TMN: Telecommunications Management Network

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A telecommunications management network (TMN) agent is an application that runs on a network element (NE) that provides one or more management systems the ability to manage the NE. An embedded TMN agent is used to manage a telecommunications device that uses a real-time operating system (RTOS). The term TMN is introduced by the ITU-T (the former CCITT) .

Telecommunications Management Network (TMN) Standardization

TMN is defined in the International Telecommunications Union-Telecommunications Services Sector (ITU-T) (formerly known as the Commite Consultant International de telegraphique et Telephonique [CCITT) M.3ooo recommendation series. When telecommunications networks implement the TMN definitions, they become interoperable, even when interacting with the networks and equipment of other telecommunications service providers. Ultimately, interoperability can be achieved across all managed networks .TMN uses object-oriented principles and standard interfaces to define communication between management entities in a network. The standard management interface for TMN is called the Q3 interface .TMN architecture and interfaces, defined in the ITU M.3ooo recommendat4on series, build on existing open systems interconnection (OSI) standards. These standards includes:
Common management information protocol (CMIP): that defines management services exchanged between peer entities.
Guideline for definition of managed objects (GDMO) that provides templates for classifying and describing managed resources.
Abstract syntax notation one (ASN.1) that provides syntax rules for data types open systems interconnect.

The TMN standards have been embraced and promulgated by other standards bodies, most notably by the Network Management Forum (NMF) Bell core, and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). In general, the NMF. And Bellcore efforts are directed toward accelerating implementation and providing a generic framework for establishing detailed requirements. At the same time, technology-centric forums such as the Synchronous Optical Network (SONET) Interoperability Forum (SIF) and the Asynchronous Transfer Mode Forum (ATMF) are specifying TMN-compliant management interfaces.

Telecommunications Management Network (TMN) Framework

TMN provides a framework for networks that is flexible, scalable, reliable, inexpensive to run, and easy to enhance. TMN provides for more capable and efficient networks by defining standard ways of doing network-management tasks and communicating across networks. TMN allows processing to be distributed to appropriate levels for scalability, optimum performance, and communication efficiency.

Telecommunications Management Network (TMN) OSI and Management

TMN is based on the OSI management framework and uses an object-oriented approach-, with managed information in network resources modeled as attributes in managed objects. Management functions are performed by operations comprised of common management information service (CMIS) primitives. A network's managed information, as Well as the rules by which that information is presented and managed, is referred to as the management information base MIB Processes that manage the information Are called management entities. A management entity can take on one of two possible roles: manager agent. Manager and agent processes send and receive requests and notifications using the CMIP.
TMN has a strong relationship with OSI management, The relationship between a TMN and the telecommunication network that is managed, the interface points between the TMN and the telecommunication network are formed by Exchanges and Transmission systems for the purpose of management, these Exchanges and Transmission systems are connected via a Data Communication Network to one or more Operations Systems. The Operations Systems perform most of the management functions; these functions may be carried out by human operators but also automatically. It is possible that multiple Operations Systems will perform a single management function. The Data Communication Network is used to exchange management information between the Operation Systems. The Data Communication Network is also used to connect Work Stations, which allow operators to interpret management information. Work Stations have man-machine interfaces.

Recommendation M.3010 defines the general TMN management concepts and introduces several management architectures at different levels of abstraction:
  • Functional architecture, which describes a number of management functions.
  • Physical architecture, which defines how these management functions, may be implemented into physical equipment.
  • Information architecture, which describes concepts that have been adopted from OSI management.
  • Logical layered architecture (LLA), which includes one of the best ideas of TMN, a model that shows how management can be structured according to different responsibilities.
Stack Support: TMN defines a message communication function (MCF). All building blocks with physical interfaces need to have an MCF. An MCF provides the protocol layers necessary to connect a block to a DCN (i.e., Layers 4 to 7). An MCF can provide all seven OSI layers, and it can provide protocol convergence functions for interfaces that use some other layer configurations e.g., a short stack.
Manager and Agent Roles: TMN-function blocks can act in the role of a manager and/or agent. The manager/agent concepts are the same as those used for CMIP and OSI management. In other words, a manager process issues directives and receives notifications, and an agent process carries out directives, sends responses, and emits events and alarms. A building block may be viewed as a manager to one peer, even though it is viewed as an agent to another peer.

Telecommunications Management Network (TMN) Embedded Agents

The role of a TMN agent application is to provide one or more management systems the ability to manage an NE. An embedded TMN agent resides on a board that controls a shelf or shelves in an equipment rack that makes up an NE. These boards are often referred to as shelf control units (SCUs) or management processing units (MPUs). The agent runs in an RTOS. This special operating system is small, fast, and inexpensive in large quantities, which makes it ideal for telecommunications equipment. The agent running in the SCU performs management functions on the rest of the boards in the rack. The agent receives the management requests from a manager application, which typically resides on a remote system.

