Adapting to an automated world

Oct. 30, 2020
Software-defined networks (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV) mark a new era in network automation and optimization. And as 5G rollouts get underway, use cases for Internet of Things (IoT) in many new applications will create new services.

By Jorge Davila, ADTRAN

For the past several years, the telecom industry has been moving toward a major network, services, and operational transformation led by software-defined networks (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV) to usher in a new era in network automation and optimization. As 5G rollouts get underway, use cases for Internet of Things (IoT) and many new applications are creating new services and revenue streams for network operators and enterprises. In this increasingly challenging environment steeped in opportunity, service providers must become extremely operational and service agile, which is the main goal of emerging software-defined access (SD-Access) architectures.

The key starting point is on-boarding the next generation access technologies using the right architecture and operational tools, which provide the desired network capacity and scalability. For example, we at ADTRAN recently launched an automated network intelligence solution to enable network operators to accelerate subscriber growth, reduce churn and optimize network investment.

We have been able to commercialize open, disaggregated SD-Access solutions pairing access domain expertise with industry leadership, which is enabling our customers to become more highly competitive. Adopting next-generation SD-Access solutions enables operators to increase service velocity, lower operational costs and streamline operations.

Our cloud-based SD-Access solution works in conjunction with the on-premises edge platforms leveraging intelligent cloud software and a dedicated backbone network in order to control traffic to and from business-critical software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications. This unique cloud-based networking approach brings simplicity and flexibility to small to medium-sized businesses and distributed enterprises. Additionally, this solution enables managed service providers to transparently integrate with existing solutions and seamlessly adapt to any change to network or application usage, making the transition to SD-Access easier, faster and more affordable.

A well-designed SD-Access solution shall include an access domain SDN controller and orchestrator that provides an evolution from vendor-specific element management systems. This will allow network operators to advance from semi-automated provisioning of individual access technologies to support fully automated orchestration and SDN control of multi-vendor, multi-technology networks operating across multiple domains.

A comprehensive cloud platform will be architected to meet the needs of today and next-generation networks of tomorrow for agile, on-demand, flexible control. It paves a path to modular, component-based network architectures that are open, programmable, and scalable.

The implementation of an effective automated network intelligence solution requires the integration of the SD-Access control and orchestration platform with other business and operation systems. Demand a cloud platform that is built to tackle functions ranging from orchestration of disaggregated fiber access systems, OSS adapters, traditional fault, configuration, accounting, performance and security (FCAPS) functions or advanced data mining and analytics. Such a platform will provide an operator new levels of network automation and optimization capabilities.

In combination with domain expertise and access to best-in-class planning tools and processes, service providers can leverage automated intelligence to speed access infrastructure decision-making with increased insight and accuracy, so their broadband delivery capacity can quickly be deployed to serve more people with the right broadband service options at a lower network cost.

Jorge Davila is head of the managed services portfolio and business development at ADTRAN.

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