Telecommunications Network Management originated under the International Telecommunication Union – Telecommunications (ITU-T) as a strategic goal to create or identify the standard interfaces that allow a network to manage consistently across all network suppliers. The process has been instrumental in fostering a standard method to define and address network issues. This is seen and managed mostly with wireless communications and cable television service providers.

Network management has been widely used to manage networks from high-speed fiber optic networks to distributed cellular and satellite based wireless communications. Management on this scale is very daunting so network management requires breaking down the tasks and services to make the whole system more manageable.

TNM as a model for network management comes in two main forms, Simple Network Management Protocols (SNMP) and Common Management Information Protocol (CMIP). The two systems are vastly different. The CMIP approach provides a feature rich set of sophisticated services. SNMP is based on a simpler interface, in which sophisticated management services fall to either out-of-band network systems or within the managements system itself.

SNMP is connectionless and has lower overhead costs which makes it great for managing in-bound data traffic as its primary information transport mechanism. The limitations are that the process for SNMP need to be micromanaged to keep the process moving and to avoid system failures which can get embedded in the networks substructure.

CMIP sacrifices the simplified method to support more complicated services provided by the network agent. It’s ideal for complicated and elaborate system sequences performing several large-scale tasks simultaneously. Its drawback is that it’s slow, ponderous and can get very complicated to maintain as the amount of data flow is larger than can be readily managed at any given point.

ITU-T recommended this framework of network management so that service providers could deliver their capabilities to a several networks. It follows a layered architecture with different layers of accountability.

Business management Layer

This is the logistical side of network management such as billing, account management and administration.

Service Management Layer

This layer provides oversight services to help in the overall managing of major sections of the network. The output from this layer is critical to the business management layer.

Element management Layer

This layer provides oversight and coordination of the services that are provided by the groups within the network. The results from this work in conjunction with the service layer to help build the business layer.

Network management Layer

This layer is the backbone of the system, where the network services are initiated and it maps out the physical aspects of the equipment within the TNM framework. This layer is key for services involved with switches and data hubs.

Developers have been focusing their attention in the areas of network and element management services. The need for a structured framework to support the higher layer services like Service and Business, can be key to the full integration of a sustainable management system use by many network users, regardless of their system preference and need.