In our previous two blog posts, we discussed the challenges that service providers and operators face as their networks evolve and densify. We also presented some automation, optimization and big data tools that allow operators to resolve challenges throughout their network lifecycle.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss the challenges that arise from the highly dynamic environment of the massive-network era, as well as a recommended solution.
The massive-network challenge
In addition to all of the challenges reviewed in previous posts, massive networks also have to work in a dynamic business environment. On the one hand, a highly competitive landscape requires operators to focus on increased operational efficiency, that is, tight control on CAPEX, OPEX, and maximal utilization of resources such as power, labor, real estate, and spectrum. On the other hand, in order to maintain competitiveness, the end-customer quality of service must be above the market benchmark, SLAs must be met and new services and new applications must be deployed, ahead of the competition, throughout the network and with minimal labor overhead.
These are difficult targets to achieve, and are made even more difficult when combined with the ever-growing complexity of network elements; the additional skill-set required to configure services across the different network elements; and the exploding number of network elements in the ever-densifying network.
What’s the solution?
The solution here, as in our previous posts, is automation. In this case, however (and fortunately for network operators), this automation undergoes a standardization process with Software Defined Networking (SDN).
SDN allows operators to simplify their network and resource optimization, increase their service availability and quality, and promptly introduce services to customers.
The base for these benefits is a standard-based architecture that defines a protocol and a data model e.g. Netconf-YANG, which simplifies and standardizes the interaction between service creation, the management system (the SDN controller), and any network element, that is, any network element that supports these standards.
By defining the information and parameters that can be controlled via the data model, as well as the way to control them via the protocol, it becomes easier to make changes to multiple elements in the network (not necessarily in the same domain or even from the same vendor).
Instead of deploying staff to the field, remotely managing individual elements, or even managing multiple elements with a domain/vendor-specific NMS, operators can now automate actions such as service restoration, power saving, service introduction, and architecture optimization via simple-to-create SDN applications that require basic skills and very little time to create.
Applications such as cross-domain reroute can restore service for high-priority traffic by implementing configuration changes simultaneously and promptly at the wireless transport level, IP/MPLS level, and OTN/DWDM level without human interference. Without SDN, this task would have required a lot of time and resources or even been impossible in some cases.
Additional applications include latency-based re-route, power-saving mode by shutting down unnecessary network connections in low-traffic periods, and bandwidth-on-demand.
Your network is growing in size, density, and complexity and these trends put a burden on your organization. In order to remain operationally efficient and agile, we recommend that from the start, you build your network architecture in a way that enables you to scale your service towards the massive-network era.
To ensure peace of mind, operational efficiency, and customer quality of experience for years to come, choose network solutions and vendors that offer you the automation and optimization tools throughout the journey.
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