SDN's adoption in mobile ramping up quickly

editor's corner

Until recently, SDN and virtualization were not seriously considered for use in massive telecom networks, but that is rapidly changing. According to a recent report from Strategy Analytics, operators are virtualizing lower-layer network resources, especially for next generation 4G IMS networks that already separate the data and control planes as SDN does.

"The immediate opportunity is IP routing for virtualized caching and storage followed by shared processing for the radio access network (RAN) and load sharing for mobile backhaul, leading eventually to a virtualized network core," said Sue Rudd, the firm's director of service provider analysis.

SDN is also affording opportunities for additional services that were not previously used in mobile networks. For example, Patrick Ostiguy, president and CEO of Accedian, explained to me that one area his company is targeting is the network state, wherein information gathered from a network is provided to the SDN controller to allow it to repurpose the flow to optimize bandwidth utilization.

Network state information was previously developed for use in data centers but needs to become much more advanced when used with wide-area networks, which must address latency, jitter, packet loss and real-time bandwidth utilization on a broad scale, said Ostiguy.

Accedian is far from alone in envisioning a role for itself in the ongoing adoption of SDN in telecom networks. Check out FierceBroadbandWireless' special feature, which takes a look at some early SDN initiatives and addresses vendors' perspectives as well as efforts to develop SDN specifications and standards.--Tammy

P.S. Do you think SDN is ready for prime time in mobile networks? Vote in the poll on our home page.