Light Reading

SDN: Secret Sauce to the Internet of Things

Dan Pitt
Column
Dan Pitt
9/4/2014
50%
50%

The technology industry has been all a-buzz with the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT). This growing category refers to an ecosystem of connected devices and services ranging from smart cars, connected appliances, healthcare services and monitors, wearables, and connected cities, among many other "things."

Do you think this is the stuff of only the future? Reports from Cisco estimated that there were 8.7 billion connected devices in 2012, with some 50 billion devices expected to connect to the Internet by 2020. That's a sobering number for network operators -- the arrival of more connected devices and growing customer expectations for connectivity will directly affect them.

As the breadth of connected devices continues to expand, connected services are also emerging, taking a toll on limited network capacity. Networks are facing a tipping point with the growth of mobile data and need to simultaneously operate over multiple wireless technologies. It is unclear what the economic impact will be to the networks, but it is clear that they will grow and become more complex. One characteristic of many of the devices is that they are extremely power-limited and cost-sensitive. Another is that when they govern industrial processes their communications are extremely time-sensitive. Therefore their communication protocols and technologies might have to be quite specific to their application environment and their priorities and Quality of Service (QoS) need to be maintained across multi-application networks. And while their individual traffic rates might be small, the sheer number of devices means that the volume of aggregated traffic will be large. Thus the rise of IoT means that networks will inevitably be handling an influx in big data and an increase in network traffic. Not properly prepared to handle this increase in activity, networks could become paralyzed.

What can network operators do now to prepare for IoT and avoid crippling their networks with the increased traffic? IoT will require networks to become more agile to accommodate the increased amount of transmitted data along with the expansion of connected devices. In looking ahead to what is in store for networks and IoT, SDN is a viable solution to manage the increased traffic and its QoS.

As a network architecture, SDN allows for network control to be decoupled from the forwarding plane and the forwarding plane to be directly programmable by the control plane. The power-limited and cost-limited nature of many of the devices in the IoT makes them ideal candidates to be optimized solely for their application and basic forwarding, not for network control. Mobile networks are strong candidates for SDN implementation as they already maintain a separation of the control and data planes. With SDN, enterprises and carriers gain vendor-independent control over the entire network from a single logical point, which greatly simplifies network design and operation. SDN allows IT to leverage the simplified network design to deploy new services in a matter of hours or days, not weeks or months, and create new services for differentiation. SDN provides a flexible tool to improve the management of the networks. These network functions can now be implemented in software processes that operators can control centrally and provision automatically with orchestration tools. In effect, these SDN-based processes constitute the network's "brain," which can communicate to the "body" (switches, routers, gateways, etc.) in an automatic, open, and programmable way.

Another element in changing networks is NFV, a complementary technology to SDN. NFV allows operators to architect networks by evolving standard IT virtualization technology to consolidate network equipment types into industry standard, high-volume servers, switches, and storage located in data center, network node and end-user premises. NFV provides the flexibility needed to quickly and easily integrate new services at various locations without the need for new equipment. Combining NFV and SDN also opens the door for new revenue by enabling carriers to introduce new services quickly and to capitalize on excess network capacity (even momentarily) to offer ad-hoc, on-demand services. The IoT will benefit by slotting right into a wider network already managed by SDN and NFV and thus will be more easily adopted with high efficiency.

The inefficient stiffness of traditional architectures is proving to be dated and obsolete. SDN is introducing a practical, scalable and efficient way to leverage network infrastructure and technology communications. With current networking technologies, each network device must be configured to handle maximum traffic, though it is unlikely every network element will experience maximum traffic at the same time. When we look at the IoT revolution, SDN offers promise by providing the opportunity to control networks according to the needs of each organization, each subnetwork, each type of "thing," each application.

To accommodate the arrival of IoT, networks need an architecture that can cost-effectively scale services using software while also eliminating the need for large investments in proprietary hardware platforms. The new wave of connected devices and services will all be shared on the same -- often-congested -- networks as current PCs, tablets, smartphones, and video sources and sinks. The coming of age of new devices and services means that these networks will have to be optimized to handle what is being asked of them, dynamically and often on short notice.

While many are excited for the truly connected lifestyle, for the industrial Internet, and for IoT to come to fruition, network operators are scrambling to adopt SDN to best handle what is on the horizon.

— Dan Pitt, Executive Director, Open Networking Foundation

(4)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
SachinEE
50%
50%
SachinEE,
User Rank: Light Sabre
9/8/2014 | 2:47:52 PM
Re: Throttling your IoT toaster...
An internet toaster is a funny thing, but it is not impractical, just as most of the home automation isn't. IOT is not needed in the truest sense, but if it stays, it would make living a lot easier. Just think about all the possibilities of IOT in healthcare and industries.
SachinEE
50%
50%
SachinEE,
User Rank: Light Sabre
9/8/2014 | 2:45:51 PM
Re: Throttling your IoT toaster...
"While I see SDN as a way to optimize networks, there are providers optimizing networks in a different way – by blocking traffic that they don't think is a revenue stream."

