Light Reading

SDN Can Close Backhaul Spending Gap

Carol Wilson
Repost This

Six months after raising an alarm about a growing gap in mobile backhaul investment, Tellabs and research partner Strategy Analytics are back to share the brighter side of the story: how software-defined networking (SDN) can cut that gap by almost half, saving carriers $4 billion by 2017. (See Tellabs IDs 4G Bottleneck.)

The idea is to quantify how SDN can help save money and thus spur its more rapid adoption, says Stuart Bennington, Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA) director of global portfolio planning. But, he adds, the assumptions in the Strategy Analytics Inc. study are "conservative" -- mobile operators don't have to be overly aggressive in their SDN efforts to benefit; they just need to get moving. (See Tellabs-Backed Study Pins SDN Savings at $4B.)

"Different operators are at different points in their deployment process where SDN is concerned," Bennington says. "Some are starting to get aggressive, participating in proof-of-concept trials and realizing they need to do something, but they are less sure about the timing. Still others know it is coming at some point but aren't necessarily sure how to approach it. We believe we need to help them raise their urgency level."

Rather than get bogged down in the hype, service providers need to keep their eyes on the very real prize of cost savings for a part of their network that is rapidly growing: mobile backhaul. The Strategy Analytics study spells out five specific applications of SDN and says what each will save over the next four years.

  • Cloud-RAN "fronthaul": Upwards of $777 million could be saved using remote radio heads and antennas remotely linked to base stations via fiber or gigabit microwave to enable traffic to burst at higher or lower speeds on a dynamic basis across Cloud RAN bandwidth.

  • Small cells: Around $202 million could be saved by managing small cells as logical clusters that can be powered up or down as needed, backhauling traffic over chosen access paths depending on different factors such as time of day or other congestion issues.

  • Metro aggregation/Load redistribution: More than $1.1 billion could be saving using SDN to control congestion in the aggregation network and improve performance by redirecting traffic dynamically based on end-to-end delivery requirements.

  • Local breakout/Internet Exchange Points (IXP): Almost $1.1 billion could be saved using "local breakout" of some kinds of mobile broadband traffic to offload traffic to the Internet at the edge of the wireless network thus reducing what is backhauled. By routing traffic based on its type and revenue contribution at the edge of the network and across IXPs, mobile operators can also improve delivery and session management.

  • WiFi offload/Video redirect: Just over $1 billion can be saved using dynamic offload from mobile broadband to fixed WiFi, based on the user or the specific application.

Bennington concedes that the $4 billion in savings is less than half of the $9.2 billion funding gap identified by the earlier study.

"That will have to be addressed by other means," he says. But SDN deployment also has the potential to reduce operating expenses and those opex reductions can flow to other investment buckets, such as the greater capex needed to close the backhaul gap.

As a vendor of SDN equipment, Tellabs would, of course, benefit from faster deployment. Bennington says the greater benefit to his firm and others would be from a healthier telecom sector, something Tellabs thinks SDN will enable. (See Tellabs Boasts SDN 'Engagements'.)

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Light Beer
9/21/2013 | 1:43:06 PM
Data Analytics at play
SDN or present legacy solutions, the bottomline is that all such opex/capex savings could only be achieved as a direct impact of data analytics. SDN ican alleviate Backhaul spending only by exploiting the same.
Carol Wilson
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
8/29/2013 | 12:17:52 PM
Devil will be in the details
The links contained within the story go to the executive summary from Strategic Analytics. I think it's a good idea to try to quantify savings, but I'm curious if anyone thinks it's entirely possible and whether these figures stand to convince any carrier to move more quickly. 
Flash Poll
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Eyes Big Technology Shifts

4|16|14   |   03:02   |   (4) comments

US cable engineers are facing a lot of heavy lifting in the coming years, notes Light Reading Cable/Video Practice Leader Alan Breznick.
LRTV Custom TV
Maximizing Customer Experience & Assuring Service Delivery in an IP World

4|15|14   |   4:57   |   (0) comments

Steven Shalita, VP of Marketing, NetScout Systems, Inc., discusses the challenges cable/MSO operators face in assuring the delivery of new IP-based services. Key points include the value of proactively managing performance, and using rich analytics and operational intelligence to better understand service and usage trends, make smarter business decisions and ...
LRTV Documentaries
Bye-Bye DVD: Consumers Embrace Digital Video

4|10|14   |   04:17   |   (7) comments

Veteran video analyst Colin Dixon, founder and principal analyst of nScreenMedia, says research shows 56% are using digital video already.
LRTV Documentaries
Video: TW Cable Puts Multicast Gateways to the Test

4|8|14   |   04:13   |   (1) comment

Tom Gonder, a chief architect at Time Warner Cable, explains how its trial of multicast gateways is impacting IP-based video plans.
LRTV Custom TV
Managing & Monetizing Big Data in Operator Environments

4|7|14   |     |   (1) comment

At Mobile World Congress, Gigamon's Director of Service Provider Solutions, Andy Huckridge, and Heavy Reading Analyst Sarah Wallace discuss the 'big data' issues facing carriers and operators today.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Data Center Energy – Build Your Data Center in a Modular Way

4|7|14   |   2:13   |   (0) comments

Dr. Fang Liangzhou, VP Network Energy Product Line, shared his thoughts about the challenges for data centers during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Agile Network Solution – An Overview of Huawei's Agile Network Solution

4|7|14   |   2:31   |   (0) comments

Ajay Gupta, Director of Product Marketing, Networking Product Line, gives an overview of the Agile Network Solutions during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s eLTE Voice Trunking, Video and Data Applied for Railways

4|7|14   |   1:38   |   (0) comments

Gottfried Winter is the Sales Director at Funkwerk, a German specialist in GSM-r terminals and a long-time partner of Huawei. At CeBIT 2014, Winter talks to Light Reading about this partnership and the integration of enhanced voice trunking, video and data functions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
LeaseWeb Speaks Highly of Huawei's Datacenter Products

4|7|14   |   1:37   |   (0) comments

Rene Olde Olthof, Operations Director LeaseWeb, talks about the next data center transformation during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Documentaries
Comcast: Reshaping the Cable Network Architecture

4|3|14   |   07:11   |   (8) comments

Shamim Akhtar, Comcast's architect and senior director of network strategy, explains why the cable company is moving to a more distributed network architecture.
LRTV Custom TV
VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger at Mobile World Congress

4|1|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments

VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger speaks to Heavy Reading about the value of virtualization spanning from the data center to service provider networks to mobile devices.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Analysts' Impressions of Huawei SoftCOM at ONS 2014

4|1|14   |   1:11   |   (0) comments

After visiting the Huawei booth at ONS, Lee Doyle of Doyle Research gives his appraisal of Huawei's SoftCOM solution.
Hot Topics
BlackBerry Invests in Healthcare IT Startup
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/15/2014
Volvo: AT&T HSPA+ Can Drive My Car
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/16/2014
T-Mobile Petitions Operators to Kill Overages
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/14/2014
Cisco & VMware Are Apple & Google of SDN
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 4/14/2014
Mobile Apps Susceptible to Heartbleed, Too
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/14/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed