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Sep 26 2018

Why partly cloudy is an exciting prospect for fixed network operators

In 2018, a little scepticism has crept in concerning operators’ ambitions for SDN and NFV. And touting ‘over-virtualized’ solutions from within the industry has not helped. When addressing SDN and NFV, our job at Nokia is to figure out how to help fixed operators evolve to the cloud without throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Operators, of course, aren’t averse to the cloud. A lot is at stake. It’s that a sudden binary switch from cloudless to full cloud is a daunting prospect. The unstoppable force of SDN has met an immovable object: the installed base. Existing investments and existing services to customers must all be protected, otherwise you risk creating undeliverable projects.

Absolutely critical, then, is the ability for software-defined systems to co-exist alongside traditional networks. SDN involves significant changes to networks and processes. So, it’s vital for operators to be able to adopt SDN at their own pace to ensure a smooth transition from their existing delivery models.

That’s why partly cloudy is the perfect weather condition; applying virtualization in phases when and where it makes sense. This has been our approach with our Software-Defined Access Network (SDAN) solution from its outset. We’re focusing on where SDN can deliver better things. Take early breakthrough applications such as always-on networking, network slicing and multi-vendor deployments. Each of these can be introduced with minimal disruption to legacy services and at a moment when the operator is ready to do so.

All well and good. But the whole point of SDN is to reduce complexity, not increase it. How does that happen if an operator needs to manage two environments instead of one?

That’s where unified access management comes in.

We’ve figured out how to gradually introduce new SDN deployment models. Built in to the Nokia Altiplano SDAN platform is the ability to serve as a single interface for the operator’s OSS/BSS system. Altiplano’s workflows and tools visualize, automate and optimize the network across different operational deployment models and device implementations.

And for this, intent-based networks are a vital tool. Intent-based networks keep complexity under control by relying on policies, automatically translated to the network, to put it in the desired state. Because Altiplano can manage different protocol implementations and bridge legacy and software-defined networks, it allows operators to provision and troubleshoot networks regardless of the weather predictions, cloudy or not.

Come and talk to us at BBWF 2018 to learn more about how we can help your networks become open for business. In some respects, we’re letting you control the weather, choosing where and when to let the cloud come into your operations. We’re excited about the possibilities this brings our customers (and not just because we’re the only vendor with true unified management).

And when we’ve invented an app that controls the weather for real, we’ll be sure to get excited about that, too.

Share your thoughts on this topic by joining the Twitter discussion with @nokia and @nokianetworks using #SDN #NFV #cloud #broadband

About Filip de Greve

As product marketing manager at Nokia, Filip focuses on new market strategies for innovative copper and fiber based access solutions. He holds a Ph.D. in telecomm and has over 10 years experience in the ICT & telecom industry with broad expertise in hardware, software and services. He loves road cycling and thrives on thinking outside the box to explore new ideas and concepts.

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