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Four Ways to Accelerate TDM-to-IP Migration

Unprecedented bandwidth demand is straining legacy TDM systems, which are quickly becoming antiquated. Transitioning from TDM-to-IP is an evolution of the network — a convergence of voice, data and video into a single packet-based network.

January 27, 2021 9 minute read

Time division multiplexing (TDM) technologies, such as synchronous optical networking (SONET) and synchronous digital hierarchy (SDH), have been a critical tool for telecoms, utilities and many other organizations for decades. But network operators are stressed about managing and supporting these legacy environments and infrastructures, as most have exceeded their intended life span or will soon do so.

Traditional services tied to TDM technologies (e.g., DS1/3 and OC3/12/48/192) and SONET protection mechanisms (e.g., UPSR) represent still-relevant revenue streams for network operators. But operating procedures are becoming more difficult to support. Network operators are finding a lack of equipment to scale and grow as repair resources become increasingly difficult to source, often taking weeks or months to arrive.

This has caused the industry to migrate toward solutions that provide TDM endpoint capability delivered through a modern IP core network. Fortunately for operators, TDM-to-Internet Protocol (IP) migrations are a realistic and cost-effective strategy.

TDM-to-IP migration: How it works

The convergence of TDM and IP allows for easy migration from legacy network technologies, such as TDM, to more modern converged IT/OT packet-based solutions.

Circuit emulation (CEM) has risen as a means to efficiently migrate from SONET, though many are still unaware of its scale and benefits. CEM provides a “book-ended” architecture for TDM-to-IP migration. With CEM, conventional SONET/SDH equipment transmits and receives TDM traffic at the two end-points while the entire network between those end-points remains untouched.  

A TDM-to-packet migration scenario using circuit emulation is where a CEM-capable layer two/three switch/router receives a private line transmission at the end-point, encapsulates the data using CEM, and transmits the data as packets through an Ethernet, MPLS or IP network. Another CEM-capable layer two/three switch/router at the receiving end-point removes the CEM encapsulation and hands off the private line data as TDM traffic to the receiving-end multiplexer.

Migrating legacy TDM systems to IP-based technology provides a platform that enables broader service delivery, either internally or to customers, and does so more efficiently and cost effectively. 

Other benefits of an IP-based approach include:

  • Modernized network architecture to boost speed and agility.
  • Increased automation and orchestration capabilities to increase efficiency.
  • Significant cost savings in real estate and operations.
  • Scalable technology aligned with the software-defined revolution.

Can someone do it for me?

TDM-to-IP migrations can be labor-intensive for operators to take on by themselves. Systems integrators like World Wide Technology (WWT) can help in this regard by accelerating the time it takes to validate, deploy and move from a legacy TDM system to a modernized IP one.

WWT can deliver a complete, end-to-end TDM-to-IP system for network operators looking for an easy button. Alternatively, we can help network operators with specific trouble areas during any part of a migration.

Our experts follow a proven Next-Generation Factory model that leverages (a) a deep understanding of optical and IP networking technology, (b) a world-class supply chain and (c) a portfolio of services that can help at any stage of your migration journey.

The following list outlines the services and capabilities WWT offers for TDM-to-IP migration.

1. Consulting Services

Our technology consultants can streamline your IT transformation projects. You won't find another partner who combines the in-depth research, analysis, modeling and strategy development of a consulting firm with the proven ability to deploy, integrate and operate complex infrastructure solutions at scale around the world.

  • TDM-to-IP solution design and planning: Our experts will examine existing operational practices to evaluate performance and identify opportunities to improve efficiency within your environment.
  • Vendor evaluation: Our unique ability to rapidly evaluate multi-vendor solutions before deploying them on a global scale enables customers to accelerate time-to-revenue, generate new revenue streams and achieve digital transformation faster.

2. Advanced Technology Center

WWT's Advanced Technology Center (ATC) is a collaborative ecosystem to design, build, educate, demonstrate and deploy innovative technology products and integrated architectural solutions. As it relates to TDM-IP architectures, the ATC is a place to not just prove a solution works, but to upskill your team to do the job moving forward.

