Ixia predicts networking industry top trends for 2012

Ixia, a
global provider of converged IP network test solutions, has drawn on its
expertise and experience working with customers, industry forums, and test labs
to predict the networking industry’s top trends for 2012.

Next-Generation Data

40- and 100-Gigabit
Ethernet (GE)
: Virtualized servers will generate more
traffic than 10 gigabits per second (Gbps) connections can handle. Currently,
only a few data center switch vendors support 40Gbps ports. In 2012, we will
see most major NEMs offer higher speeds in their top-of-rack and end-of-row
switches, and major server manufacturers offer 40GE interfaces in their high-performance
servers. Development will be largely fueled by the availability of low-cost
QSFP+ interfaces. Look for 100Gbsp ports on new offerings for links between
core switches. Testing traffic and application delivery at 40/100Gbps speeds
(over various distances) will be required to ensure new hardware
implementations can meet scalability and quality of service (QoS) requirements.

Converged Fibre Channel
and Ethernet Networks
: The widespread use of low-cost 10Gbps
Ethernet networking, coupled with new data center bridging (DCB) and Fibre
Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) technologies, is finally making LAN/SAN
convergence and its economic benefits a reality. Thus far, only Brocade, Cisco,
HP, and Mellanox have announced FCoE support on their data center switches. In
2012, we expect to see many additional switch vendors jumping on this trend
with FCoE offerings of their own. Conformance and performance benchmark testing
will play a significant role in differentiating switch equipment based on
overall scalability, traffic prioritization, low latency, and storage I/O

Internet Security

Defending the Network:
Compromised computers are ready to act as robot attack systems — are ticking
time bombs throughout the Internet. For example, the recent attacks on the
WikiLeaks servers in Sweden demonstrate network vulnerability. The latest
unified threat management (UTM) devices include multiple security mechanisms:
firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDS/IPS), anti-virus
software, anti-spam and URL filters, and VPN gateways. Ixia predicts expanding
distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks will cause NEMs, service
providers, and enterprises to validate that their network security is
air-tight, up to date, and doesn’t impact network performance.

Cloud Computing

In 2012, Ixia predicts that cloud providers will start to
compete on more than price, highlighting reliability, security, and
responsiveness. To do this, they will need to test their overall compute,
storage, and network scalability. Cloud providers need to ensure their
infrastructure is ready to offer high availability for all customers with
different QoS levels for different tiers of service. Enterprise customers are
also looking for ways to validate that their cloud providers are meeting
service level agreements (SLAs) and shortening schedules to deploy applications
in the cloud. Only by testing all aspects of cloud data-centers can one expose
bottlenecks and optimize cloud infrastructures. Uncovering sources of
performance degradation include: 1) testing data center storage I/O in
converged LAN/SAN environments, 2) access and aggregation switching tiers at
10/40GE, 3) core switching tiers at 100GE (data-center interconnect), 4)
virtualization layers with application workloads, and 5) security effectiveness
and accuracy. The consumers of cloud services will also need test solutions
that can advise how much and where compute resources are needed to deliver adequate
user quality of experience (QoE).


IPv4/IPv6 Co-existence: On
February 1, 2011, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) allocated the
last freely-available block of IPv4 addresses, pushing IPv6 addresses to the
forefront. Service providers and enterprise are under the gun to prepare their
networks for the influx of IPv6 traffic. Two major catalysts for IPv6
implementation are the large number of government-driven policy initiatives
(US, Australia, Czech Republic, Germany, and many others) mandating IPv6-ready
hardware and software deployment across public agencies, and Organization for
Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries — such as the
Netherlands providing financial incentives for organizations to accelerate the
IPv6 deployment. Service provider investment in upgrading access networks to
support both IPv4 and IPv6 will continue through 2012. In the latter half of
2012 we also expect to see many large enterprises rolling out IPv6 on corporate
networks. To ensure this evolution is transparent to networks users, NEMs,
service providers, and enterprise IT will engage in both public and private
tests that demonstrate equipment readiness.

