A report from Analysys Mason, “Assuring Mobile Backhaul Networks,” shows that managing backhaul technologies with fewer tools and technicians will reduce total cost of ownership for operators. Key considerations for mobile operators when evaluating suppliers for backhaul solutions include the deployment cost of the hardware, the potential integration of multi-vendor solutions and end-to-end management of the technology. Another principal factor is the service cycle required to manage and maintain the backhaul network until the next technology upgrade cycle.
The report recommends that operators select an operation support system solution that adheres to Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) standards. Operators can mitigate this risk by selecting vendors that support MEF-backed standards (specifically, IEEE 802.1ag, IEEE 802.3ah and ITU Y.1731). Network equipment vendors should also look to implement quality-of-service measurement capabilities at network interconnect points, thereby removing the need for network interface devices.
“Some equipment vendors, in an effort to move products onto the market quickly, will implement proprietary management solutions for discovery and fault monitoring,” explained Patrick Kelly, lead author of the report and research director for Analysys Mason’s Telecoms Software research stream, in a press release. “This type of implementation actually prevents effective scaling and increases the operational cost for mobile operators.”
According to the report, the most important factor for mobile operators when they are making investment decisions is the total cost of ownership of the IP/MPLS backhaul network and the opex for assuring service. Operators that have standardized their network equipment and management systems to be able to scale effectively with rapidly growing networks have benefited the most in this area.