAD), Zeer Draer (MRV), Christoph Loibl (Silver Server),and Rajesh Kumar Sundararajan (Aricent). (To enjoy the introductions and the operator's motivations for MPLS e2e, please view the video link at the top of this post!)

This was followed immediately by the roundtable/debate on “MPLS End-to-End: A Realistic Paradigm“, chaired by Vishal Sharma, Metanoia, Inc. and included a varied set of eight panelists: from Deutche Telekom, and Silver Server (both operators), as well as Ericsson, Huawei, Cisco (large vendors), RAD, MRV (access/metro and optical vendors), and Aricent (one of the largest integrators in the industry).

The panel discussed some interesting options for why providers would consider MPLS end-to-end (having earlier defined what “end-to-end” meant for the purposes of that discussion), with both Thomas Beckhaus of DT and Christoph Loibl of Silver Server sharing the motivations that prompted their organizations to consider MPLS. There were opinions expressed that Ethernet and IP/MPLS would likely co-exist for a while with Ethernet in the access/metro segments and IP/MPLS in the metro/core, although developments in MPLS-TP and seamless MPLS, and the desire of operators to simplify operations by utilizing just one technology in all network segments may skew preferences down the line. (More details about the panel, including video extracts of key points, will be forthcoming in separate posts.)

So, what were your experiences at the MPLS & Ethernet World Congress this year? What stood out in your mind on Day Two? Which issues jumped out at you? Do share them below, and share your knowledge and observations with the larger community!

Also, don’t forget to also check out  the exciting developments on Day One and Day Three of the conference!

Link to the MPLS Ethernet World Congress February 6-10, 2012  Paris, France.