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Software Telco Panel Considers Real-Time Communications

By Paula Bernier November 22, 2013

When it comes to real-time communications, lag time is a real problem. Media like audio and video require very predictable eye-to-eye and ear-to-ear latency.

For all their benefits in delivering transactional solutions, clouds like those offered by Amazon are not that great for latency-sensitive traffic, so bare metal is the way to go for that at the moment, said James Gledhill, chief solutions architect at Dialogic Corp.

Gledhill was on a panel today called “Software Telco and Real-time Communications”, along with Mike Lambert, solutions director for advanced business communications at Alcatel-Lucent, and Clint Peck, vice president of technology at Alianza.

“We see the same thing,” added Peck. “That latency is the killer.”

Bandwidth is another important consideration for real-time communications companies as they consider running their applications on the cloud, Gledhill pointed out. When you’re talking about media, especially video, you’re talking about a lot of bandwidth, he said, and that bandwidth can be very expensive. So how cloud providers price for bandwidth will impact your decision as to which one you choose as a service provider. The good news, he added, is that media can go one path and signaling can go on another path.

One thing the cloud is great at is enabling the spin up of new instances as needs require, noted Lambert. That’s good if holidays or other events generate more traffic and the need for more network resources, he pointed out.

On the down side, he added, lower-bandwidth branch offices of corporations moving to the cloud can be a gating factor to full cloud deployment.

Another interesting twist to cloud and NFV is that with them, networks are no longer engineered for 100 percent reliability, or 1:1 resiliency, said Gledhill. Rather, the network is designed to fail, but products and procedures are in place to address outages before they affect customers. That means fewer idle resources.

So if cloud is already out there, what does NFV bring to the table? Gledhill explained it like this. Cloud is available today, but its methods for provisioning, management, and the like are proprietary. NFV creates standards around that kind of thing so others can create those types of solutions in a repeatable fashion.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson

Executive Editor, TMC

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