Moving From Frame Relay To Network Generation IP Requires Extensive Migration Plans For Utilities
Most large utilities use carrier frame relay services for their private local area network connections. However, due to changing technologies, these utilities are facing sunset dates when these services will no longer be available. This, combined with telecom carriers’ own favoring of next generation IP (Internet protocol) services, means that utilities are searching for ways to smoothly migrate their networks away from traditional frame relay networks.
Originally, frame relay was an inexpensive means to connect local area networks over a wide area network, and it is still commonly used in private utility network architecture. However, with the arrival of optical transport networks, IP/MPLS and virtualization, utilities looking toward the future know that these new technologies are better suited for today’s smart grid.
“Few utilities have the means to overhaul their network all at once, so they should select a multi-phase approach instead,” said David Hulinsky, Director, Utility Telecommunications for Black & Veatch. This could mean leveraging existing network infrastructure as much as possible or phasing out network equipment over time and methodically transitioning to an advanced architecture, like Ethernet over MPLS (multiprotocol label switching). A thorough network assessment and execution delivery plan are recommended as a beginning point.
“A network assessment and execution delivery plan ensure this transition happens as expected, seamlessly and efficiently, with little downtime,” Hulinsky said.