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How SDN, NFV Will Help CSPs Revive Their Networks & Revenues

By Paula Bernier October 23, 2013

The tide has turned on incumbent network operators, which in the days of old, were the Poseidon’s of communications.

Sure, these facilities-based giants still wield great power due to their large customer numbers, technical experience, significant financial resources, and political sway. But, at the same time, they are grappling with how to better meet the challenge of the growing sea of demand and new services that require a much more nimble approach to network control and engineering, while at the same time battling dwindling margins.

The solution, many experts in networking now agree, is to adopt network functions virtualization and software defined networking.

“Not only can SDN and network virtualization help address the explosive capacity demand of mobile traffic, but they can also reduce the CapEx and OpEx burden faced by service providers to handle this demand by diminishing reliance on expensive proprietary hardware platforms,” according to Research and Markets, which this week said the SDN, NFV and network virtualization market will account for nearly $4 billion in 2014 alone. “SDN and network virtualization solutions have been widely deployed in data center and enterprise environments, and many service provider deployments are already under way.”

As Mannix O’Connor, director of technical marketing for MRV Communications writes in a recent article, NFV and SDN will enable facilities-based service providers to migrate to networks with application awareness, layer convergence in network equipment, software programmability, and virtualization.

“In the past, it might take 60 days to create a new service; now customers want it in 60 seconds,” says O’Connor. “In addition, customers may change day-to-day requirements for more, less, or different services and they are willing to pay for this flexibility.”

The solution, O’Connor writes, is to build a network that is intelligent enough to make decisions about different layers using traffic awareness and deliver SLA-compliant services based on traffic management, QoS, and security implementations from a single hardware and software platform. That will entail collapsing some OSI layers into a single, more intelligent device for greater control, more efficient network design, faster service provisioning, and lower operational expenses.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

Executive Editor, TMC

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