2014: The Technologies, Themes, Topics (and Reports) You Cared About

Peter Jarich
Peter Jarich

Summary Bullets:

  • In 2014, SDN and NFV dominated our “most read reports list,” speaking to what was on the minds of telecom carriers and vendors around the world.
  • A preoccupation with virtualization (network and/or function) could be dangerous if it distracts from other key network technology evolutions.

By definition, some of the analyses we pen will get more attention than others. That attention may be due to any number of factors – the time at which the report was posted, the author, a particularly engaging title – but it’s only natural to assume that the topic of a report is what drives the greatest interest.

To this end, one might wonder: What were the top 10 event analyses and advisories from Current Analysis’ Service Provider Infrastructure practice in 2014?

  1. MWC 2014: AT&T Chooses Ericsson, Tail-F, Metaswitch and Affirmed Networks to Craft its Network of the Future Vision
  2. MWC 2014: SDN + NFV Evolution – Putting Together Products, Solutions and Rollouts
  3. MWC 2014: Mobile Core Virtualization – Does It Mean the Demise of the Router-based P and S Gateways?
  4. It’s the Softswitch, Stupid! NFV and SDN Show What’s Old is New Again
  5. MWC 2014: SDN + NFV Evolution – More Questions than Answers
  6. Ericsson North American Analyst Forum 2014: What Stood Out and What Was Left Out
  7. SDN and NFV Solutions Roadmap: How to Navigate Choppy Waters
  8. Cisco Introduces SDN and Virtualization to the Last Mile with Elastic Access Portfolio Debut
  9. MWC 2014: Ericsson Announces its Virtualized EPC, with a Complete Feature Set on Par with its Native Implementation
  10. Small Cell Challengers, Part 1 of 2: Specialists

More than just being widely read, these reports registered at least three times the readership as the average Service Provider Infrastructure analysis from January 1st through mid-December. As a whole, what do they tell us?

  • The Importance of SDN and NFV. If one topic stands out among all of the top read reports, it’s SDN and NFV. The interest is understandable: SDN and NFV are still relatively new technologies, so there’s much still to learn about them; the competitive landscape is still shaking out; early deployments and product launches are all shaping the industry and telegraphing what it may look like going forward.
  • The Ubiquity of SDN and NFV. There’s one other reason our SDN and NFV reports got so much attention in 2014: these reports were well-represented across all our service provider infrastructure practices. Put another way, we talked about SDN and NFV in nearly every segment of our research: routing, optical, mobile access, mobile core, fixed access, professional services, IP service infrastructure, OSS/BSS. If you haven’t figured it out yet, SDN and NFV are impacting the entire telecom value chain.
  • Leading Players Continue to Lead. Most of our top-read reports from last year were advisories focused (somewhat broadly) on technology trends and directions. A handful focused on specific vendors – Ericsson and Cisco. This is understandable. Building on its position in mobile networks, Ericsson is the undisputed leader in telecom infrastructure; it’s most often THE vendor to beat. Cisco’s enterprise business may outshine its service provider business, but as IP has grown in importance as a part of telecom networks, so has Cisco’s importance to service providers grown. It’s not surprising that the vendor has come out on top; for all the attention lauded on startups and disruptors, the fact remains that people want to know what market leaders are doing even more.
  • Small Cells a Distant Second. Beyond SDN, NFV and any specific vendors, one other topic was represented in the list above: small cells – in particular, a report on specialist small cell vendors. While somewhat more mature than SDN or NFV, the fact remains that small cells are still just beginning to get deployed in earnest; building an understanding of vendors specifically focused on moving the space forward – though potentially outside of traditional competitive watch lists – makes sense.
  • The Risks of What’s Ignored. Based on the small set of topics represented in our top-read reports, you’d think that nothing else happened in telecom networks in 2014 that wasn’t related to SDN, NFV, small cells, a couple key vendors… and some smaller upstart vendors. That’s obviously not true. More importantly, failing to pay attention to the broad diversity of competitive topics and vendors could be dangerous for vendors and service providers alike. If you don’t want to do that, we suggest you look here.

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