Bringing you the very latest on SDN and NFV developments across the world

Posts tagged ‘operator’

Interview with Hugh Bradlow, CTO, Telstra, Australia

Hugh BradlowIn advance of Network Virtualization & SDN World in London on 27-30 May 2014, we caught up with Hugh Bradlow, CTO of Telstra, Australia, to ask him about his thoughts on SDN and NFV in 2014.

Welcome Hugh. What would you say has had the largest impact in terms of progressing SDN and NFV in telecom networks to date?

HSB: “Cloud data centres have had the biggest impact on progressing SDN as they offer immediate value.”

Do you feel that the industry is making as much progress towards implementing SDN and NFV this year as you would like?

HSB: “Any change to core infrastructure cannot be rushed, so the pace of introduction is valid.”

How is your company contributing to the realisation of SDN and NFV at present?

HSB: “We have been running trials of some of some the key new use cases (e.g. virtualised Residential Gateway) to determine value and performance.”

What do you think are the biggest hurdles towards implementing SDN and NFV at present, and how can they be overcome?

HSB: “The hurdles are similar to the introduction of any new technology. You are competing with an incumbent infrastructure which is delivering value and the technology is usually only a small proportion of the overall solution – the aspects that inhibit change from existing to new are all the things that go with the technology – OSS, OAM, human capital, etc. On top of that, you need to prove a business case based on total operating cost which is always difficult.”

5) Which areas of the network do you think should be prioritised for virtualization, and why?

HSB: “As mentioned above, data centres are an obvious use case and are already well progressed. Customer access is another priority opportunity because of the flexibility it allows in terms of service delivery (e.g. enabling a customer to configure multiple independent networks over one physical access path).”

6) What are your expectations for the development of SDN and virtualization in telco networks in coming years?

HSB: “Unless some compelling use case emerges, I think we shall see the introduction of SDN/NFV as part of lifecycle replacement of assets over time.”

Hugh Bradlow will be speaking in more detail about his thoughts and ideas at Network Virtualization & SDN World in London on 27-30 May 2014. For further information and to register for the event, please visit www.sdnworldevent.com.

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Interview with Hrvoje Jerkovic, Service Quality Assurance Manager, Vipnet, Croatia

Hrvoje JerkovicIn advance of Network Virtualization & SDN World in London on 27-30 May 2014, we caught up with Hrvoje Jerkovic, Service Quality Assurance Manager, Vipnet, Croatia to find out his thoughts on the industry in 2014.

Welcome Hrvoje. What would you say has had the largest impact in terms of progressing SDN and NFV in telecom networks to date?
HJ: “In last few months we have seen real flood of announcements regarding NFV implementations. Some of them refer to Proof of Concepts, and some to implementations in real live networks. It is obvious that this is more than just upgrades to technology, and operators are very careful with this topic.
“Generally, the main reason lies in the opportunity to cut hardware costs by reusing the same COTS hardware platforms for different telco appliances. Through better utilization of hardware and through using distributed software block-architecture of NFV based telco elements, operators have the opportunity to make significant cost savings as well as optimization of resource usage.”
Do you feel that the industry is making as much progress towards implementing SDN and NFV this year as you would like?
HJ: “NFV presents a major shift in telco architecture. Such changes need time to develop to reach functionality and telco-grade stability of legacy architecture; therefore, I would answer yes. We have to accept the fact that no operator wants to gamble with their core business, even if the potential savings might be big. This is the reason for taking small steps and virtualizing only certain network functionalities on certain technologies.”

What do you think are the biggest hurdles towards implementing SDN and NFV at present, and how can they be overcome?
HJ: “In terms of hurdles, the main technical reason is non-maturity of current NFV based products. As mentioned earlier, many operators are making small steps, just because they don’t have full confidence to make bigger steps. Beside that, there is also a constant need for each operator to adapt the set-up of its processes driven by NFV architecture.”

Which areas of the network do you think should be prioritised for virtualization, and why?
HJ: “In the first phase, we should focus on network elements covering signaling and control functions. Some of them might be IMS related , VoLTE related, policy functionalities, messaging services, Gi services etc. After that, data plane nodes which have clearly specific and/or different requirements could follow in the second stage.”

What are your expectations for the development of SDN and virtualization in telco networks in coming years?
HJ: “Based on initial experience, SDN and virtualization’s footprint is likely to spread in certain steps, depending on operators’ plans to extend in this direction. The logical way forward for operators is to exchange legacy equipment when NFV-based solutions can fulfil functionality/stability requirements and old legacy equipment reaches an end-of-life state.”

