The best "telecom course" online is the Certified Telecommunications Network Specialist (CTNS) Certification Package, a set of eight online telecom courses plus optional TCO CTNS Certification.
Introduction to Telecom: Broadband • Convergence • Network Core and Edge • Last Mile Wireless, Copper, Fiber • Protocols • Network Equipment • Carrier Connections • Residential, Business and Wholesale Services
Wireless Telecommunications: Cellular Principles • Mobile Network Fundamentals • Digitized Voice over Radio • TDMA, FDMA, CDMA, OFDM, 4G LTE, OFDMA • 5G: Ultra-Broadband, New Spectrum and IoT • Mobile Internet • Communication Satellites • Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax
Fundamentals of VoIP: VoIP Phone System Components & Operation • Voice Packetization • VoIP Phones: MAC Address, IP, DHCP, RTP, UDP, QoS • LANs & WANs • Cloud • SIP, Softswitches & SIP Trunking • The Future • Jargon & Buzzwords
The PSTN: POTS • Loops and Trunks • Circuit-Switching • Voiceband • Analog • LECs, CLECs and IXCs • DTMF • SS7
OSI Layers and Protocol Stacks: OSI Model • Layers • Protocols & Standards • Protocol Stacks • FedEx Analogy
Ethernet (Layer 2): MAC Frames • MAC Addresses • Power over Ethernet • Ethernet on Copper • Layer 2 Switches • VLANs • 1000BASE-T • Office Wiring Plan • Cable Categories • Ethernet in the Core, MANs, PONs • Wireless Ethernet (Wi-Fi) • Optical Ethernet • Fiber Types • SFP Transceivers • Field Installation
IP Networking (Layer 3): Routers • Networks • IP Addresses • Packets • Public and Private Addresses • DHCP • Static and Dynamic Addresses • NAT • IPv6
MPLS and Carrier Networks (Managing Layer 3): Technologies • Carrier Packet Networks • MPLS • MPLS VPNs • CoS • SLAs • Integration & Aggregation
The remainder of this page describes the eighth course in the CTNS package, MPLS and Carrier Networks, a course dedicated to building a solid foundation on carrier packet networks and services, and the underlying ideas, the terminology, technologies, configuration, and operation … in plain English.
We cut through the marketing and buzzwords demystifying carrier packet networks and services, plus explain Service Level Agreements, virtual circuits, traffic profiles, Class of Service, QoS, Differentiated Services, convergence, integration and aggregation, network technologies like MPLS, and their relationship to TCP/IP … without bogging down in the details.
You will gain knowledge of the components, structure and operations of carrier packet networks and services, plus how they are packaged, implemented and marketed by carriers and used by government, businesses and other carriers which will improve your productivity and career potential.
This course is designed for both those who need a simple overview and introduction, and for those who need a solid base to come up to speed on the listed topics. The objective for those in the first group is not becoming an instant expert, but rather becoming familiar with the components, structure and operations of carrier packet networks and services, their packaging, marketing and use, and demystifying the jargon and buzzwords eliminating frustration and increasing your effectiveness and confidence. For those in the second group, the objective is to come up to speed on all (or most) of the topics, creating a base on which to build job- or project-specific knowledge.
On completion of the course, you will be able to:
Explain the basic structure and components of a carrier packet network - customer edge, access, provider edge and core,
Define Class of Service, Service Level Agreement and traffic profile,
Define a traffic class,
Describe a virtual circuit and what it is used for,
Explain how IP packet traffic is managed by MPLS virtual circuits,
Explain MPLS jargon like labels,
Trace a message as it flows over an MPLS network using TCP in IP packets,
Describe Differentiated Services and how to use MPLS labels to implement Diff-Serv,
Explain how to achieve service integration using MPLS and why you would want to,
Show how to aggregate traffic using MPLS,
Explain exactly what is meant by “MPLS service” and why “IP service with an SLA (service level agreement)” would be more accurate, and
Identify two differences between MPLS service and Internet service, and the pros and cons for each.
In the IP Networking (Layer 3) course, a private network: point-to-point circuits connected with routers, was used as the simplest framework for understanding packets, bandwidth on demand, routers, and network addresses.
A router is a device that relays packets from one circuit to another on a first-come, first-served, packet-by-packet basis. Knowing which circuit to relay the packet to is the routing part of the story, also called packet switching and packet forwarding.
Routers implement bandwidth on demand by not reserving a fraction of the capacity of the connecting circuit for each device (channelizing), but instead giving each device the possibility of using the full capacity of the connecting circuit – when there is something to transmit.
Since devices generate traffic in bursts, and normally have nothing to transmit, many more devices can be connected to the circuit using bandwidth on demand instead of channelizing.
This results in either lower cost or higher bandwidth for each device:
• Implement the same apparent bandwidth as channelizing using a cheaper, lower-speed connecting circuit, or
• Implement higher apparent bandwidth for each device for the same cost as a channelized connecting circuit.
In this course, we will take the same idea and apply it again at the carrier network level: replacing the dedicated lines between customer locations from the simple framework of the previous course with bandwidth on demand service from a carrier between the customer locations.