The manager and agent applications communicate using common management information protocol (CMIP) over an open systems interconnection (OSI) protocol stack. OSI, embraced by TMN recommendations, is a standard way for two applications to communicate across the network. CMIP is an object-oriented protocol for management also embraced by TMN recommendations. CMIP over an OSI stack is the TMN standard for communication between manager and agent.

Management systems access telecommunications equipment to perform a variety of management functions on the device. These functions are known in the telecommunications world as operations, administration, maintenance, and provisioning (OAM&P). In the TMN framework, these are broken down into five primary management functions: configuration management, fault management, performance management, accounting management, and security management.

Embedded TMN agents are part of the larger framework of TMN. The TMN management structure is often represented by a five-layer pyramid Embedded TMN agents are in the lowest layer of th0e pyramid, the network management layer.

It is important to point out that while management and agent applications exist in management platforms throughout the TMN, embedded TMN agents typically are found only within NEs at the lowest level of the TMN framework.

Element Management Layer
Operations Systems Functions (OSF) manages the functions of individual Network Elements in the Element Management layer. This layer deals with vendor specific management functions and hides these functions from the layer above, the Network Management layer. Examples of functions performed at the Element Management layer are:
  • Detection of equipment errors
  • Measuring power consumption
  • Measuring the temperature of equipment
  • Measuring the resources that are being used, like CPU-time, buffer space, queue length etc
  • Logging of statistical data
  • Updating firmware
Network Management Layer
Whereas the responsibility of the Element Management layer is to manage NEFs implemented within single pieces of equipment, the responsibility of the Network Management layer is to manage the functions related to the interaction between multiple pieces of equipment. At network management level the internal structure of the network elements is not visible; this implies that buffer space within routers, the temperature of switches etc. can not be directly managed at this level. Examples of functions performed at this layer are:
  • Creation of the complete network view
  • Creation of dedicated paths through the network to support the QoS demands of end users
  • Modification of routing tables
  • Monitoring of link utilization
  • Optimizing network performance
  • Detection of faults
The OSFs at the Network Management layer use the vendor independent management information that is provided by the OSFs in the Element Management layer. In this interaction the OSFs at the Network Management layer act in a manager role and the OSFs in the Element Management layer in an agent role.

Service Management Layer
The Service Management layer is concerned with management of those aspects that may directly be observed by the users of the telecommunication network. These users may be end users (customers) but also other service providers (administrations). Service Management builds upon the management information that is provided by the Network Management layer, but does not `see' the internal structure of the network. Routers, switches, links etc. can therefore not directly be managed at Service Management level. Examples of functions performed at the Service Management layer are:
  • Quality of Service Management (delay, loss, etc)
  • Accounting
  • Addition and Removal of Users
  • Address Assignment
  • Maintenance of Group Addresses
The notion of Service Management can be regarded as the most valuable contribution of TMN and other management frameworks, most notably the Internet management framework, may take advantage of this idea and extend their management frameworks with this notion.

Business Management Layer
The Business Management layer is responsible for the management of the whole enterprise. This layer has a broad scope; communications management is just a part of it. Business management can be seen as goal setting, rather than goal achieving. For this reason business Management can better be related to strategical and tactical management, instead of operational management, like the other management layers of TMN.

The Embedded Environment
As described in the introduction, an embedded TMN agent is a management application that runs within a RTOS. This environment is commonly referred to as an embedded system and primarily indicates an environment in which applications can be configured to execute in a determined period of time and amount of memory.
An attractive aspect of an RTOS for telecommunications equipment, beyond its performance characteristics, is the cost. This type of system is usually packaged as a development platform along with compilers and debugging tools used for developing the RTOS–based applications. While this development package may be fairly expensive, the cost of license fees for deploying the RTOS itself, along with any developed applications, is very low when purchased in medium to high volumes.
Embedded applications, such as TMN agents, may be designed and/or configured to use a variety of memory resources. Although embedded environments can include a local disk drive, many do not. It is therefore common for the core application to be stored in read-only memory (ROM) and then loaded into random-access memory (RAM) for execution, because RAM typically provides much faster execution times. Some sort of non-volatile RAM (NVRAM), like flash memory, is used for storage of configuration parameters or variables that must be stored during the operation of the application in case of a re-start.
Because the volume of systems deployed using an embedded environment is usually high, equipment manufacturers strive to minimize the amount of memory of each type that is required for their applications, including the TMN agent. Often these systems will require no more than 32 Mbytes of RAM and may be as low as 8 Mbytes.
These characteristics make embedded systems ideal for use in application-specific telecommunications equipment that is deployed in high volumes and has rigid performance requirements. Although this is appealing to equipment manufacturers, it presents unique challenges for software developers. It is therefore critical that vendors who supply communications software and agent development tools for the embedded environment are well-acquainted with the environment and its associated challenges. It also is important that the tools themselves are designed specifically for the embedded environment

Local Number Portability (LNP)
Local Number Portability (LNP) Provides the ability to retain' existents telecommunications numbers without impairment of quality, reliability, or convenience, when switching from one telecommunications ions carrier to another from one region to another, or from one service to another. an The currently recognized types, of LNP are service provider, location, a portability With all three types, subscribers are allowed to keep their numbers, access to cross-carrier services (e.g., calling name delivery and automatic callback), and access to other services using cross-carrier information.

