As the world's communication needs increase, telecommunications providers are building larger and more complex networks to meet this demand. These evolving networks will often contain many technologies, and while most modern networks are still single-vendor, many companies are looking to diversify their networks. While on-the-wire interoperability is clearly defined by various standards bodies, the management of these heterogeneous networks remains mostly undefined.
Most network management systems deployed today tend to be specific to a single technology domain (ATM, SDH), and are usually limited to the management of a single vendor's equipment. A service provider will use several unrelated and independent management systems to manage the various components of their network--this offers a less than optimal solution.
This paper attempts to address this problem by describing an architecture for a network management system capable of managing such a heterogeneous network, while satisfying the critical requirements of scalability and cost-reduction. A prototype implementation of this architecture is also described, together with an example deployment of the system used to manage a small ATM network.