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MPLS Network Management—FCAPS

NM is traditionally divided into the five major functional areas called FCAPS or fault, configuration, accounting, performance and security [1]. A network management system (NMS) operates in conjunction with the managed network elements (NEs) to fulfill the FCAPS. This is typically done using a combination of NE command-line interfaces (CLI) and SNMP entities. The CLI is the NE user-level menu system, typically accessed using telnet or a serial interface on the device. SNMP is a message-oriented protocol from the TCP/IP suite.

In Figure 1, the NMS can use either CLI or SNMP on the various NEs. One advantage of SNMP is that it is a standard protocol.

  • Faults (or informational events) can occur at any time on devices embedded deep within the network. SNMP provides a mechanism by which fault information can be communicated to an NMS. The NMS operator (or the NMS itself) can then take appropriate action.
  • Configuration is the process by which the settings on NEs can be retrieved or updated. In many commercial NMS products, this is done using the CLI.
  • Accounting (or billing) is the process by which managed network resources are financially analyzed—e.g., generation of departmental or user bills.
  • Performance information is crucial to network operators to determine if the network is fulfilling contractual service-level agreements or even just to determine if NEs are experiencing congestion or the onset of failure.
  • Finally, security is required to ensure protection of the NEs and the data in transit over them.
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