Number Portability Administration Center: To implement LNP, we need to establish databases that contain the customer routing information necessary to route telephone calls to the appropriate terminating switches. Because many of the major carriers will deploy their own SCPs on which the LNP databases run, a single access point must be provided to effectively manage and distribute updates to the common regional LNP database. These updates will provide all carriers with the changes made when end users change from one local service provider to another. In the U.S., most states have decided that Number Portability Administration Center (NPAC) will be used for this. Management of the LNP database by a third party will ensure the security of all carriers' customer' bases. Overall LNP system architecture using NPAC. LNP is supported, validated, enabled, and managed by NPAC. Each telecommunications service provider must implement the carrier-level systems, called Local Service Order Administration (LSOA) and Local Service Management Systems (LSMS) to communicate effectively with NPAC._ LSOA handles order mediation functions, including the collection of number Portability order data and the coordination of subscription negotiation and activation with the NPAC. LSMS communicates. Information to the various network elements that make number Portability a practical reality. The LSMS receives downloads from NPAC and passes the updated database to the SCP or SSP.

LNP and TMN: The LNP network architecture within the TMN framework is depicted In the Service Management Layer (SML), LSOA handles order mediation functions, including the collection of number portability order data and the coordination of subscription negotiation and activation with the NPAC. In the Network Management Layer (NML), NPAC is responsible for the service mediation functions, including the collection of number portability subscription changes and the distribution of these updates to the appropriate Element Management Layer (EML) element. In the EML, LSMS is responsible for sending number portability subscription updates to the appropriate Network Element layer (NEL) elements, SCP and SSP.

Addressing Schema of LNP: In the U.S, most states have selected the location routing number (LRN) model, which calls for every switch to be identified to the network by a unique-10-digit number. Unlike' t today’s -routing scheme, in which the dialed-party number identifies the terminating switch and subscriber, the LRN model uses the location routing number returned from the LNP database to route the call. As the call traverses the network, all switches will use the LRN to route the call. Switch, which is the old service providers, does not have the LRN and thus the call, is not routed to the donor switch. The new recipient switch determines whether the LRN is its own LRN and completes the call to Subscriber B if the LRN matches.

Telecommunications Management Network (TMN) Solutions

The key challenge for service providers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), software vendors, and integrators is to develop TMN-conformant, robust applications that can perform varied network management operations in a changing, multivendor, multiplatform network. Service providers and independent software vendors need to deploy solutions that:
  1. Reduce time to market
  2. Reduce cost
  3. Support increasing demands for higher quality
  4. Incorporate legacy systems and are future-proof
  5. Conform to industry standards for TMN

Automation of TMM conformant Application Building

Tools are available that automate the task of building TMN-conformant agent or manager applications. TMN agent and manager toolkits can be implemented and customized to match your company's GDMO/MN.i MIB representations. These products should have the following features in order to maximize the advantages of, TMN and to most productively support a TMN infrastructure:
Dynamic information modeling ability to add or change the network configuration or functionality without reinstalling or recompiling applications and implementations.
Automated prototyping tools that can compile GDMO/ASN.i information models and produce model-specific exposed C++ interfaces and other required reports and data formats.
System Management Functions (SMFs) to filter, forward, and log incoming events and alarms.
Platform Independent Interfaces and tools for testing and simulation that focus on the behavior of a manager or agent, not on its implementation; these tools should be able to act in the role of agent, manager, or both. MIBbuilding tools that help the developer to construct a GDMO/ASN.1-conformant information model for any managed network.
Q-Adaption Capability and Compatibility the ability to interface to and thus integrate legacy NEs (such as TL1 message-based equipment types) as well as enterprise network systems (SNMP-based information)
Conformance to all TMN standards implementation of service, data, and managed object.layers of the NMF API, and support for specific and generic application types

Telecommunications Management Network (TMN) Conclusion

Companies need to continue to operate at the cutting edge of today's industry and to gain footholds in emerging technologies. By understanding TMN concepts, implementing TMN management applications, and building a TMN infrastructure, companies can maximize the value of current systems and equipment and be ready for the future.
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