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
Light Reading's conference in November will attempt to answer all of the big questions around white box networks. No pressure...
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Close-up on ConfD

10|12|15   |   10.21   |   (0) comments

Tail-f's Renée Robinson-Stromberg tells Steve Saunders about the powerful ConfD management interface.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Women in Comms: Highlights From Dallas

10|12|15   |   2:23   |   (1) comment

The best soundbites, quotes and words of wisdom from leading women from Intel, AT&T, Verizon and Genband at our recent WiC breakfast in Dallas.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
NetNumber Founder on Managing Signaling Control

10|12|15   |   6:36   |   (0) comments

NetNumber Founder and Chief Strategy Officer Doug Ranalli describes the essential complexity of real-world signaling-control and how NetNumber enables carriers to bring signaling-control "under-control". Learn why virtualization alone isn't the answer.
LRTV Documentaries
Verizon Gets Proactive on App Performance

10|12|15   |   04:50   |   (0) comments

SDN is turning traditional service models around to allow Verizon to measure and deliver performance at the application layer. As Shawn Hakl, VP of enterprise networking and managed solutions for Verizon, explains, the carrier had to develop new skill sets and change some of its internal operations, but the payoff was happier enterprise customers.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Tail-f, Cisco & What the Future Holds

10|9|15   |   8:17   |   (0) comments

Steve Saunders meets with Tail-f's Director of Technology, Carl Moberg, in Stockholm to discuss becoming part of Cisco, ETSI MANO, virtualization and the need to combine science and business in order to create opportunities for service providers.
LRTV Interviews
Broadband Forum Embraces SDN & NFV

10|9|15   |   02:42   |   (1) comment

At Gigabit Europe 2015, Robin Mersh and Kevin Foster from the Broadband Forum explain how the industry body is adapting to meet the SDN, NFV and cloud needs of the access network sector.
LRTV Interviews
Top Tips for FTTH Operators

10|8|15   |   02:26   |   (0) comments

At Gigabit Europe 2015, Ventura Team co-founder Richard Jones talks about some of the key business case considerations for FTTH network operators.
LRTV Interviews
M-net Calls for FTTx Unity

10|8|15   |   03:45   |   (0) comments

At the Gigabit Europe event, Jörn Schoof from M-net, the Munich city network operator, calls for industry collaboration on fiber broadband access rollouts.
LRTV Documentaries
The Business Case Challenge for NFV

10|7|15   |   03:47   |   (0) comments

Virtual CPE is one of the early success stories for network functions virtualization, as service providers are finding flexible, programmable CPE solves a lot of logistics problems and reduces their cost. But even here, Masergy Communications faced a business case challenge, says CTO Tim Naramore.
LRTV Interviews
JT Offers Some Gigabit Lessons

10|7|15   |   4:08   |   (1) comment

Barna Kutvolgyi, managing director, Global Consumer, at JT, the incumbent operator on the island of Jersey, talks about how other service providers can learn from his company's gigabit broadband rollout experiences.
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.
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
Network appliances have a strong value proposition in today's networks and will continue to do so in the NFV and SDN-enabled networks of tomorrow.
Hot Topics
Dell Buys EMC for $67B in Biggest Tech Deal Ever
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 10/12/2015
M&A Speculation Swirls Around Juniper
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 10/6/2015
Cord Cutting? 'Fraid so.
Brett Sappington, 10/7/2015
Cisco Makes 'Martian' Connection
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 10/9/2015
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
"What?! I'm on with Finisar about their stock price tanking" Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Think NFV is just about virtualization? Think again!

Network architects are learning that there's a lot more to the technology than first thought – more complexity, that is; but also, more potential benefits.

On May 29th 1 PM ET, Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, will be drilling into the "pains and gains" of NFV with Saar Gillai, SVP & GM, HP Communications Solutions Business at Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) (HP). He has defined a four-step NFV model describing a sequence of technology innovation. It's a must-read doc for any network architect looking to get to grips with their NFV migration strategy. Join us for the interview, and the chance to ask Saar your NFV questions directly!