NFV continues to make its way through the demonstration and POC phases; contributions are coming from all levels of the telco ecosystem – small and large vendors and service creative service providers
Multi-vendor support and emerging standards play a critical role, even in these early days of trial and error; vendors and operators recognize the reality that both will be required for mass deployment
Telco copper, much maligned by cable operators and FTTH proponents, may still have a lifespan of another 100 years – to paraphrase the CEO of Australian incumbent operator Telstra – thanks to ongoing technology R&D that will eventually enable multi-gigabit connections over the copper plant.
Fiber-to-the-drop-point (FTTdp) will be a de facto FTTH technology, enabling operators to deliver fiber-speed, ultra-broadband connections by leveraging deep fiber architectures with last-run copper plant, supporting speeds of up to 1 Gbps with G.Fast and 5 Gbps in the not-so-distant future.
American author and humorist Mark Twain once said, “Rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated,” and when it comes to the impending demise of telco copper, Twain’s quote has already been overused (I will be the first to plead guilty). For much of the last decade, the wonders of fiber access, or FTTH, have been touted as the end-all, be-all wireline access technology, with fiber evangelists aggressively lobbying across the planet for the upgrade of telco networks to full-fiber as soon as possible. This includes well-established and respected industry groups such as the various FTTH Councils in Europe, Asia and the Americas, which are the “tip of the spear” for fiber network lobbying, as well as high-profile politicians, most notably Neelie Kroes, the European Union’s Commissioner for Digital Agenda. Continue reading “Copper Is Dead, Right? Not So G.Fast and Furious, My Friend”→
Sometimes, concepts from two supposedly unrelated documents intersect, yielding a third. On May 21st, ADVA Optical Networking issued a press release describing a demonstration it conducted in collaboration with HEAnet, i2CAT and Eurotek showcasing a 4K video services network. The network used an OpenDaylight-based software-defined networking (SDN) controller and ADVA’s FSP 3000 colorless and directionless ROADMs. This network exhibited video network as a service (VNaaS), but would the video application be a distinct use case (versus all large-scale data transfers)?
In the same way that T-Mobile sought to break the mold of telco behavior by proclaiming itself an “Uncarrier,” NFV appears to be having a similar effect on telco network infrastructure. In fact, so much so, that it wouldn’t be far out to talk about the “unhardware” telco in some circles, given some of the hype around the “software” telco vision.
Now, don’t get me wrong; no one’s saying that hardware isn’t needed at all, unless maybe if the carrier is an MVNO. However, the NFV initiative has created very high expectations that an increasing number of telco network functions will be able to run on “bulk standard” data center servers – the sort that telcos already have running their IT software. There’s no problem with that, but I think we are beginning to see an inevitable dose of reality creeping in (see here and here) and we’ll likely see more and more of it as NFV moves from PoCs to live trials this year. Continue reading “NFV Hardware: Are We Going Forward or Backward?”→
Seemingly for years now, we’ve heard telecom network equipment vendors talk about the need for CSPs to counteract the trend of falling revenue per bit metrics. Like modern day ‘Ghosts of Christmas Future,’ these warnings are accompanied by menacing infographics with scary-sounding names like ‘the scissor chart.’ These charts feature jagged lines depicting an (as yet undefined) point in time where delivering data services becomes a resource-draining burden, rather than a twenty-first century business opportunity.
The problem with these prognostications is that rarely have they been accompanied by concrete plans or solutions which will help operators to solve their problems. Sure, there has been the standard acknowledgment of the ‘network as a differentiator’ and some vague notion of partnering with OTTs, but that is a far cry from putting forth actionable plans that detail how to deal with the chart below. Continue reading “Can Operators Invest in Network Quality to Improve Top Line Performance?”→
After all, it’s 2014. 5G isn’t expected to arrive in any real form until around 2020. Right now, it’s not even defined. Usually described as a wish list of disparate features including high speed, low latency and device battery conservation, it could include everything from millimeter wave technology to predictive algorithms. (When I addressed this topic as part of a panel at last year’s LTE North America show, I put it this way: “It’s a little bit zen. In order to understand 5G, you must first understand that there is no 5G.”) So, sure, there’s a lot of work to be done behind the scenes in consortiums and labs and industry standards working group committees and so on. But not in noisy press releases, right? Not yet? Continue reading “Another Reason to Talk About 5G: Pulling Non-Telecom Sectors into the Tent”→
OSS/BSS platforms will prove essential in the scaling and monetizing of Cable WiFi services
Amdocs portfolio asset bundles point to technologies cable operators need to meet WiFi service expansion objectives
Recently Amdocs identified WiFi services as the next frontier for significant cable operator revenue diversification and expansion. In itself this is not a surprise since the next-generation hotspot (NGH) market could witness up to $150 billion in operator revenues by 2018. Amdocs presents a compelling case on the WiFi deployment challenges that cable operators need to address in order to tap into the long-term potential of the NGH market.
The move to server-based network functions could have an interesting impact on the edge service router’s future role in the network; growth in router-based service cards will slow.
This is potentially good news for an operator’s CapEx, but success will rely on effective service orchestration and carrier-grade implementations, and consistent performance will remain critical.
The industry has been immersed in deep discussions regarding SDN and NFV for the past several years; these discussions have now turned to multiple feature demonstrations, proof-of-concept (PoC) initiatives and a limited number of vendor/operator trials. What has not been widely discussed is the role that the traditional IP service edge router will play in this new world of centrally controlled networks and network applications hosted by generic servers (with generic still under debate). Continue reading “NFV’s Impact on the Future of Service Routers: Back to the Classical PE Router?”→