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Networks of the Future - Technology Decisions

Posted on 9 November, 2014 at 1:20

Strong Internet traffic growth and capacity challenges and growing customer service expectations and uncertainty in future service mix, as well as growing application assured service expectations drive the steady Rise of SDN & NFV.

So you want Network Virtualisation (NFV) for your Network - With or Without SDN?

Posted on 8 November, 2014 at 4:15

Just like the transition of Enterprise IT systems to Cloud Computing, so the trend towards Network Virtualisation and programmable networks is heating up and unstoppable.


Industry Momentum Building Fast


Judging by the attendee numbers at this year’s SDN & OpenFlow World Congress, in Düsseldorf last month, the industry momentum is building up fast. Apart from doubling the prior year’s attendee numbers (and that in a part of Europe that certainly does not feature among its major Tourist destinations), this third world congress on Software Defined Networks (SDN) featured a large vendor exhibition, including most of the established major networking, applications and software vendors, as well as many start-ups in these areas. It also featured an extensive display of Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) Proof of Concept (POC) demos.


Network Function Virtualisation was a major theme in this multi-streamed SDN World Congress. It may be fair to say that the industry momentum towards NFV is even stronger than that for SDN. Judging for instance by the over 220 member companies of the ETSI NFV Industry Specification Group (ISG) Initiative with well over 30 operator members represented. (Compared to the about 150 members of the Open Networking Foundation – ONF).


The applications of NFV are certainly much easier understood and the value of cloud computing with its scalability and bursting capability and clear economic advantages are well known and attractive to operators. Many major operators are involved in the program of ETSI NFV approved public POC demos that cover a wide range of use cases for telecom operators.


SDN as Enabler for NFV in Networks


NFV does not require SDN, but the ETSI NFV group has from the start made a case that NFV and SDN are perfect complements. At the SDN World Congress in Düsseldorf the outgoing ETSI NFV chair, Prodip Sen, presented an interesting analysis that clearly showed that for telecom networks which are by nature geographically distributed and need to provide built-in reliability and diversity, SDN is an essential complement to NFV. Of course SDN is also a key technology to implement service chaining or Virtual Network Function (VNF) Forwarding Graphs (FG), which is a vital enabler for the richness of personalized virtualized function offerings that service providers may want to offer in order to tap into the rich incremental revenue potential opened up by the NFV technology.


Key Focus Areas: Openness, Performance, Real-time Orchestration


The key focus points of industry discussion around NFV are the need for truly open NFV implementations, to verify and ensure performance for NFV network applications, and to move from monolithic traditional OSS architectures to more cloud oriented real-time NFV Orchestration platforms, in order to fulfill the vision for NFV and to reap its full potential.


The Importance of Openness


The recently founded Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV) initiative, led by Margaret Chiosi, which is focused on realizing this vision for open NFV, was well represented and sharing its industry vision towards open NFV. NTT DoCoMo made a significant announcement about successful multi-vendor NFV testing for virtualized mobile core, where various multi-vendor combinations of the NFV architecture building blocks were successfully tested. This is an important step towards achieving open NFV. NTT DoCoMo also announced its intention to move towards deployment of NFV technology in the coming year.


Cultural Change and Skills Training Needs


So the momentum towards Network Virtualisation and Programmable Networks, ie NFV and SDN, is building. Some operators have already started these deployments, eg the European operator Colt. They note the need for cultural change in their organisations and the breaking down of silos in order to see the successful introduction of these new technologies. And related to this is the looming need for skills training and certification in SDN and NFV, as was highlighted by Dan Pitt, the Executive Director of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), who is in the process of developing an SDN certification program to launch in 2015.

Telecommunication Networks at a Point of Inflection

Posted on 25 October, 2014 at 4:30

There are a few major shifts or points of inflection in the history of ICT and telecommunications networks. The clear message coming from major players at the Broadband World Forum is that the coming move towards programmable networks, ie SDN and NFV is such a point of Inflection leading to major network and industry shifts.

NFV and Network Virtualisation a Major Topic at Broadband World Forum

Posted on 24 October, 2014 at 9:15

At the annual Broadband World Forum (BBWF) in Amsterdam, where the global Telecom Technology Executives meet, NFV and Network Virtualisation are in the Limelight. This year BBWF hosts a number of live NFV POC demos. Blue Ocean Networks contributed to a panel session on "Tackling Deployment Challenges for NFV"

Though NFV has been launched just two years ago, in October 2012, by a small band of 13 global Tier 1 operators, it has made significant strides. The ETSI NFV group that was formed in response to the Call to Action in October 2012, now has over 220 members and over 30 operator members. The initial set of requirements, architecture and framework specifications will be completed by January 2015. Over 25 multi-vendor and operator sponsored POCs are in progress or have been completed. 

In Phase 2 of the ETSI NFV initiative, starting at the end of January 2015, the key focus will be on Interoperability and achieving Openness. The recently launched OPNFV Open Source NFV initiative has a similar key focus on Openness.

How to FulFill NFV's Bold Vision

Posted on 24 October, 2014 at 9:00

Key NFV Take-Away Points from the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014 in Düsseldorf were:

- Openness is essential for successful NFV. Openness means there can not be a vendor lock-in

- Performance and carrier grade SLAs are vital. This is evidenced by the large number of ETSI POCs. Many are testing out use cases and performance points. Performance in a carrier NFV deployment is different to Cloud. NFV is not just another Cloud Data Centre, it means in-line processing at the speed of packets and with minimal delay etc to deliver services in real time.

