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Huawei Technologies


MSC Pool creates worry-free networks

MSC Pool creates

worry-free networks
By Lu Chao

Prevention is better than cure

here is an old adage that states an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. When disaster strikes, you need to be prepared. The 9-11 attack on the World Trade Center is a striking example. The collapse of the twin towers severely impacted many large companies as most of their precious documents and files were destroyed. Surprisingly, one company declared that all of its data was safe and the staff could work as usual the next day. The company was Morgan Stanley, a giant in the global financial services sector. Several years ago, Morgan Stanley formulated a data security strategy and set up a remote disaster recovery system. Thanks to the data backup center in New Jersey, Morgan Stanley was able to keep its critical data 37 SEP 2008 . ISSUE 43

intact. The disaster recovery system kept the data at Morgan Stanley safe in any circumstances. For the telecom industry there is a valuable lesson to be learned, for there can be no system downtime and services must remain stable 24 hours a day, especially in an emergency. As a result, the industry is facing the challenge of constructing trustworthy networks and one key is using Pool technology.

MSC Pool highlights

Trends in the IT industry regarding network disaster recovery applications show that technology is moving towards a self-recovering distributed network using a resource sharing model. This distributed structure prevents the entire network

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from being destroyed by a regional disaster or emergency, while the resource sharing mechanism makes full use of the entire network capability, thus network efficiency is maximized. As an advanced core network construction technology, MSC Pool is based on the concept of connecting several MSCs to form an MSC pool, in which subscribers can share resources. The MSC Pool was specified in relevant standards in 2001, and has grown in popularity due to its disaster recovery scheme which ensures a trustworthy network recovery mode with the following three features:

Real-time switching
When a disaster occurs, communications services must be recovered as soon as possible to ensure follow-up rescue operations. The active and standby networking mode for disaster recovery requires at least ten minutes for switching over services, during which services are not available. The MSC Pool disaster recovery scheme ensures that services on the damaged or overloaded MSC can be switched to other MSCs immediately.

Choosing the optimized solution can help operators to build a trouble free core network by reducing risks in network planning, operation, and maintenance of the MSC Pool.
adopts the active and standby modes, meaning that the standby equipment does not function unless the active one breaks down. A definite drawback is that when traffic exceeds the maximum capacity of the active equipment, the standby equipment cannot be used once congestion occurs. Since network capacity is the total capacity of all the switches in the pool, the disaster recovery function of the MSC Pool allows all switches in the pool to share the load. The redundant resources of the MSCs are fully utilized and the processing ability of the network in handling surging traffic is improved. In addition, the MSC Pool helps to make full use of the network resources, improving the efficiency of backup servers that are in an idle state.

Pool are obvious, progress in the largescale commercial deployment has been slow. At present, there has not been largescale industry-wide deployment of the MSC Pool. The main reason is that the MSC Pool mandates higher requirements in terms of network operations capability when compared with traditional network establishment modes. Operators also face challenges in network planning, construction, operation, and management when they deploy the MSC Pool. The problems to be solved are as follows:

Non-unified planning
The first consideration is that the wireless access network must be upgraded to support the traditional MSC Pool. The support and capabilities of the equipment supplied by different suppliers are different and the equipment variation affects the entire network planning and implementation schedule. The second aspect is that the data configuration is not synchronized. The data configuration of the MSC Pool network requires that the access network and core network work with each other to realize unified operation. The existing management mode is NE distributed management. If this mode is used to perform Pool-class management, both the workload and volume of data are large, opening the door to a lot of potential faults and leaving the network vulnerable. Compared with the traditional n e t w o r k i n g m o d e , t h e M S C Po o l networking mode features wider network coverage and changed statistics. The MSC Pool must adapt to existing network statistics and expand the network properly to meet the changing statistical and management requirements of MSC Pool network operations.

Little impact on traffic models

The regional traffic in the disaster stricken area may change greatly during rescue operations. If residents are transferred to safer areas and many relief workers and reporters enter the disaster stricken area, the network will be severely impacted with a sudden increase of roaming and handover traffic. When the MSC Pool is deployed, there is no location update and handover problems if mobile users move within the MSC Pool served areas. The signaling exchanges between network elements (NEs) are reduced and the impact on the communication signaling network is reduced.

