Light Reading

Huawei Unfolds SDN Roadmap

Ray Le Maistre

Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. outlined its "SoftCOM" software-defined networking (SDN) strategy to industry analysts and media in London late Thursday, giving some insight into where the Chinese vendor believes it can add value to network operators' next-generation infrastructure strategies.

This wasn't the first outing for SoftCOM: It made an appearance on the Huawei stand at the Broadband World Forum show in Amsterdam last October for anyone peering closely at the small print (like us…). (See SoftCOM: Huawei's Take on SDN.)

While the London presentation didn't deliver anything strange or startling -- Huawei's approach follows the same basic principles as any technology equipment company wanting a piece of the SDN action -- it did provide a broader picture of Huawei's aims and identify particular areas of attention for the vendor's SDN-focused R&D team.

It also introduced some new terminology that, hopefully, won't make it any further than this week's marketing materials -- "cloudlization" (and that is the correct spelling) should be filed under "end of line" as quickly as possible, where it should be joined by its close (but distinct) relative "cloudization."

Away from the nomenclature, here are the highlights of Huawei's approach.

The overall picture is a familiar one: Current communications architectures are "closed, complicated and controlling" and need to be "open, simplified and enabling."

This latter state, in Huawei's view (and in tune with others in the industry), can be achieved through the use of:

  • SDN technologies (separate control and data planes)
  • The virtualization of network elements, such as session border controllers (SBCs)
  • Hosted OSS and BSS functions within a cloud services-enabled telecom data center
  • The mass deployment of cloud services -- Infrastructure–as-a-service, Platform–as-a-service and Software–as-a-service.

The vendor also envisages a network architecture that would distribute cloud/hosting capabilities across the network -- at edge aggregation points and in metro nodes as well as in regional and national data centers. That same vision was also shared by Ericsson AB earlier this week. (See Ericsson Gets Trendy for MWC.)

All of this functionality would, in theory, minimize capex, reduce operational complexity, increase efficiency and flexibility, vastly improve time-to-market for new services/applications and, with additional intelligence and insight from the use of "Big Data" business intelligence techniques, improve customer experience levels.

"It's comprehensive but it's a vision statement -- there's a lot of detail that needs to be filled in," notes Heavy Reading Chief Analyst Graham Finnie, who attended the presentation. "It's pretty much what you'd expect from a large vendor such as Huawei."

What particularly caught Finnie's eye were Huawei's initial areas of R&D focus. It is developing SDN tools that can be deployed in an IP radio access network (IP RAN) architecture. It's also building network functions virtualization (NFV) capabilities for the multiple elements -- home subscriber server (HSS), the serving and packet data network (PDN) gateways and the mobility management entity (MME) -- that comprise the 4G evolved packet core (EPC). Other network elements that will get the NFV treatment in Huawei's R&D labs include the SBC and various IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) functions.

Huawei expects to engage in commercial trials in 2014 and achieve commercial deployment in 2015. By that time, hopefully, "cloudlization" will be just a distant memory.

In the meantime, Huawei will be talking more about SoftCOM during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where SDN, NFV and all manner of Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) developments will be in the spotlight.

In addition, you can get a more in-depth Huawei take on its SoftCOM approach by checking out this video: Huawei SoftCOM: Reshaping the Future of Network Architecture.

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
From The Founder
Steve Saunders provides an overview of white box networking and introduces a new "slim line" version of the OSI 7-layer model.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Between the CEOs
Centec on Ethernet Switching

11|26|15   |   09:58   |   (0) comments

Centec CEO James Sun talks to Steve Saunders about Ethernet switching and the white box revolution.
LRTV Custom TV
Delivering Service Agility in the Virtualization Era

11|25|15   |   5.41   |   (0) comments

Interview with Massimo Fatato, WW OSS Business Lead, Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
Wagner’s Ring
How Might Open Source Fail?

