Service Provider Solutions of Intelligent Networks

The Internet revolution is making a lot of new companies rich, yet many Internet Service Providers struggle to make a profit. Selling generic Internet access and raw bandwidth has proven a difficult path to profitability: competing on price alone doesn't excite shareholders or prospective customers. ISPs and the enterprises they serve want and need differentiated services.

The need to provide value beyond simple connectivity and data transport in part explains the rise of next-generation service providers: whole new segments devoted to application and website hosting, controlled content distribution, managed extranet services, and the like. Further, the rebuilding of traditional telecom infrastructure from separate circuit-switched networks (for voice) and frame/cell-switched networks (for data) to a single, IP-based, converged infrastructure is well underway.

These two trends underscore the urgent need for mechanisms to bring predictable, manageable quality of service to IP networks. The best-effort nature of IP by itself is a significant handicap both to enterprises trying to implement critical e-business applications and to service providers seeking to deliver value-added network services.

Differentiated Services

Asce Networks' NeuTrans policy suite provides the tools that service providers need to deliver differentiated IP services. It lets service providers specify and enforce differing levels of Quality of Service based on such metrics as end-to-end latency and packet loss. This enables service providers, for example, to offer tiered services - gold service for business critical or latency-sensitive applications, silver and bronze for basic productivity applications, e-mail, and Web browsing - and to charge a premium for higher service levels.

Giving subscribers the ability to self-provision their own traffic and quality of service levels from their ISP is a very attractive offer from both the customer and service provider perspective. Service providers can be more competitive and increase revenue by allowing customers to determine which applications should have the highest priority data transfer.

Such tiered services are easily mapped onto network elements like routers that support either Diff-Serv or IP Precedence QoS mechanisms, and achieved by two independent mechanisms that together determine a transmission service. First, packets are classified at the network edge (and only at the edge) and shaped (rate controlled); each packet header is marked with the appropriate precedence value. Second, core network nodes are configured to assign a certain class of service to packets with a certain priority value. The first mechanism (edge) is rather dynamic and can be changed frequently. The second mechanism (core configuration) is relatively complex, and thus changed rather less frequently.

QoS for Virtual Private Networks

A simple example of how Asce Networks can help service providers to deliver market-leading services can be found in managed Internet VPNs. The use of Internet VPN technology has gained rapid acceptance among large enterprises as an alternative to traditional WAN services like leased lines and frame relay. The maturity of the technology, the entry of major datacom equipment vendors into the market, and demonstrable benefits such as dramatic reductions in monthly recurring charges have fueled the rapid growth of Internet VPNs.

However, the comparatively poor service level agreements of Internet VPNs have somewhat hampered their adoption: latency, jitter, packet loss, and availability compare poorly to typical frame relay services. Once again, IP's best-effort service delivery is the main culprit. Asce Networks can help service providers overcome this inherent weakness in existing generic Internet VPN offerings and so capitalize on the migration to Internet VPNs. Specifically, NeuTrans gives service providers the means to build QoS-enabled Internet VPN services that can deliver better network performance for the enterprise customer's most important traffic. Customers can enjoy the benefits of VPNs (lower costs, better ubiquity, faster deployment) from a provider that tailors network performance to their specific business and application requirements of specific customers. That added value translates into more customers, better margins, higher revenues, and bigger profits.

For information on NeuTrans please go to our website on Products, or send email to info@ascenetworks.com


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