& cplSiteName &

Inside CenturyLink's NFV/SDN Strategy

Carol Wilson
4/22/2014
100%
0%

CenturyLink is looking to balance substantial promised benefits against real challenges as it explores its options for SDN and NFV.

The number three US telecom operator is taking an aggressive but practical approach. At least that's the vision put forth by James Feger, VP of network strategy and development. Feger helped launch CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL)'s dive into virtualization in late 2012 by creating a small team within his staff that worked on SDN and NFV concepts.

"Now we're at the point where any network function we look at adding to the network, our first goal is to find out can we run this as a virtual function," says Feger, who will be a keynote presenter at June's Big Telecom Event, discussing CenturyLink's innovation in this area.

CenturyLink's James Feger

Making the leap in 18 months from initial exploration to actual deployment followed two early successes. CenturyLink first deployed a virtual firewall product. Then the company deployed a virtual content delivery network (CDN) for its internal use, to distribute video for IPTV deployments and video-on-demand services. In each of those cases, the carrier had a fallback position if the virtual approach failed to meet expectations, Feger points out.

"We could always go back to an appliance approach to offering managed firewall services and to a more traditional CDN," he says. "That was why we thought we could take a bit of a risk to be early adopters."

CenturyLink is looking to participate in early demonstrations of virtualization -- such as the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) NFV Industry Specification Group's proofs of concept -- based on immediate product-related needs, not theoretical deployments.

"We believe that we as a company, we are going toward more managed services," Feger explains. "So when we were looking for things to demonstrate, we do have a few items to solve internally such as the next generation sets of firewall capabilities, security services, and encryption services. For things such as AAA or DNS infrastructure -- we want those virtualized, but for us that is a different level of priority."

Next page: CenturyLink's transition strategy

(5)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Carol Wilson
50%
50%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
5/5/2014 | 9:55:37 AM
Re: Cloud will envelop the edge
"Google Fiber has already demonstrated it can profitably price at $0.00001 in the MAN" -- I'm curious what this figure is based on. Is this based on what Google is charging in KC or Utah? 

 
Infostack
50%
50%
Infostack,
User Rank: Moderator
5/5/2014 | 9:43:07 AM
Cloud will envelop the edge
This is just the beginning of a fundamental restructuring of the telcos; all of whom are just balkanized islands at the edge of the core dominated by Google, FB, Amazon, et al... The restructuring will mirror what IBM underwent in the early 1990s as the Wintel model disrupted the centralized mainframe processing model held hostage by inefficient connectivity. Ironically a "reverse" situation than what we see at present where the core is significantly scaled and cheaper than the edge.

The edge providers are sitting on business models that still charge $0.001 to terminate the equivalent of a voice minute in the MAN (much, much more for wireless access), whereas the core WAN's economic rate is $0.0000004 and declining 20-40% annually. Bringing WAN-side scale to the edge and a focus on driving marginal cost down at every layer and boundary point (both capex and opex) Google Fiber has already demonstrated it can profitably price at $0.00001 in the MAN, and they have yet to scale the model to wireless offload and backhaul, SMB and the big kahuna, enterprise managed services.  (The latter will actually pay for a lot of edge investment.  A last mile 800 model.) So MAN costs can shift an additional 1-2 decimal places to the right as the scale economies of the cloud are driven to the edge.
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
4/23/2014 | 2:57:39 PM
The final bit
The final bit is the real benefit of SDN and NFV: Allowing carriers to create networks that are so flexible that customers can configure their own virtual networks on the fly, without human intervention. That will result in increased demand and revenue for carriers. Other benefits for SDN/NFV are cost savings, which are terrific, but do't grow the business. 
jabailo
50%
50%
jabailo,
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/23/2014 | 1:29:19 PM
Re: Realistic and intriguing
Sure, I imagine the costs for SDN setup are a tiny fraction of buying and installing hardware.  It makes sense to do it even it fails entirely.

And if it does work, then think of all the instant optimizations you can experiment with which would otherwise require new purchases, equipment updates and so on.

It's hard to even imagine going back to hardware if it at all works.
Ray@LR
50%
50%
Ray@LR,
User Rank: Blogger
4/23/2014 | 8:24:37 AM
Realistic and intriguing
THis all makes a lot of sense and, I imagine, it's in line with what alot of operators are doing -- being cautious but explorative, figuring out what is going to work and having a rewind button/backup plan. 