- The need for a shift in OSS from the legacy monolithic systems to a real-time dynamic orchestration approach, as is being outlined in the NFV MANO approach.

SDN and NFV help Telcos turn the Tables

Posted on 18 August, 2014 at 21:45

Software Defined Networks (SDN) and Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) are about to re-energise the telco market space and create a ‘Blue Ocean’ business environment and huge opportunities for service providers not seen since the start of the explosive growth of the Internet.


These are some of the conclusions highlighted at the recent Software Telco Congress – the SDN & NFV event in Las Vegas.


“…carriers can grow their revenue by providing virtualized-services to their enterprise customers by placing solutions in the customer’s cloud. By providing virtualized customer equipment, carriers will be able to cost-effectively compete with OTT cloud-communications vendors more effectively.”



Asked “‘What is the opportunity’”, ”‘Massive – huge – incredible – I haven’t seen an opportunity in the telco ecosystem space this big since 1998’”


So are Telcos really doomed to suffer a “dumb pipe” slow death? The tables are turning thanks to SDN and NFV …

Blue Ocean Networks is running a number of Workshops on Software Defined Networking and Network Function Virtualisation which analyse the business drivers, the business opportunities and use cases for telecom service providers and enterprise networks and the key technologies to deliver SDN and NFV networks

SDN and NFV turns Next Generation Broadband into Smarter Services

Posted on 23 July, 2014 at 3:05

Virtual home gateway capability based on SDN and NFV provides the broadband subscriber with greater control and a potentially vast new range of services by being able to directly link into network based cloud services.

1 Gigabit/s Cable Network Plan for Los Angeles

Posted on 22 July, 2014 at 3:25

TWC offers Gigabit Cable Network Plan for Los Angeles delivered in 2016

Time Warner Cable (TWC) who operate the existing cable network cross Los Angeles and neighboring counties are proposing to offer a Gigabit service over their existing Hybrid Fibre Coax network in LA with an upgrade to the new DOCSIS 3.1 cable network standard. The TWC proposal is offered as a TWC submission to the City of Los Angeles RFI for a city-wide 1 Gigabit/s broadband network. TWC is the third largest broadband operator in the USA by subscribers and already offers broadband speeds up to 300 Mbit/s over its cable network. According to TWC the 1 Gigabit/s cable network can be in service by 2016, faster than any alternative approach!


TWC also emphasises the tangible operational benefit to LA residents of being able to "deliver those types of speeds without having to dig up streets and dig up people's yards" and being able to provide these speeds across the entire Los Angeles area as early as 2016.

Telecom & Datacom Equipment Market Revenue To Exceed USD 1 Trillion over 5 Years

Posted on 20 July, 2014 at 19:40

According to Infonetics Research the cumulative value of the Telecom and Datacom equipment and software market over 5 years to 2018 will exceed USD 1 Trillion. Half the total spend will be with the five largest vendors: Cisco, Huawei, Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent and ZTE. (source: Infonetics Research)

The global telecom and datacom equipment and software market reached USD 183 Million in 2013 and will continue to grow steadily with the industry move towards SDN and NFV technologies.

While the growth in telecom and datacom equipment and software spend is about a cumulative 20% over the five years, the growth in telecom traffic is forecast to be much more substantial, with a threefold growth in global Internet traffic forecast over this time period, and much higher growth rates forecast for both the mobile network traffic and the cloud data center traffic.

The move to the new SDN and NFV technologies is seen as a major factor in more efficiently scaling networks in a cloud-like virtualisation approach to networks and thereby stabilising the telecom Capex spend in the face of rapid traffic growth.

Cherry Blossoms, Dragon Boats, SDN and IP VPNs

Posted on 16 July, 2014 at 22:40

It’s late Spring and Japan is emerging from the beauty of the Cherry Blossom (Sakura) season, in Hong Kong and China teams are frantically preparing themselves for the upcoming dragon boat races. There is a lot of cultural beauty on display in these parts of Asia as they celebrate their festive seasons.


Unbeknown to most, other preparations are also frantically gathering pace to deliver proof points for some rather significant breakthrough in Software Defined Networks (SDN) technology. In late May 2014, a Proof of Concept demonstration is held in Tokyo with representatives from a couple of major Asian carriers to demonstrate how SDN can turn a state of the art Layer 2 packet optical network into something much more powerful, a provisioning and configuration engine, not only for standard MEF Ethernet services, both the E-Line and the E-LAN type, but more importantly for Layer 3 IP VPN services, which is normally the domain of IP Service Routers. Other SDN based services delivered on this packet optical platform from UTSI that is widely deployed in some Asian carriers, were programmatic scheduling and dynamic on-demand instantiation of bandwidth on demand services.


Technically this is a significant breakthrough for Software Defined Networks. It moves a long way towards bringing SDN into the WAN and it starts to realize the vision of delivering real IP services over a much simpler common Layer 2 platform under the control of a centralized controller. There are obvious cost, business and operational advantages in being able to deliver IP services from a robust transport platform.


So just like the Cherry Blossoms in Japan broke through the cold and gray of winter, and like the dragon boat races celebrate the memory of a famous Chinese poet and his significant impact on Chinese society, so these less visible but very significant technical breakthroughs in the area of SDN emerged under the scenic Tokyo Skyline, and will help advance the move of SDN into the WAN.