IP provisioning gets boost

Internet Protocol (IP)-based services have caught the attention of large carriers for some time, but the complexity associated with provisioning these services has historically been an impediment to wide-scale deployment.

Last month, one network software maker took matters into its own hands by announcing enhancements to its line of “provisioning-made-easier” offerings.

Releasing version 4.2 of its NetProvision for VPN, Richmond Hill, Ont.-based Syndesis said the latest announcement makes managing Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) VPNs seamless across Layers 1 through 3.

According to the company, its NetProvision line focuses on service activation for service provider networks. NetProvision for VPN facilitates the MPLS-VPN service, which essentially backhauls a connection from a customer edge router to a service provider’s local point of presence or provider edge router.

This in turn becomes segmented into different virtual routers. Each virtual router serves a particular VPN, which connect to the MPLS core where all information, including routes and transmission data, is shipped to other provider edge routers, which deliver the service to the other site. Syndesis’s NetProvision for VPN conducts the transaction by activating the service on the customer edge router.

And while it may sound overly complex, Syndesis’s Derek Bell, senior product manager in the firm’s Product Line Management (PLM) group, said the company’s focus is to make life as easy as possible for service providers planning to offer these services.

“Providers are typically used to setting up connection-oriented services,” Bell explained. “With Layer 3, it introduces myriad different configurations that they are not used to setting up and controlling. It is connectionless.”

In order to ease providers into unknown territory and enable them to offer their customers different services, Bell said the Syndesis software uploads information from all network equipment over which the service will be running. Bell said that NetProvision becomes aware of all other services that are already activated on the equipment, as well as the capabilities and all the available slots and ports on the equipment.

“This gives us a huge advantage in terms of ensuring that provisioning or activation is successful every time,” Bell continued. “The upload philosophy has been a great boon for us in terms of meeting a specific need in the marketplace.”

In its newest release, NetProvision for VPN comes with an enhanced GUI for ease of use; a new site deployment feature, which automatically generates the configuration for a new router and ships it to the appropriate destination where it is applied to the router and connected to the network; accurate data and solution stability, which guarantees the ability to make on-demand changes to VPN services; and comes with off-the-shelf support for leading router vendors, including Juniper Networks and Cisco Systems.

According to Bell Canada, the multi-vendor design set Syndesis apart from competitors when the telco was looking to IP/VPN solutions. According to Mark Feldman, managing consultant, IS/IT Broadband and IP Delivery for Bell Canada, the telco has a network with a combination of services and switches as well as numerous ways to put them together.

“Syndesis rides on top of the network elements to provide detailed information from every vendor’s switch,” Feldman told Network World Canada. “This eliminates the need to understand the switch-specific configuration requirements. Our long-term goal is to mechanize wherever possible, activation and automated assignment…and we currently have both the discovery and activation portions of the Syndesis solution in place.”

Syndesis’s NetProvision for VPN is available now. Details can be found online at www.syndesis.com.