Great feature.
Light Readingís Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
LIVE NOW!
Friday, December 2, 1:00PM EST
The SDN Approach to IP & Optical Integration
Sterling Perrin, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading
UPCOMING COURSE SCHEDULE
Friday, December 2, 1:00PM EST
The SDN Approach to IP & Optical Integration
Sterling Perrin, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Korn Ferry Consultant: How to Find, Cultivate & Be the Best Talent

11|30|16   |   4:10   |   (1) comment


Erin Callaghan, a managing consultant for Korn Ferry Futurestep, shares strategies for companies to improve how they recruit and for women to ensure they don't get lost in the pipeline.
LRTV Custom TV
We Can Make the World More Sustainable

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


GeSI is a global e-Sustainability Initiative organization bringing together 40 big multinational companies around the world. According to GeSI's report, information and communication technology can make the world more sustainable. Luis Neves, chairman of GeSI, shared with us his opinion at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
Finding a New Way to Engage Customers & Drive Revenue

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Mobile revenues are declining. Digicel, a player in the Caribbean telecommunications/entertainment space, has found a new way to engage customers and drive revenue. John Quinn, CTO of Digicel, shared with us its story at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016)
LRTV Custom TV
Do You Really Need Gigabit Infrastructure?

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Altibox is the biggest fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) player and the largest provider of video and TV in Norway. They started out with zero customers in 2002. Now they have close to half a million households and companies attached to their FTTH business. Nils Arne, CEO of Altibox shared with us their story and insight on 5G at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
BTís Openreach Strategy & Its Updates in 2016

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


A lot of developments at Openreach this year in terms of strategy and planned investments. Peter Bell, CIO of Openreach BT, shared with us the updates of Openreach at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
ITU: The Broadband Is Our Future

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


At Ultra-broadband Forum, Houlin Zhao, Secretary General of ITU, discussed how important it is for countries, companies and everybody to be working together to help to build the broadband and digital economies (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
Tackling 5G in Dallas

11|28|16   |     |   (0) comments


Here are our highlights of the 5G North America show in Dallas, Texas with Light Reading's Dan Jones.
LRTV Interviews
Cox Prepping for Virtualization Trials

11|14|16   |     |   (0) comments


In this video interview, Cox's Jeff Finkelstein discusses MSO's plans to test managed business services in early 2017 and tackle Distributed Access Architectures.
LRTV Custom TV
Drivers & Potential of NGP

11|11|16   |     |   (0) comments


ETSI has created an Industry Specification Group to work on Next Generation Protocols (NGP ISG), looking at evolving communications and networking protocols to provide the scale, security, mobility and ease of deployment required for the connected society of the 21st century. The NGP ISG will identify the requirements for next generation protocols and network ...
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei IP 2020 for Future Networks

11|11|16   |     |   (0) comments


Future Networks should satisfy many requirements such as high throughput, extremely low latency, flexible mobility, intrinsic security, networking automation, and so forth. The Chief Architect of Huawei Future Networks addresses a holistic solution, i.e., IP 2020, to achieve these requirements for various future life scenarios (e.g., autonomous driving, tactile ...
LRTV Custom TV
Digital Object Architecture

11|11|16   |     |   (0) comments


Digital Object Architecture provides a basic information infrastructure that can facilitate interoperability between or among different systems, processes, and other information resources, including different identity management systems. Digital objects are networked objects that are named by digital object identifiers and instantiated by an infrastructure service ...
LRTV Custom TV
BT's Openreach Has High Hopes for Long-Reach VDSL

11|11|16   |   06:04   |   (0) comments


Peter Bell, Network Portfolio CIO at BT's access business Openreach, talks about the operator's trial of a new broadband access technology called Long Reach VDSL.
Upcoming Live Events
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
AT&T Debuts DirecTV Now on New Video Platform
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 11/28/2016
Apple Seeds 5G? Seeks 'Multi-Gigabit' Chip Designer
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/30/2016
Altice Plans FTTH for Entire US Footprint
Iain Morris, News Editor, 11/30/2016
Altice FTTH Bill Could Hit Almost $9.6B in US
Iain Morris, News Editor, 12/1/2016
Samsung Bows to Investors, Considers Revamp
Iain Morris, News Editor, 11/29/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Live Digital Audio

Even when there's a strong pipeline of female talent in the comms industry, it tends to leak all the way to the top. McKinsey & Company says women experience pipeline leakage at three primary points: being unable to enter, being stuck in the middle or being locked out of the top. Each pipeline pain point presents its own challenges, but also opportunities to stop the leak. Wireless operator Sprint is making a conscious effort to improve its own pipeline from new recruits to the C-suite, and it wants the rest of the industry to do the same. In this Women in Comms radio show, WiC Board Member and Sprint Vice President of Enterprise Sales Nelly Pitocco will give us her take on the industry's pipeline challenges. Pitocco, who joined Sprint in May and has spent 20 years in the comms industry, will also offer solutions, share how Sprint is tackling the challenge within its own organization and take your questions live on air.