19 March 2015 11:36:35 AM
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The next 12 months are shaping-up to be a pivotal year for Software Defined Networking (SDN) as operators make the move from research and lab trials to field trials and implementation in the networks.
This prediction is supported by analyst firm, IDC, which issued a bullish estimate that SDN will be a $3.7 billion market by 2016. This is great news for an industry challenged by ever increasing demands for the fastest possible delivery of data-rich content.
By abstracting control from forwarding, SDN gives network operators more flexible and more responsive central control of traffic through a programmable network, streamlining the operational environment, alleviating the pressures on capex investment while at the same time providing an avenue for new revenue opportunities. The result is an intelligent software-led network that is more efficient at transmitting data. SDN provides a cost-effective way to maximise the current transmission infrastructure of service operators and bridge the gap before the next level of technology transmission becomes available. It also provides a much better way to have the network adapt to the myriad of new applications that are emerging, and to monetize the network in a way that meets the needs of these applications.
An open SDN environment has huge potential for both users and operators. The biggest opportunity is through the rapid enablement of new and innovative products and services. It can drive innovation at an unprecedented pace by enabling the rapid and easy introduction of new functions and applications written by network vendors, third-party developers, and even the operators themselves.
The abstracted programmability enabled by SDN streamlines operations by breaking down “protocol islands” that require dedicated experts, and it greatly expedites provisioning and time-to-revenue.
The wealth of benefits offered by SDN will see it quickly become a core part of the foundation of any efficient, adaptive network. As the growth of data-intensive applications and the emergence of new technologies continue to snowball, fixed and mobile operators will have to find answers to the ever-increasing demand from businesses and consumers.
Building this foundation won’t happen overnight but the sooner operators take the initial steps on the SDN ladder, the more likely they will be able to create more efficient, agile and scalable transport infrastructures that will help them deliver customer service that sets them apart from their competitors.