11|24|15   |     |   (10) comments

Open source, SDN, and NFV are looking inevitable – but performance, standards proliferation and regulatory capture could derail the movement.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Lifecycle Orchestration – a Fresh Vision for Telco

11|23|15   |   6.40   |   (0) comments

Simon Osborne, CTO Comptel, and Heavy Reading's Caroline Chappell reveal the business impacts of new SDN and NFV, and what the term service orchestration actually means. Together they define Lifecycle Service Orchestration and how the virtualized future will look for telecoms operators.
Between the CEOs
Cisco's Virtual Role in Saudi

11|20|15   |   12:15   |   (2) comments

Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders talks with Zayan Sadek, Regional Manager at Cisco Systems, about the competitive communications services market and advance of virtualization in Saudi Arabia.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Leads With Kubernetes for Cloud PaaS

11|19|15   |   08:26   |   (0) comments

Huawei is looking to Kubernetes as a key tool for building robust open source technologies for customers and partners, said Ying Xiong, chief architect of cloud platform at Huawei, in an interview with Light Reading West Coast Bureau Chief Mitch Wagner at the recent Kubecon conference.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
WiC in London: The Highlight Reel

11|19|15   |   5:33   |   (1) comment

NetCracker's Mervat El Dabae headlines an inspiring morning in London with help from leading women from Vodafone, TalkTalk, Hyperoptics and Ciena.
LRTV Documentaries
Why Saudi's So Hot for New Tech

11|19|15   |   05:07   |   (0) comments

Light Reading's Steve Saunders reports from Saudi Arabia, a hyper-competitive market desperate to embrace the next generation of communications technologies and services.
LRTV Custom TV
Why Data Models Deliver More Value Than Information Models

11|19|15   |   5.08   |   (0) comments

Stefan Vallin argues that more automation is needed to manage end-to-end services and the hybrid networks they run on, and that data models are key to achieving this.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
SDN Management & Orchestration in the WAN

11|17|15   |   7.20   |   (0) comments

Carol Wilson and Packet Design CTO Cengiz Alaettinoglu discuss CSPs' SDN service delivery and assurance requirements. Learn about a modular approach to building automated control, orchestration and management functions for the WAN that are policy- and analytics-driven.
LRTV Custom TV
Flash Networks: Optimizing for Radio Spectral Efficiency

11|17|15   |   3:34   |   (0) comments

Today most optimization vendors only focus on optimizing voice or data. Ofer Gottfried, Flash Networks' CTO, shows how improving data throughput and maximizing spectral efficiency reduces capital and operating expenses while also providing a platform for user engagement.
LRTV Custom TV
Making Pay-TV User Experiences Millennial-Friendly

11|16|15   |   6:42   |   (0) comments

The unique challenge of reaching and engaging Millennials is driving pay-TV video experience transformation that can include higher quality UIs, viewing of multiple content streams at once and seamless transitions between handheld devices and the television.
Allot MobileTrends Report H2/2015 reveals how daily online behavior can be used to discover smarter ways to profile customers and propose valuable, real-time offers to them.
Hot Topics
Samsung to Sell Wireless Networking Unit?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/23/2015
Samsung: No Sale of Wireless Unit
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/25/2015
How Might Open Source Fail?
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 11/24/2015
Sprint to Get $1.2B From New Leasing Venture
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/23/2015
Networking Shines in HP's Gloomy Final Earnings
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 11/25/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
December 15, 2015
Virtualizing Cable Services
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Centec CEO James Sun talks to Steve Saunders about Ethernet switching and the white box revolution.
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders talks with Zayan Sadek, Regional Manager at Cisco Systems, about the competitive communications services market and advance of virtualization in Saudi Arabia.
Cats with Phones
Can't Find the Phone on Thanksgiving? Click Here
Check under the cat! (hint: bottom right)
Live Digital Audio

Broadband speeds are ramping up across Europe as the continent, at its own pace, follows North America towards a gigabit society. But there are many steps to take on the road to gigabit broadband availability and a number of technology options that can meet the various requirements of Europe’s high-speed fixed broadband network operators. During this radio show we will look at some of the catalysts for broadband network investments and examine the menu of technology options on offer, including vectoring and for copper plant evolution and the various deployment possibilities for FTTH/B.