Designing & managing operational IP networks is a complex, multi-dimensional
task. A fundamental problem before carriers today
is to optimize network performance by better resource allocation to traffic demands.
This requires a systematic evaluation of options, a thorough scenario analysis,
and foolproof verification of network designs, all of which are increasingly
possible only with help from automated TE and planning tools.
In the past few years, significant advances have been made in enhancing existing
tools and developing new ones that help providers rapidly identify potential
performance problems, experiment with solutions, and develop robust designs.
Several techniques from optimization theory, linear programming, and
models of effective bandwidth calculation have been incorporated in such
tools, as have detailed models of several vendor systems.
We present a comparative analysis and an overview of key features of some key
commercially available network planning/TE tools, and outline how
they could be leveraged by carrier network engineering/planning
organizations to perform detailed network analysis, proactive/reactive
TE, and network design.
We first give an overview of the architecture, design philosophy, and canonical
features of modern design tools, and then focus on new enhancements to some
as well as key distinguishing features of some newly developed ones.
In particular, we focus on decision support tools for IP network planning
and network analysis, including the latest versions from
WANDL, OPNET, Cariden..
We also present a perspective on current outstanding carrier requirements
for TE/planning tools that was synthesized by our conversations with
several leading Tier 1 and Tier 2 carriers.