I think what makes a good marketing strategy, both technology wise and market wise, is realizing what do we exchange here, and that is data. Data is sensitive and has to have different marketing policies than conventional products. Optimizing IOT networks too, smililarly, are in a state of constant upgradatation and scratchy ideas. While some vendors approach it differently, others have a more fluid, low-latency approach, which also ensures a lesser device grid.
danielcawrey
50%
50%
danielcawrey,
User Rank: Light Sabre
9/4/2014 | 11:33:20 PM
Re: Throttling your IoT toaster...
Yes, I agree with that. While I see SDN as a way to optimize networks, there are providers optimizing networks in a different way – by blocking traffic that they don't think is a revenue stream. 
mhhf1ve
50%
50%
mhhf1ve,
User Rank: Light Sabre
9/4/2014 | 7:05:02 PM
Throttling your IoT toaster...
I'm just waiting to see how NetNeutrality will impact the ability for a silly internet-enabled toaster (or refrigerator or washing machine...) to stream its useless data. :P

 
More Blogs from Column
In the second part of a two-part series, Paul Robinson explains why the move to live IP production is an opportunity to significantly change the viewing experience, and more importantly, open up new revenue and business opportunities.
One thing is certain: the coming technology changes will affect everyone to varying degrees, including content providers, service providers and equipment makers.
It's time for our industry to call BS on the US government's position on Chinese telco manufacturers.
There are important considerations for companies to keep in mind when moving Domain Name System (DNS) infrastructure to an NFV implementation.
The lies, damned lies and statistics of real open access network operations.
From The Founder
Light Reading sits down at CES with the head of Cisco's service provider video business, Conrad Clemson, to discuss how NFV and cloud security relate to video, the challenge of managing 4K/8K traffic, the global expansion of Netflix and virtual reality.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Custom TV
Hosting in Ireland, Past & Present

2|10|16   |   16:07   |   (0) comments


Garry Connolly, president of Host in Ireland, presents the keynote at Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Dublin.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
What's Hot in Mobile Commerce?

2|10|16   |   12:18   |   (1) comment


Claire Maslen, financial services relationship manager at the GSMA, talks about the development of the digital commerce sector and the types of relationships that mobile operators are developing to further their m-commerce strategies.
LRTV Documentaries
EANTC Tests Nokia IP Routing & Mobile Gateway VNFs for Real World Deployment

2|9|16   |   5:08   |   (0) comments


Nokia obtained validation of its virtualized router and virtualized mobile gateway capabilities through rigorous testing performed by EANTC. The results set a new industry benchmark for outstanding performance, scalability, resiliency and manageability. Nokia VNFs are ready for telco cloud deployment, so that service providers can accelerate mobile, business and ...
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Level 3's Jack Waters

2|8|16   |   26:15   |   (1) comment


Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders sits down with Level 3 Communications' CTO Jack Waters to discuss hot topics like virtualization, 4K and the future of telecom...
LRTV Custom TV
The Composable Telco

2|8|16   |   24:46   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading's Principal Analyst Caroline Chappell presents the keynote at Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Dublin.
LRTV Custom TV
Join Us at the Digital Operations Transformation Summit

2|4|16   |   03:52   |   (0) comments


The Digital Operations Transformation Summit on February 21, 2016 at the Crowne Plaza Barcelona Fira Centre will bring together 50 senior executives to engage in a unique debate on the opportunities and challenges presented by the transformative evolving digital landscape. RSVP now at events@lightreading.com.
LRTV Custom TV
Making the Test: ADVA Ensemble Connector vs. Open vSwitch

2|4|16   |   01:28   |   (0) comments


Light Reading, in partnership with EANTC, recently tested ADVA's Ensemble Connector, which replaces open vSwitch and offers carrier-grade capability and interoperability. The test results strengthen ADVA's credibility as a provider in the virtualization space.
LRTV Custom TV
Bridging the Gap Between PoCs & Deployment in NFV

2|4|16   |   31:50   |   (0) comments


Charlie Ashton of Wind River presents the keynote at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Dublin.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Mike Aquino

2|3|16   |   17:34   |   (0) comments


The former CEO of Overture Networks, Mike Aquino, discusses why truly open virtualization solutions provide service providers with the greatest choice.
Shades of Ray
MWC: Buckle Up for 5G & the IIoT

2|2|16   |   02:28   |   (0) comments


This year's Mobile World Congress looks set to be a 5G land grab and a chance to get down and dirty with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) – but what will the 5G discussions actually be about?
LRTV Custom TV
Case Study: Building China's Next-Gen TV Networks

2|2|16   |   5:01   |   (0) comments


With over 2 billion viewers worldwide, Shenzhen Media Group is one of China's largest content producers. By partnering with Huawei and Sobey, SZMG was able to modernize media operations with the Converged News Center, a production studio that is a model for next-generation workflows.
LRTV Custom TV
Quad Channel Modulator Driver with 46 Gbaud Capability from MACOM

1|28|16   |     |   (0) comments


MACOM's MAOM-003427 is the industry's first surface-mount modulator driver with 46 Gbaud capability to support next generation 200G and 400G applications.
Upcoming Live Events
March 10, 2016, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 5, 2016, The Ritz Carlton, Charlotte, NC
May 23, 2016, Austin, TX
May 24-25, 2016, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
Google's 5G Radio Ambitions Are Expanding
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 2/5/2016
Cincinnati Bell Joins Weight Watchers Club
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 2/5/2016
Yahoo & Verizon Sitting in a Tree...
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 2/8/2016
Vodafone: Flexible Work Policies Boost Profits
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/8/2016
It's Time to Integrate OTT Video
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 2/8/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders sits down with Level 3 Communications' CTO Jack Waters to discuss hot topics like virtualization, 4K and the future of telecom...
The former CEO of Overture Networks, Mike Aquino, discusses why truly open virtualization solutions provide service providers with the greatest choice.
Animals with Phones
Retro Is the Way to Be Click Here
Some animals are too cute for smartphones.
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 G.fast for copper plant evolution and the various deployment possibilities for FTTH/B.