This brings the same benefit to the customer as it did to individual devices in the previous course: lower cost or faster performance.
All of the carrier's customers in a city are given access to the same high-speed intercity circuits, with the possibility of transmitting to other cities at full line speed – but only when they have something to transmit. This is called a packet network service provided by a carrier.
This type of service is used by businesses (including government, organizations and other carriers) to implement cost-effective, flexible, high-speed packet communications between specific locations.
It is, of course, also the technical fundamentals of the collection of packet networks that are called the Internet.
Course overview. Concepts of Packet Switching and Bandwidth on Demand.
2. Carrier Packet Network Basics
Provider Edge, Customer Edge, Core and Access.
3. Service Level Agreements
Classes of Service and Traffic Profiles.
4. Virtual Circuits
Virtual Circuits, Virtual Circuit IDs, Traffic Classes.
5. QoS Requirement for VoIP
What is needed for packetized voice to work.
MPLS components, basic operation, jargon.
7. TCP/IP over MPLS
MPLS for VPN or VPLS, Tracing a file download end-end.
8. Differentiated Classes of Service (Diff-Serv) using MPLS
Traffic classification, QoS, Diff-Serv: multiple Classes of Service.
9. Integration & Convergence using MPLS
All traffic carried on a single network technology.
10. Using MPLS Label Stacking to Manage Aggregates of Traffic
Layering virtual circuits on virtual circuits for access and core.
11. MPLS Services versus Internet Service
Pros and cons, similarities and differences. The Future.
Lesson 1. Course Introduction
The first lesson reviews the concepts of bandwidth on demand and packet switching, then gives an overview of the course objectives, the topics to be covered and a description of each lesson. It is available for free on teracomtraining.com and serves both as a course overview and a quality sample of the text, graphics and presentation.
Lesson 2. Carrier Packet Network Basics
This lesson cover the foundational concepts of packet switching and overbooking or bandwidth-on-demand, the physical components of a carrier packet network service such as Customer Edge, Provider Edge, types of access circuits and the network core plus why PE equipment is deployed at the customer premise in some cases. This lesson finishes with a summary of the benefits of packet services versus dedicated lines and circuit-switched connections.
Lesson 3. Service Level Agreements: Traffic Profile and Class of Service
This lesson describes how performance is managed, that is specified, guaranteed, measured and controlled, on a bandwidth-on-demand network which is overbooked – the Service Level Agreement which guarantees specified network transmission characteristics, called a Class of Service, based on the condition that the customer remains within a defined traffic profile, plus how out-of-profile traffic is handled.
Lesson 4. Virtual Circuits
In this lesson, we cover the fundamentals of virtual circuits which are an essential component of all packet communication networks. We cover the concepts of virtual circuits, virtual circuit IDs, traffic classes, and the fundamental operations principles which are the same for all technologies, including MPLS, and how using virtual circuits is a powerful traffic management tool.
Lesson 5. QoS Requirement for Voice Over IP
Packet network services were initially designed for datacom. Here, we learn how voice is packetized, transmitted over a packet network and reconstructed at the far end – plus the transmission characteristics required for voice quality.
Lesson 6. MPLS
IP has emerged as the packets standard to carry all traffic. Additional protocols to enable traffic management and prioritization are necessary to implement virtual circuits since IP is a connectionless network service. The choice for IP is MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching). The concepts have not changed from previous virtual circuit technologies such as X.25, ATM and Frame Relay … just the jargon changed. We begin by identifying MPLS components, basic principles of operation and the jargon.
Lesson 7. TCP/IP over MPLS
In this lesson, we again trace the path of a file downloaded from a server to a client, but over an MPLS network this time, which reveals a significant advantage in the user-network interface of MPLS network services over Frame Relay. We also discuss the “Multi” in MPLS, noting how MPLS can, in addition to IP packets, carry frames for VPLS.
Lesson 8. Differentiated Classes of Service using MPLS
Here, we examine how the classification of traffic and the mapping of classes onto virtual circuits creates a Quality of Service mechanism to implement different Classes of Service on the same packet network. This is referred to as Diff-Serv or differentiated services, i.e. providing different Classes of Service for each application: IPTV, VoIP, web surfing, email and others.
Lesson 9. Integration and Convergence using MPLS
In this lesson, we show how virtual circuits and traffic classification are used to combine all types of communications for a business or organization onto the same access circuit which is sometimes called convergence, although service integration would be a more accurate term. This results in a significant cost savings compared to implementing access circuits for each type of communications.
Lesson 10. Managing Aggregates of Traffic with Label Stacking
Here, we learn that MPLS labels can be stacked creating virtual circuits carried over virtual circuits to implement traffic aggregation for both routing and prioritization – both in the network core and on access circuits.
Lesson 11. MPLS Services vs. Internet or SD-WAN Service
We complete the course with a review of the terminology used for sales and marketing of MPLS, and what that translates to in reality. We use a question-and-answer format quiz to understand the difference between an Internet service, which could be called an SD-WAN, and “MPLS service” described in a sales brochures … and what an “MPLS service” is exactly.
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