Light Reading

Ericsson Claims SDN Advantage

Craig Matsumoto
News Analysis
Craig Matsumoto

Just how big a role might Ericsson AB play in the software-defined networking (SDN) revolution? You won't have noticed the Swedish vendor making any SDN acquisitions or declaring any SDN spinoffs, and the company says that's because it's already got more critical pieces collected than its rivals. Funny then, that Ericsson has been comparatively less noisy about SDN than, say, Cisco Systems Inc. or, more recently, Juniper Networks Inc. That's changing, as Ericsson has begun claiming its substantial mobile-network presence as an advantage in the development of SDN -- or of whatever more flexible, more dynamically provisioned type of network emerges from the SDN craze. Next week's Mobile World Congress will be the grand soapbox for Ericsson's newfound SDN preaching, and the company has been busily setting the stage. Last week, Ericsson deluged journalists with MWC announcements, which as a whole skewed towards cloud and network functions virtualization (NFV) capabilities. Now it's getting more specific. On Monday, the company hosted a further pre-MWC briefing that included a declaration of Ericsson's first SDN product: It will add an OpenFlow 1.3 controller to the SSR 8000 router in the fourth quarter of 2013. It's easy to think of Ericsson as an SDN player, says Brad Casemore, an analyst with IDC. "It's a question of whether they want to productize it," Casemore says. "I know they've been tinkering with it for a long time." Radio days
The important points about SDN and its potential go beyond OpenFlow, covering an end-to-end network view that requires knowledge of the radio network, Ericsson officials argue. That's because a lot of what's being talked about in SDN -- including the ability to quickly provision network services and move network connections -- has already been accomplished, at scale, in the mobile network, says Erik Ekkuden, Ericsson's head of technology strategies. "Yes, we have to change everything in the network, but we do that all the time. If you look at the speed of modernizing mobile networks, if you look at the speed of cloud -- the speed is already there. So if you just take that speed that we are used to every day, we are taking that into the [fixed] network," he says. To put it another way, he says Ericsson is already adept with the mobile network and the cloud -- the two sides that are pushing the need for SDN in service-provider networks. What's needed, then, is a service-provider SDN (the catchphrase Ericsson will be repeating throughout MWC) in between the two. Like a lot of players, Ericsson thinks SDN has to be considered as a network-wide architecture -- with the difference that Ericsson is big in the radio access network. Others "are talking about the need for a holistic view, but they're not using all the parts of the network that are already in place," Ekkuden says. "When you do this from the data center all across the network, [through the] radio domain, transport domain, the IP edge, all the way to the data center, that's when you get the value. The value is not really in the data center," he says. For more

— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading
(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Craig Matsumoto
Craig Matsumoto,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/24/2013 | 6:18:51 PM
re: Ericsson Claims SDN Advantage
-áBjarne, good points. I hadn't heard Ulf's comments specifically, but I would presume Erik's statements are now the more formal position. (Or maybe it's that Erik, based in Silicon Valley, sees the world a little differently from the rest of Ericsson...?)

Anyway, it's pretty clear Ericsson is aware that others have grabbed all the SDN headlines and wants to make a splash of its own.-á I'll find out more on Monday morning at MWC.

I do think Erik has a point about presence in the mobile network, and about the way the mobile network reacts dynamically in ways SDN aspires to. How much that adds up to, we'll have to find out over time -- as you noted, it's going to take a while for product releases, but i'd imagine some of the groundwork could start getting laid this year.-á

(btw - I'd have replied earlier but was technically on vacation and didn't monitor comments at LR.-á Thanks again for the input - good perspective there.)
User Rank: Light Beer
2/20/2013 | 8:08:31 PM
re: Ericsson Claims SDN Advantage
Craig thanks for the article, but as a Nordic service provider, I challenge this 100%! Ericsson thus far has architectural conceptual thinking with nothing implemented! They promised to -á have something live sometime in Q1 2014 at best!. How can they be a leader on something they have not launched or know little about? Their CTO Ulf Edwaldsson has publicly discounted SDN, Virtual EPC and virtualization, claiming nothing will happen for 5 or more years, which contradicts what Erik Ekkuden is claiming. Whom are we supposed to believe? Meanwhile smaller nimble players in the US and here in the EU are running key trials with Tier 1 service providers. If you see the data produced by ABI Research and others benchmarking the key infrastructure providers, Ericsson does not rank at all for innovation in this area, having attended SDN centric events, addressing questions to the Ericsson attendees has not made me feel too comfortable as a client, considering their low level of understanding nor strategy going forward on this area, sorry to be critical but you can-¦t play the "We are Ericsson" card and "We know it all on this area" Giving them the benefit of the doubt and for the sake of our-áScandinavian companies-áit would be nice to be pleasantly surprised next year TBD?. In the mean time the messaging we as customers see and expect from them is futures and pure slide-ware nothing else.
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
From The Founder
The comms industry is rallying to the cause of open, independent interoperability testing.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Interviews
AT&T's Chiosi on the Potential of Open Source

