Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Broadband Forum's TR-221 Addresses MPLS for Mobile Backhaul

The Broadband Forum published its new "Technical Specification for MPLS in Mobile Backhaul Networks" (TR-221), which is set to become a key enabler for mobile operators as they migrate from traditional TDM networks to packet-based transport technologies and from 2G/3G to 4G and LTE services. TR-221 provides a key resource to the industry as it gears up for explosive growth in IP traffic driven by new and enhanced devices on the mobile market, from tablets and smartphones to multifunction gaming consoles.

TR-221 focuses on the applications of MPLS technology in a range of services that may be used to transport wireless traffic in the access and aggregation networks, including IP, TDM, ATM and Ethernet. It defines the global requirements of MPLS technology in these networks in respect of encapsulation, signalling and routing, QoS, OAM, resiliency, security and synchronization. It also covers expected services over the backhaul network that include voice, multimedia services, data traffic, and multicast traffic such as multimedia broadcast and multicast services (MBMS). Adherence to these requirements will create global standards for MPLS oriented equipment, establishing more network interoperability, speeding deployments and lowering the overall costs of the backhaul network.

Defining a range of reference architectures for MPLS based Mobile Backhaul networks; TR-221 includes specifications for the various transport scenarios applicable to all mobile networks (e.g. 2G, 3G and LTE). It also specifies the equipment requirements for the control, user and management planes to provide unified and consistent end-to-end transport services for mobile backhaul.

Robin Mersh, CEO of the Broadband Forum, said: "TR-221 is a critical part of establishing multi-vendor interoperability in converged MPLS based backhaul networks. As mobile operators look to preserve their investment in traditional TDM and ATM networks whilst developing their 4G/LTE architectures, TR-221 will enable them to integrate new packet-based MPLS technologies into their established networks. Operators will be able to evolve their networks to be faster and more efficient to meet the increasing multimedia needs of the mobile user, whilst preserving a lower cost per bit in the backhaul network."