 Which company do you most admire in the SDN / NFV space, and why?
HJ: “It would be impolite to pick any vendor right now. The interesting thing is that, beside traditional ICT vendors (also known as the big players), we see many small agile vendors on the market trying to position themselves in the mix as well. Both of these have weakness and strengths, and I think it’s good for industry and good for the market as well to see some new players.”

Hrvoje Jerkovic will be speaking in more detail about his thoughts and ideas on SDN and NFV at Network Virtualization & SDN World in London on 27-30 May 2014. For further information and to register for the event, please visit www.sdnworldevent.com.

Interview with Peter Zidar, Head of Standardisation Group, Telekom Slovenije

Peter ZidarIn advance of Network Virtualization & SDN World in London on 27-30 May 2014, we caught up with Peter Zidar, Head of the Standardisation Group at Telekom Slovenije, to find out his thoughts on SDN and NFV in 2014…

What would you say has had the largest impact in terms of progressing SDN and NFV in telecom networks to date?

PZ: “The largest impact is coming from implementations of cloud computing, Cloud RAN and M2M. At the core of cloud technologies are virtualization mechanisms. It is also important for network operators to reduce cost by avoiding proprietary hardware implementations and virtualizing network services. They can reduce CAPEX (by using of the shelf equipment) and OPEX (by running network functions in the data centre) by implementing SDN and NFV. Operators want to migrate from self-contained routers to a centrally-controlled distributed environment to simplify maintenance. Advantages of SDN and NFV can increase velocity of deploying new upgrades.”

Do you feel that the industry is making as much progress towards implementing SDN and NFV this year as you would like?

PZ: “Progress is still a bit slow but gaining momentum. Implementing SDN and NFV was at first slowed down by lack of proper standardization. With an increasing number of cloud services offered by network operators as well as upgrades to the C-RAN, these two technologies will make big step forward to become more widespread. It takes some time for network operators to be assured that the security, resilience and availability of their networks are not impaired when virtualised network functions and SDN are introduced.”

How is your company contributing to the realisation of SDN and NFV at present?

PZ: “We have implemented some SDN functions in our core network and are planning to participate at different EU projects, which are going to use those functions in conjunction with IoT and video routing. We are already preparing our networks for greater use of SDN and NFV.”

What do you think are the biggest hurdles towards implementing SDN and NFV at present, and how can they be overcome?

PZ: “The biggest hurdles are legacy networks and multivendor environments. Also, more SDN and NFV capable products should be available. One of the reasons for slow deployment is the lack of ability to load and execute virtual appliances in different but standardised datacentre environments, provided by different vendors for different operators. Virtualization is causing some performance degradation, so it may not always be optimal, and some operators may therefore hesitate to implement it. Another hurdle is the necessary co-existence with legacy network elements and compatibility issues.”

Which areas of the network do you think should be prioritised for virtualization, and why?

PZ: “All new network elements should be prioritized for virtualization to appropriately scale and upgrade mobile networks in future. All cloud services, including C-RAN, are also obvious places to start with virtualization.”

What are your expectations for the development of SDN and virtualization in telco networks in coming years?

PZ: “I expect that network operators will first try to use SDN and virtualization to implement and deploy cloud services, and then use it also for Cloud RAN. The use of these technologies may very likely transform the vendor landscape. Each player will need to re-position itself in new markets. Vendors will offer virtualized versions of their products, and network operators will have to migrate their operations and skill base to a software based networking environment.”

Peter Zidar will be speaking in more detail about his thoughts and ideas at Network Virtualization & SDN World in London on 27-30 May 2014. For further information and to register for the event, please visit www.sdnworldevent.com.

Speaker Interview: Ravinder Shergill, Senior Technology Architect, Telus, Canada

Ravinder ShergillWith Carrier Network Virtualization just around the corner, we caught up with another of the show’s speakers, Ravinder Shergill, Senior Technology Architect from Telus, Canada. Here are a few of his thoughts on the nature and growth of the NFV and SDN industries in 2013/4: 

RS: “We’re living during exciting times, with the opportunity to effect technological innovations for years, and perhaps decades to come.

“With incredible data growth and significance of cloudification, business as usual will not suffice. New and innovative models must be explored, and SDN and NFV hold the promise of such potential. First solution sets are targeted at the Data Center environment, and the greatest opportunity lies there. However, the opportunities landscape is much broader.

