Length: 24 Pages
Steve has covered the North American carrier industry for 25 years – nearly half that time for Gartner, where he was a principal analyst. For Heavy Reading, he has covered public Ethernet and IP voice...MORE
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Length: 24 Pages
Multiple system operators (MSOs) face proliferating network complexity, rapidly escalating numbers of connections, vastly higher speeds and ever-expanding service variety. For economic success, they must scale their operations more efficiently to control opex and capex and fit required equipment within current facilities without proportional increases in space, power and cooling demands or costs. At the same time, their competitiveness in this increasingly frenetic environment requires faster service enablement, product creation and provisioning, the ability to bring offerings to market more quickly and add revenue to their bottom lines.
Software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) are dramatic ongoing industry developments; at the same time, they are ripples in a more comprehensive long-term historical trend: automation. Intensified demands on communications networks, particularly in required velocity and complexity, make it increasingly imperative for operators to more fully automate these networks and go beyond longstanding, relatively manual practices.
Twenty years ago, cable networks were oriented around satellite receivers; now they are increasingly oriented around data centers/headends. Needing increasingly to perform the functions of data centers, cable networks – to optimize those environments – need to adopt more software-driven headends and networks.
The key goals of SDN, NFV and their virtualization domain include automating networks to much higher velocities and making them much more malleable and fluid on multiple dimensions in turn-up and service activation, in how functions are partitioned and divided between physical and virtual devices, and in physical location. This new technological regime makes it practical to do more faster, closer to customers and to alternatively centralize and/or distribute operations as is most productive, tying all components together through software.
Cable & SDN/NFV: Moving Toward Implementation reviews the posture of U.S.-based MSOs regarding these new technologies at this early stage of their emergence. It discusses key issues involved in terms of operators and technologies, reviews various areas where the MSOs are implementing or considering virtualization-based technologies and profiles several of the most pivotal industry players in this domain, concluding with a view to the future.
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There are crucial differences between implementation of these new technologies within the data center where they arguably have more immediate and limited problems to solve – and their development has proceeded fairly rapidly – and in the much larger "wide area," where progress is slower and more problematic, though also proceeding. Cloud computing and virtualization have clearly acquired their strongest footholds in data centers.
In a sense, virtualization promises to extend the data center environment out to subscribers, creating a universe in which customers and providers operate in ways increasingly resembling a data center. There is a long way to go to in the wide area, and most players are still moving cautiously there.
Cable & SDN/NFV: Moving Toward Implementation is published in PDF format.