14- 24 January, 2007
Network Design and Planning: An Art or a Science?
Dr. Vishal Sharma, Metonia Inc.
With the rapid growth of IP networks in South-Asia in the past few
years, and the advent of new services and applications -- be they
wireless/wireline broadband Internet access, cable telephony, VoIP,
remote teleconferencing, e-governance, or mobile entertainment -- a
key issue before carriers is how to design and operate their networks
as methodically and as efficiently as possible to maximize both
customer retention and profits.
While several best practices typically emerge from each provider's
unique situation and cumulative experience (the "art" of network
design), there are certain operational precepts that systematize and
streamline the complex, multi-dimensional task of designing and
managing modern, operational IP networks (the "science" of network
In this talk, we first discuss the overall network design process and
the manner in which control over the network must be exercised at
varying timescales to achieve efficient operation. Next we discuss the
functions that the operational, engineering, and planning teams at a
carrier must typically execute, their inter-relationships, and the
importance/rationale for performing them to optimize network
We then outline some network design best practices that have evolved
over the past decade, drawing upon examples of carriers such as
Sprint, Global Crossing, AT&T, NTT, and Reliance. We conclude with a
look at some automated traffic engineering and planning tools, and how
they enable carriers to rapidly identify potential performance
problems, rigorously experiment with/evaluate design options, perform
thorough scenario and network analysis, and develop robust designs.