“The SDN and NFV eco-system is currently in transition, but as the roadmaps and the standards solidify, it will pave the way for easier acceptance

“Small adoptions, perhaps as pilots, are imminent, but broad deployments are further away, perhaps even 5 years out. As the SDN and NFV eco-system develops, this will pave the way for gaining traction in the industry. While there has been good progress in 2013, there is a long journey ahead.

“At Telus, we are now at the Proof-of-Concept stage, and the outcomes of these will determine our future plans.”

You can hear more about Telus’ ideas and plans regarding SDN and NFV at Carrier Network Virtualization in Palo Alto on 9-11 December 2013. For further information, please visit www.carriernetworkvirtualization.com 

The Revolutionary Benefits of Telco SDN

Article contributed by Dimitris Mavrakis, Principal Analyst with Informa Telecoms & Media, who will be speaking in-depth about SDN and NFV at the forthcoming SDN World Conference in Barcelona on 11-13 June 2013, a uniquely operator-rich event featuring visionary contributions on the potential of SDN and NFV from operators around the globe.

With infrastrucDimitris Mavrakis smallture vendors offering their own flavors of SDN, the interest – and confusion – in the telecoms industry is increasing. Early adopters begin to deploy SDN concepts while mainstream operators attempt to understand the cultural, technical and business implications of the new concepts.

In the context of telecom networks, telco SDN refers to separation of the control and data layers, virtualization of network components and service exposure, although each vendor may have a different strategy according to their technical legacy and existing product lines.

In many cases, telco SDN reminds of previous, somewhat unsuccessful initiatives, including IMS. But in a way, SDN is already an established concept in the IT domain in the form of OpenFlow and OpenStack; although this is in a different context, it offers similar benefits to both IT and telecoms service providers. Increased scalability, flexibility, cost savings and less dependence on overprovisioning for network design are a few examples of short-term benefits SDN brings to both IT and telecoms. In the long term, the concept will allow for new service architectures, service exposure, new revenue opportunities and more efficient operations.

SDN and IMS promise – among other things – horizontalization of network infrastructure and easier service exposure to third parties but are without clear new business and revenue opportunities. However, there are several differences from previous technologies, especially IMS.

Telco SDN (and NFV) has serious advantages over IMS: SDN is already being implemented in the IT domain, and operators and vendors will have learned from their involvement in IMS. Also, SDN is attempting to enter the market by applying practices and technologies from the IT domain to the telecoms environment – this is in contrast with IMS, which was a completely new and very optimistic concept. Moreover, the vendors involved in SDN and virtualization also come from the IT domain and have experience of large-scale IP networks – which is the ultimate convergence of mobile networks.

What is likely to evolve first

The benefits of telco SDN increase towards the edge of the network and are maximum when facing the end user. For example, a virtualized CPE will not require continuous upgrades when a fixed operator upgrades to new technologies. On the other hand, the cost to virtualize the edge of the network – especially when considering radio networks – is prohibitively expensive.

LTE networks have just been deployed and operators will require some from of ROI from these existing networks before investing billions once again. Cloud RAN is the first implementation of virtualization in the radio access layer, where baseband processing is pooled at a semi-centralized location to allow for more fluid resource allocation. This also requires high expenditure and is likely to be deployed once small cells become widespread.

On the other hand, the Enhanced Packet Core (EPC) is a part of the network that is more likely to be virtualized in the short term, due to its flat (IP) nature and the need for components to be flexible and scalable. The core network is far more centralized compared to the RAN and as such, easier to upgrade, maintain and virtualize. EPC components include the MME (mobility management) and gateways (PGW, SGW) which may be implemented in software and run from data centres in order to provide a more scalable and flexible architecture. Specific functionality of the network may be exposed to trusted third parties while operators will be able to create customized services for groups of customers, or even individual premium customers (SMEs or enterprises).

Why Telco SDN is revolutionary

Despite the failure of previous network technologies, Telco SDN arrives at the market at the right time, when the telecoms and IT worlds are starting to align. Mobile operators will soon find that relying on traffic forecasts and overdimensioning may not provide an adequate business case for rolling out nationwide networks.

Despite the fragmented and multi-vendor nature of existing mobile networks, Telco SDN and similar concepts can provide a real answer to achieving more flexible, scalable and adaptive networks for real world scenarios.