Thursday, January 20, 2011

MPLS vs PBB-TE .... Which Technology Is The Best Backbone For An Enterprise Telecom Network?

MPLS-TP vs PBB-TE .....

In the quest to packetize transport networks, Ethernet tunneling technologies T-MPLS and PBB-TE have been the top contenders. Another flavor of T-MPLS has also emerged - MPLS-TP. The pro-MPLS camp is declaring victory, but skeptics maintain that MPLS is a 20th century solution to a 21st century problem. Is PBB-TE a more advanced and future technology? Will the carriers and OEMS start adopting PBB-TE to replace the MPLS deployment?

This is not a war you can expect to see "won or lost", as the various technologies are not black and white choices - they have to interwork.

Telecoms choices depend on many factors and technical merit is only part of that.

Installed base, flexibility and migration can matter more.

For example if a business decided to deploy a new flavour of backbone switching on a new type of box from a new vendor, then the training involved for operations staff would include 100s operations staff and field engineers, and man weeks of effort per person to get ready for use.

Anything you picked against that background would have to have overwhelming advantages to justify it, and I do not think a new varient of flavor of layer 2 packet switching will hack it.

What is much more likely is you choose "something" for a specific requirement. There is a smaller hill to climb if it comes from an existing installed vendor, uses the same type of skills and is backward compatible. There is even less if the same box does multiple jobs or roles in the network, or is an upgrade for something you already use.

That isn't to say step changes do not happen - but the implications mean it will not happen often.

Vendors know the essence of this conversation, since it happens whenever they take their new toys to a potential customer.

Customers view with suspicion any story which begins "we have this killer technology which makes everything else obsolete, and you can throw away your old stuff" ..... because it ignores real life and the installed base. They turn nasty when it continues "and this is unique and you can only get it from us".......

So from a vendor point of view - if you can build boxes that support PBB etc and MPLS etc, then why bet the product line on 1 or the other, until and unless it has overwhelming advantages or one requirement becomes dominant in the market?

The flip side is it means some of the advantages touted for such technologies are irrelevant in practice - PBB may mean less internal table size, but the "box" that uses it should be usable with the competitor standards to reasonable scale as part of "investment protection", so probably is not tuned to that - exit 1 set of advantages.

In the end this question can't really be answered as stated. There isn't a single obvious "winner" .... just creative options and an ever evolving landscape in which the decision of "what to do" for a business needs to be based on the business itself not technology.

For help navigating the maze of decisions points to arrive at what makes the most sense for your network .... take advantage of this free resource:

Network Solutions

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Blogger andersonlich said...

in company that i worked, we had both of them as the carrier.

4:37 AM  

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