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Service Providers Are Moving Up the Value Chain

Service providers want to deliver more than just raw bandwidth and connectivity. This is less a choice and increasingly a matter of necessity and survival. Emerging services such as online collaborative gaming require dedicated bandwidth and QoS resources that cross the boundaries of multiple service providers. The dotcom boom gave rise to service provider cores with oodles of bandwidth, but not the means to deterministically divide it. In other words, providers need tools to ensure that their services can be set up, tested, deployed, assured, updated, and eventually retired—all in an orderly fashion.

This need encompasses the leading-edge areas of service lifecycle management: operations, administration, and maintenance (OAM)—such as LSP trace and LSP ping—and service-level assurance. These are all the subject of ongoing efforts by numerous standards bodies, including IETF, ITU, IEEE, Metro Ethernet Forum, MPLS & Frame Relay Alliance, and so forth. It's important that service providers make their voices heard in these standards.

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