  • Training: Our custom training sessions provide specialized classes on TDM-IP architectures. Class material is customized based upon your organization's needs and equipment used. WWT offers students the option to select from a set of standard training modules and a specific duration, or we can develop custom training if needed.
  • Demos: We walk customers through a demo of what a network migration entails, how it works and what to expect.
  • Sandboxes: Gain first-hand experience with available TDM-to-IP products and solution sets. With access to our sandbox experiences, customers can easily work through pre-defined steps toward creating a TDM-to-IP migration solution.
  • Proof of concept (POC): Tailor a TDM-to-IP migration scenario to your unique environment by mimicking your real-life network and simulating migration requirements.
  • Agile development: Work iteratively and collaboratively to find the optimal way to develop high-quality, easy-to-use software that delivers value early and often.
  • Lab as a Service (LaaS): LaaS provides customers with dedicated lab resources within the ATC, built to meet customer requirements for performance, security, access and testing.

3. Global Integration Centers

WWT’s global network of Integration Technology Centers feature climate-controlled production environment withs advanced networking, secure remote access and certified procedures specifically designed for staging, kitting and configuring the latest advanced technology solutions. With more than 4 million square feet of supply chain space spread strategically over four continents, we can simplify complex IT deployments and deliver them when and where you need them.

  • Material planning and procurement: Our custom material planning and scheduling tool allows customers to optimize supply chain capital, increase deployment speed and maximize return on investment. Our flexible process accounts for bill of material (BOM) changes and bridges the gap between procurement, engineering and deployment.
  • Staging, integration and delivery: On-site equipment installation and turn-up often requires customer resources to be involved with additional support from suppliers or contractors. This complicates set up, makes it difficult to maintain an implementation schedule, and often leads to significant extensions or cost overruns. WWT limits these problems by ensuring product delivered to site is ready out-of-the-box, needing only power and network access to fully function.
  • Order management: We offer operational metrics and reports generated from our ERP system according to established service level agreements (SLAs). To support tactical needs, our operational reports provide transaction-level information. For strategic planning, our metrics and statistical reports use the same data to provide analysis, trending and performance information related to a particular function over a period of time, including:
    • Supplier performance
    • Order processing metrics
    • Quality metrics
    • Customer spend
    • Operational reporting
    • Shipping performance
  • Global logistics capabilities: With facilities in the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific, WWT can fulfill product virtually anywhere in the world. To ensure product integrity for our customers, we coordinate with multi-vendor, global enterprises to manage complex international supply chains.
  • Product Sourcing: As an authorized reseller of IT hardware and services for many of the world’s leading technology OEMs, we offer a single-source option for a broad array of technology solutions. Our master distributor relationships give customers unparalleled access to inventory from more than 12,000 manufacturers.

4. Professional Services

WWT has extensive experience managing complex, multi-site network infrastructure upgrades and other IT deployments. We employ a proven phased approach, incorporating concepts from international standards organizations such as PMI, ITIL and ISO. Among WWT’s offerings are site surveys, planning, design, installation, optimization, migration and facilities infrastructure.

  • Network audits: Many existing TDM environments that started as a small solutions have ballooned into massively complex and undocumented systems. WWT can provide network discovery, services/circuit mappings and physical infrastructure documentation services, including but not limited to rack unit identification, cable tracing and documentation, and powering.
  • Rack, stack and powering: With trained/certified wiring and powering technicians, we will power on all necessary hardware within specification.
  • Custom cabling: We can create custom labels for any type of cable. This is performed on-site or in our integration centers prior to shipment.
  • Integration: We accelerate on-site deployments by leveraging our secure integration space, designed to configure thousands of systems per week.
  • Services migration: Our staffing and expertise lets us assist with any TDM-to-IP network migration, big or small.
  • Cutover: In some cases, a seamless non-service impacting network migration is not possible. In those situations, we have the expertise and know-how to minimize customer down time and get the network back up and running as quickly as possible.
  • Lifecycle services: Hardware and software purchases need to align to an overall network strategy. We track infrastructure and software across the enterprise, including how these assets are being used at any given time.
  • Strategic resourcing services: When adding additional headcount is not an option, our resources can be deployed rapidly into environments while also providing a sound technical plan during uncertain times. The subject matter experts we provide are fully screened and backed by the complete capabilities and resources of WWT.

Conclusion

TDM technologies have been a critical tool for telecoms, utilities and many other organizations for decades. However, there has been a massive decline in research, development and support for TDM hardware and software in recent years.

The path toward successful TDM-to-IP migration can feel exhaustive for any network operator to tackle alone. If you are facing what feels like an insurmountable mountain of resources, skill sets, and supply chain, integration and cutover expertise in your TDM-to-IP migration, you're not alone.

WWT has the experience, capabilities and infrastructure to help ease the pain of TDM-to-IP migrations and help forge a clear path to successful TDM-to-IP adoption.

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