Lucent recasts network management

Lucent Technologies Inc. is recasting its network management offerings as an integrated suite capable of managing elements, provisioning services and assuring quality-of-service guarantees across circuit, packet, optical and mobile networks from a single platform.

Called Navis iOperations - the name Navis is carried over from Cascade Communications' ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) and frame relay management and provisioning software - the offering combines five separate operations support systems (OSS) into a single portfolio, according to Madan Kumar, vice president of network operations software at Lucent. Three of the OSS modules are existing packages while the other two are new.

Kumar says Navis iOperations represents a "rearchitecting" of Lucent's networks management software to provide a "single dashboard view" of network operations across multiple domains, instead of "swivel chair management." The provisioning and QoS assurance pieces of iOperations - called Navis iProvision and iAssure, naturally - can activate services across multivendor elements, Kumar claims, through partnerships Lucent has with service activation software vendors.

Interestingly, the multivendor capabilities of iOperations are not based on OSS standards hammered out by the Telemanagement Forum (TMF). Kumar says Lucent has yet to clearly outline its TMF compliance strategy due to the absence of a well-defined TMF standard.

The first release of iOperations, he says, which is slated for prototype in December and general availability in mid-2002, was done in the interest of time to market. He says the product suite will migrate to standards compliance over time, however.

The existing products melded into iOperations include Navis iEngineer, for fault, configuration, accounting, performance and security management of Lucent access, ATM/frame relay, optical and IP network elements; and Navis iProvision and iAssure.

The two new modules are the Navis Radio Configuration Manager and VitalEvent event analysis software. Radio Configuration Manager validates transient and permanent network configurations, sets policies and plans radio frequency capacity, and reconfigures cell sites. This package is available now for Code Division Multiple Access networks and in 2002 for GSM and UMTS networks.

VitalEvent measures transport and service performance, and identifies problems and QoS violations in real time, Lucent says. It is available now.

The new strategy gives Lucent an opportunity to increase sales of its network management products, analysts say. But some say it's not unique, and it doesn't offer any distinct competitive advantages.

"Lucent shows competitors the direction the company is taking in this space, while providing them with plenty of lead time to close sales, develop sales channels, and develop more competitive products and features," states Current Analysis in a recent report.

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