Long Term Evolution,
Mobile Backhaul, and the Evolved Packet Core

the end of 2011 there will be more than 30 commercial LTE deployments and many
more trials ongoing world-wide. 2012 will see a doubling of commercial LTE
networks, with North America and Asia leading the way in early deployments. As
smart phone adoption rates increase and the use of media-rich applications
expands, mobile operators will see continued capacity challenges. 2012 will see
operators use multi-pronged approaches to solving capacity issues including: 1)
deployment of more spectrum-efficient technology, 2) increased data offload
using Wi-Fi and small cells, 3) improved network traffic management, and 4) new
business models and charging plans. With these approaches, operators hope to
not only increase raw capacity, but to lower the delivery cost per bit.
Operators are spending billions to make their network more efficient, and
prudent operators will thoroughly validate their networks in order to deliver
on these objectives. The realistic simulation of millions of clients using
media-rich applications will be a key driver for performance and capacity
assurance. The very first implementations of voice on LTE networks using VoLTE
will begin to occur in 2012, but don’t expect wide deployment until 2013 or
beyond. 2012 will see mobile data networks become a more fertile ground for
security attacks, causing wireless security testing needs to also ramp up.

Evolved Packet Core (EPC):
The EPC is the aggregation point for all traffic originating from multiple
wireless access types, including LTE and different variants of 3G technology.
In 2012, “scalability” will be the mantra for new EPCs. These core
networks must handle massive amounts of converged voice, video, and data
traffic on a single IP-based network. The network and its component devices
must prove their scaling capabilities in multiple dimensions. In particular,
control plane scalability will be a major concern for NEMs and operators in
2012. Poor performance and faulty deployment plans can have severe
consequences. History serves as evidence that subscriber dissatisfaction from a
sluggish network or service outages is a real threat. The complexities of
performance and how to properly manage network traffic are far too great for
guess work. In 2012 and beyond, successful NEMs and operators must give due
diligence to these critical issues and seek validation from test companies that
are experts in this space.

Mobile Backhaul: Driven
by bandwidth-hogging multimedia and mobile data, mobile operators are actively
transforming their legacy TDM backhaul networks to a cost-effective
IP-over-Ethernet paradigm. Clock synchronization is no longer a
“barrier” to IP/Ethernet backhaul. The functionality and inter-vendor
interoperability of IEEE 1588v2 precision time protocol has been proven in
multiple public industry tests over the past 2 years, and 58% of service
providers plan to deploy it by 2013 (source: Infonetics). The last hurdle for
service providers is benchmarking the performance of boundary and transparent
clock implementations, at scale, in the context of real-world traffic delivery.
The onus will be on NEMs to prove the performance of their backhaul switches
with tangible, repeatable test results. Service providers will also engage in
pre-deployment testing to determine how to optimize network configurations to
accommodate network growth and SLAs.

Next-Generation Networks

2012, the industry will turn to MPLS-TP performance testing to validate
critical measurements such as scalability and automatic protection switchover.
Public industry tests will also focus on MPLS-TP features that equip service
providers with more advanced network management. Ixia expects to see very few
service providers deploying MPLS-TP on their networks in 2012. In our opinion,
widespread deployment is still at least 18 months away because only a handful
of vendors have participated in public interoperability events — indicating an
immaturity of many vendor implementations. Furthermore, proving MPLS-TP as a
viable technology is only the first milestone toward widespread deployment.
Service providers want evidence that MPLS-TP delivers service at scale with
guaranteed QoS and “five 9’s” reliability.

Rich Media: A
perfect storm is developing for network operators. Smartphone users expect
information and entertainment 24 hours a day, in full living color. Wireless
data usage will continue along its anticipated exponential growth curve, and
large amounts of inexpensive bandwidth are no longer available. Enterprises
will continue to move to the cloud, and critical applications will depend on guaranteed
network access and performance.

predicts that network operators will need to compete and live up to their
reliability commitments. They will need to maintain customers by ensuring that
all types of customer service levels meet expectations and contractual

Pre-testing network upgrades and advances prior to
initial deployment is crucial to ensure readiness for anticipated customers’
usage. This type of testing will involve real-world subscriber modeling that
simulates a large quantity of mobile, home, and enterprise application usage —
web, email, streaming video, VoIP — in typical and unusual scenarios.

“The competitive pressure placed on NEMs, service
providers, and enterprises to satisfy the ever-changing, ever-increasing
requirements of end-users drives new network technologies and
deployments,” said Atul Bhatnagar, president and CEO of Ixia.

By Telecomlead.com Team
[email protected]