Optical network operators want to transition to software-defined networking (SDN) architectures to make their networks more programmable, maximize their revenue potential and accelerate time to revenue for services. As foundational SDN deployments begin to roll out, the next step is to get a return on this SDN investment with faster delivery times for existing and new services. Service delivery time is a key measure of a successful network because getting services quickly into customers’ hands leads to increased customer satisfaction, higher revenue and reduced OPEX.
Service delivery challenges
Many factors can impact optical service delivery time. In the initial service contract phase, complicated commercial agreements and billing arrangements slow things down. Standardized service definitions can alleviate these challenges. For example, the recent MEF 63 effort has standardized wavelength services. The standards expedite service delivery by making wavelength services easy to compare and orchestrate.
In the subsequent service fulfillment phase, standards-based SDN interfaces can reduce back-office integration time and speed up service creation by making optical services easier to orchestrate. But in the fulfillment phase, SDN interfaces only facilitate service creation and integration with supporting software. They don’t address one of the key factors that slows optical service delivery: the availability of network capacity to realize the service. Network capacity is typically readily available to support packet-based services (e.g. Ethernet VPN, IP VPN, SD-WAN). This is rarely the case for higher capacity optical wavelength services, especially 100G services.
Packet-based services can take advantage of statistical multiplexing, quality of service (QoS)-based packet queueing and overbooking techniques to accelerate the return on investment (ROI) for pre-deployed network capacity. A 100G connection that supports packet-based services can support hundreds of customers without significant risk. These customers will not all use their maximum capacity at the same time, and packet queueing systems can smooth out brief congestion periods when aggregated packet traffic exceeds a 100G rate. Wavelength services, on the other hand, support fewer customers. In most cases, they support one customer – such as the service provider that provides the packet-based services described above.
Making pre-deployed service capacity viable
Optical network operators rarely have pre-deployed capacity to support rapid service delivery. Optical services typically support higher capacities dedicated to fewer customers, and operators don’t have the tools to expedite the selling of capacity. To speed up optical service delivery, operators need economical ways to create ready-to-go service capacity. According to a recent ACG survey, the lack of ready-to-go service capacity slows service delivery even more than running physical fiber to the end customer.
The first step toward making pre-deployed service capacity viable is to acquire the tools to make it rapidly consumable by end customers, including those that rely on capacity from wholesale operators. Once operators make pre-deployed capacity rapidly consumable, their exposure to the cost of adding it is reduced. Operators can further reduce their exposure by using network automation tools to safely optimize the network and enhance service capacity.
Another approach is to work with an optical equipment vendor that has the tools to support revenue sharing environments that can offset the cost and risk associated with pre-deploying capacity. The ACG survey also revealed that many service providers believe that they could increase customer satisfaction, boost revenue and reduce OPEX if they had the right tools in place to support pre-deployed service capacity and make it rapidly consumable. The same survey found that 56 percent of service providers are willing to share the costs and revenue of pre-deployed network capacity to enable faster service delivery.
A smarter approach to optical service enablement
Nokia’s WaveSuite Service Enablement applications give network operators the tools they need to economically enhance service capacity and have it rapidly consumed by end customers.
The WaveSuite applications are built on a patented business-aware hierarchical software model that understands the business relationships involved in selling optical services. Operators can use this ingrained intelligence to build a foundation for rapidly deployable and consumable optical services. The software helps streamline the sale of optical services by supporting all aspects of the optical service lifecycle.
With the WaveSuite applications, operators can:
- Create customizable service catalogs based on standardized service attributes
- Support rapid service fulfilment and promote services through customizable web portals
- Advertise available service capacity on geographical maps to facilitate its rapid consumption
- Use node automation software to accelerate the deployment and commissioning of service supporting equipment and activate services faster
- Simplify service assurance with customizable reports that show service-level agreement (SLA) thresholds for service availability, latency and utilization
The applications can also instantly recognize when and how service capacity is consumed. This enables operators to work with optical equipment vendors to support new revenue and risk-sharing business models.
SDN architectures support new services by making networks more programmable, but they don’t speed service delivery on their own. Operators also need open service enablement tools to accelerate service delivery time and get a return on an SDN architecture investment. With the right tools, they can increase customer satisfaction and revenue and reduce OPEX.
Learn more about how WaveSuite software can help you get new value from your optical network.
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