Operations, administration and management

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Operations, administration and management or operations, administration and maintenance (OA&M or OAM) is the processes, activities, tools, standards etc. involved with operating, administering, managing and maintaining any system. This commonly applies to computer networks or computer hardware.

In particular, Ethernet operations, administration and maintenance (EOAM) is the protocol for installing, monitoring and troubleshooting Ethernet metropolitan area network (MANs) and Ethernet WANs. It relies on a new, optional sublayer in the data link layer of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model. The OAM features covered by this protocol are discovery, link monitoring, remote fault detection, remote loopback.


  • Fault management and performance monitoring (ITU-T Y.1731[1]) - Defines performance monitoring measurements such as frame loss ratio, frame delay and frame delay variation to assist with SLA assurance and capacity planning. For fault management the standard defines continuity checks, loopbacks, link trace and alarm suppression (AIS, RDI) for effective fault detection, verification, isolation and notification in carrier networks.
  • Connectivity fault management (IEEE 802.1ag[2]) - Defines standardized continuity checks, loopbacks and link trace for fault management capabilities in enterprise and carrier networks. This standard also partitions the network into 8 hierarchical administrative domains.
  • Link layer discovery (IEEE 802.1ab) - Defines discovery for all Provider Edges (PEs) supporting a common service instance and/or discovery for all edge devices and P Routers) common to a single network domain.
  • Ethernet in the First Mile defined in IEEE 802.3ah[3] mechanisms for monitoring and troubleshooting Ethernet access links. Specifically it defines tools for discovery, remote failure indication, remote and local loopbacks and status and performance monitoring.
  • Ethernet protection switching (ITU G.8031) - Brings SONET APS / SDH MSP like protection switching to Ethernet trunks.

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