Publication Name: Voice and Data
Date: June 2015
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Software-Defined Networking (SDN) is changing the typical Network Designs by separating control and data planes, centralizing network intelligence, and abstracting applications from the underlying network using OpenFlow or other proprietary standards.
This will enable telecom operators to provide flexible Network Solutions that adapt to the changing demand requirements by enabling them with more control, automation and network programming capabilities.
This is in line to address the challenges being faced by the network operators in today’s business environment, some of them being declining rates of average revenue per user (ARPU), market saturation and intense competition from Over the Top (OTT) applications and services. Most of the operators today are still focusing on cost reduction strategies with little or no focus on channel monetization of network traffic.
The telecom operators today must drive a customer-centric market shift, moving from standard connectivity services to leveraging subscriber and network intelligence for service innovation and new business models.
The ways in which implementation of SDN in the network architecture helps the operators are:
- SDN helps in Improving capital and operational economics through improved network utilization and configuration in automation
- It provides a platform to monetize Network Quality and APIs for its customers and partners
- It enables real-time feedback and visibility into the utilization of services for more efficient traffic loading by cloud applications
- By comparing historical and real-time performance data, SDN facilitates improved security across the entire network
What this means for telecom operators is that:
- They can provide superior service experience to their end customers by making real time changes in the network quality parameters such as bandwidth thereby increasing customer satisfaction
- It also empowers the operator to monetize their networks by activating new service connections on demand and by introducing variable charging for the network quality available to the subscriber
The real potential of SDN can be harnessed only by integration with the typical IT networks. While it is still going through the process of standardization, SDN is still being looked as a disruptive technology in the communication ecosystem that will make the network service creation most customer centric and enable better service experience, and, at the same time, give opportunities to telecom operators to generate more revenue from the customer, making it a win- win situation for both parties.
Tata Elxsi’s Contribution
Tata Elxsi has contributed to the development of the Big Switch Network’s Floodlight controller ver. 1.0 which is one of the first open SDN controllers with standardized south bound interface. It is integrated with custom Test Automation tool (based on Continuous Integration, Delivery and Deployment principles) for OpenFlow Testing.
We have also developed firewall modules based on ODL and integrated Opendaylight with Openstack that includes workflows to create distributed Overlay Networks. The company is investing through in-house R&D programs and jointly with customers in this space to implement some of the new features of SDN based networks, driving the overall paradigm shift towards more open and easily scalable networks of future.
The author is Vice President and Head of Telecom and Networking Business of Tata Elxsi.