Poor user experience

In the traditional MSC Pool, the called service for subscribers cannot be immediately recovered after one of the switches in the resource pool becomes faulty. The called service can be activated passively several hours later. The lack of an optimized recovery scheme for the called
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Efficient use of network resources

When a disaster occurs, traffic in the stricken area soars and overloads the switch, causing network congestion. The traditional disaster recovery scheme

Deployment difficulties
Although the advantages of the MSC


MSC Pool creates worry-free networks service can adversely affect subscribers and their satisfaction with services. the wireless access network does not need to be upgraded. These help curtail the investment of upgrading all the BSCs in the entire network and make the actual network planning and deployment much simpler. Also, the openness of the network interface enables operators to make the MSC Pool compatible with equipment from different suppliers, while introducing competition among suppliers at the same time.

Increased costs
Investment is more when the traditional MSC Pool is deployed in the TDM network, and the Base Station Controller (BSC) must be connected around the clock with all of the switches in the pool. As a result, a large volume of TDM transmission resources are consumed. It is difficult for most operators to make large investments for network establishment and maintenance. Moreover, the upgrade of wireless equipment for the entire network is capital intensive, which also increases deployment costs. Operating costs are increased when compared with traditional networking, for the MSC Pool requires more complex network management. Operators need to process massive amounts of data through complex programs to perform maintenance and management operations such as configuration, statistics, and network monitoring. If operators do not have efficient operating and management tools, operation costs rise drastically.

No interruption in called service

Called service recovery following a disaster is one of the biggest challenges faced by operators. The calling and called service recovery scheme provided by the MSC Pool helps greatly. As backup servers are used to store user data, other MSSs can take up a faulty MSS immediately by recovering lost user data from the backup servers and managing the users of the faulty MSS. Because services are recovered quickly, users connected to the faulty MSS can use their services as usual without interruption.

Optimized solutions
While the traditional MSC Pool products have exhibited these deployment difficulties, Huaweis MSC Pool implementation does not suffer from these limitations. In fact, it represents a major advance over both traditional TDM architectures and previous MSC Pool implementations and reduces transport costs, is faster to deploy, provides a higher user QoE, and allows simple centralized maintenance.

Enhanced efficiency through a centralized NMS

The centralized network management system ( N M S ) o f t h e M S C Po o l s h o u l d s a t i s f y t h e requirements for centralized configuration, monitoring, evaluation, and adjustment for the MSC Pool network. Fi r s t , t h e N M S m u s t p e r f o r m t r a n s - N E maintenance for parameter configuration to ensure that the Pool parameters on all the MSSs and MGWs are configured correctly. Also, it must support the function of checking parameter consistency either manually or automatically. Second, the NMS must analyze and summarize the performance statistics reported by each MSS and deliver a reference performance index for the entire network. Third, the NMS must provide performance monitoring for the daily index. By viewing the KPI curve, maintenance personnel can timely monitor the operating conditions of the MSC Pool network. The optimized MSC Pool solution supports networking based on softswitch. Free from updating the wireless network, this solution enables centralized management and complete ser vice recover y. Choosing the optimized solution can help operators to build a trouble free core network by reducing risks in network planning, operation, and maintenance of the MSC Pool. Editor: Chen Yuhong

Reduced transport investment

Under the separation of call control and bearer control, the BSC can connect with two or three different Media Gateways (MGWs) to share resources with all Mobile Softswitch Servers (MSSs) in the MSC Pool through a flat IP network. With the help of IP transport technology which is high in broadband usage, yet low cost, the MSC Pool networking based on softswitch and IP transmission greatly reduces the consumption of TDM transmission resources and the ensuing deployment costs.

Faster deployment without a BSC upgrade

After the MSC Pool is optimized, the MGW can perform the integrated functions of service distribution and circuit management; while 39 SEP 2008 . ISSUE 43