10|6|15   |   06:27   |   (0) comments

AT&T Distinguished Network Architect Margaret T. Chiosi talks to Light Reading's Carol Wilson about the potential for open source technology to liberate communications service providers.
LRTV Interviews
Network Security in a Gigabit World

10|6|15   |   05:52   |   (0) comments

Masergy's James Harrison talks about some of the network security and data center issues network operators need to consider as they expand their broadband services portfolios.
LRTV Documentaries
Telefónica: In Search of Virtual Simplicity

10|5|15   |   07:30   |   (0) comments

Francisco-Javier Ramon Salguero, head of Telefónica's NFV initiative, admits virtualization initially means greater complexity, but with the right abstraction layer, it is possible to create a services-driven network architecture. He explains how Telefónica's current trials and initiatives are aimed at doing that, and what his company and other carriers need to ...
LRTV Interviews
Gigabit Europe Takeaways

10|5|15   |   03:47   |   (0) comments

Participants from the inaugural Gigabit Europe event in Munich share their key takeaways from the conference.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Intel Urges Women to Take Advantage of Their Seat at the Table

10|5|15   |   4:27   |   (1) comment

Have inclusive and constructive conversations, attach a bigger meaning to your work and get involved in the cause, Intel's Monique Hayward advises women in comms.
LRTV Interviews
BT Updates on Plans

10|2|15   |   03:16   |   (2) comments

Peter Bell, CIO at Openreach, the access network division at UK incumbent BT, provides an update on the operator's trials and how Openreach is planning to deploy the broadband technology in its street cabinets.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Sonus Shakes Up SD-WAN

10|2|15   |   7:22   |   (0) comments

Sonus CTO Kevin Riley sat down with Light Reading to discuss the trajectory of the company, its SDN ambitions and why Sonus is taking a market-disruptive approve to SD-WAN.
LRTV Interviews
CityFibre's Gigabit Vision

10|1|15   |   03:18   |   (1) comment

Mark Collins, director of Strategy & Public Affairs at competitive UK city network operator CityFibre, talks about his company's plans to help build Gigabit Cities.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Automate, Scale & Create With Juniper's vCPE Solution

10|1|15   |   6:34   |   (0) comments

Join Kireeti Kompella, Juniper Networks CTO, and Steve Saunders, Light Reading Founder and CEO, as they discuss Juniper Networks' approach to NFV showcased with a turnkey vCPE solution, which demonstrates how service providers can use automation to rapidly deploy services.
LRTV Interviews
Gigabit Europe: Day 1 Takeaways

9|29|15   |   05:47   |   (5) comments

Light Reading's Ray Le Maistre and Iain Morris sup a beer and discuss some of the key takeaways from the first day of Gigabit Europe 2015.
LRTV Interviews
Gigabit in Europe

9|29|15   |   04:24   |   (0) comments

At the Gigabit Europe 2015 event in Munich, Heavy Reading's Graham Finnie talks about the availability of gigabit broadband in Europe.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
AT&T's Band of Women

9|28|15   |   4:36   |   (0) comments

Brooks McCorcle, the president of AT&T's partner solutions divisions and a mathematician by trade, shares stats on AT&T's diversity and advice on how to create your own band of women at work.
Upcoming Live Events
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Communication service providers realize that an ICT transformation is critical to their long-term survival, but most haven't yet committed to making it happen.
Hot Topics
Google Gives Huawei a US Device Boost
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 9/29/2015
Verizon's Go90 Is Live – Will Anyone Watch?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 10/1/2015
Eurobites: Dunroamin'
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 10/2/2015
Good News for NFV Interoperability
Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 9/29/2015
TiVo Takes Aim With Bolt
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 9/30/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
With so many new and exciting communications technologies now under development, it's easy to get caught up in the industry's escalating hype cycle. That's why the ...
Last week saw a big day in the 15-year history of Light Reading when Editor-in-Chief Ray Le Maistre and I were invited to interview the Deputy Chairman and Rotating ...
Cats with Phones
Hold My Calls, Indefinitely Click Here