Light Reading

Lessons From the All-IP Transition

Dan O'Shea

The telecom industry is so consumed right now by the transition to virtualized networks that it's easy to forget that another once all-consuming technology transition is nearing its conclusion.

Notwithstanding the FCC's all-IP trials with AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), the transition to all-IP networks is very close (in telecom industry timescales, at least) to being finished.

How close? Close enough that some vendors believe they won't be selling any POTS equipment to telcos in another five or six years, according to the recent Heavy Reading Insider Report, "The Future for Telecom Network Equipment Providers." (See The New Resonant Relationship Between NEPs & Their Customers and AT&T's All-IP Tests Won't Answer Key Questions.)

The report treats the all-IP transition as something that still affects the world of the network equipment providers (NEPs), while adopting the position that there is a high degree of uncertainty about the impact and future of that transition.

Basically, we now know how, and almost when, this story will end. That's strange to think about, given how long this transition has been ongoing, and how much some vendors dragged their feet along the way.

In their defence, though, some of the vendors that didn't get with the all-IP program from the outset were in many cases simply matching the slow pace set by service provider customers that wanted to get the most out of their legacy equipment and weren't feeling enough competitive pressure to move faster.

The transition to all-IP and the introduction of SDN and NFV are sometimes mentioned in the same breath, usually in describing SDN/NFV as the biggest technology evolution facing the telecom sector since the all-IP evolution began. (See Defining SDN & NFV.)

Beyond that, many people assume the SDN/NFV story will play out much more quickly than the all-IP transition has. There is every reason that it should: Competition at the service provider level is much more intense; carriers realize the value of dynamically responding to bandwidth demand; they can foresee internal operational benefits from virtualizing their systems.

But perhaps it would be wise not to let the all-IP transition conclude quietly. One of the biggest lessons NEPs should have learned from the shift towards all-IP networks is that they need to embrace the future even while supporting the network technologies of the past. They need to be flexible enough to support the creation of virtualized network environments even while maintaining "legacy" infrastructure in the field. They can't choose to put off virtualization just because they're still making hardware sales.

The transition to all-IP has been a painful one at times, and NEPs that didn't manage it effectively have paid dearly. (See Tellabs' Last Hope: Marlin's Optical Ambition.)

The next big networking transition doesn't have to be so painful.

— Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading

(4)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/19/2014 | 2:59:50 PM
Re: Lessons From the All-IP Transition
The Cloud is the end-game of the All-IP transition.
User Rank: Blogger
3/19/2014 | 8:21:45 AM
Re: Lessons From the All-IP Transition
In a previous blog Heavy Reading's Danny Dicks wrote about the report mentioned above, he cited the rise of newly resonant relationships between NEPs and their customers. Developing that kind of relationship is important in general, but understanding the future roadmap of their customers is the most important part. And if customers are slow to start executing that plan, good NEP partners may need to give them a nudge.
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
3/18/2014 | 6:16:29 PM
Re: Lessons From the All-IP Transition
Companies that fail to make the transition to new technologies so that they can preserve existings revenue will soon find the problem of existing revenue drastically reduced. 
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/18/2014 | 5:15:40 PM
Lessons From the All-IP Transition
Dan, great insights on lessons to be learned.  It appears that by now we should recognize that to solve the problems by our solutions is not a winning proposition.

I believe the leaders will be those who can provide the necessary equipment, support the customer in maintenance and transition, and offer new service packages that truly deliver the capabilities the customers need.  In other words, solving the customer problems is, and remains, the best proposition.
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
More Blogs from DOS Attack
Ciena and ADVA separately show off the ability for their new data center interconnect gear to address a variety of distance needs.
The utility industry is keeping TDM alive, but maybe not for much longer.
Vendor CEOs make a lot of money, but we have a list of those who made more than most.
Growing security threats are set to drive critical infrastructure operators to new investment and upgrades of their internal networks.
Mike Birck guided Tellabs for more than 30 years over a span of five decades.
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.