Nearly all the major operators are evaluating software-defined networking (SDN) or plan to do so within the next three years, according to a survey conducted by market research firm Infonetics Research.
Industry interest in SDN appears justified, with 86 percent of the operators interviewed confident they will deploy the technology and network functions virtualisation (NFV), another operator-backed initiative that so far has had a lower profile.
Operators view SDN as a way to optimize all-IP networks that increasingly make use of data centres. Carriers evaluating and deploying SDN are driven by a desire to have more service flexibility to achieve quicker time to revenue and operational efficiencies, according to Infonetics.
The Network Functions Virtualisation initiative stems from the operators wanting to piggyback on the huge investment being made in servers and software that promises to bring to telecom more flexibility, reduced costs and a move away from specialist platforms and software.
“For the most part, carriers are starting small with their SDN and NFV deployments, focusing on only parts of their network, what we call ‘contained domains’, to ensure they can get the technology to work as intended,” said Michael Howard, Infonetics’ co-founder and principal analyst for carrier networks.
The main network applications where operators expect to deploy SDNs and NFV by 2014 are within data centres, between data centres, operations and management, content delivery networks (CDNs) and cloud services. The study also found that operators rate CDN, IP multimedia subsystems (IMS) and virtual routers/security gateways as the top applications for NFV.
Infonetics surveyed 21 incumbent, competitive and independent wireless operators from EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa), Asia Pacific and North America that have evaluated SDN or plan to do so.
By Roy Rubenstein
Press release: Operators reveal where in their networks they plan to deploy SDN and NFV first