SDN architectures

BBWF 2013: What's It All About?

AMSTERDAMNED -- Broadband World Forum 2013 -- "You know what we're going to hear about all of today, don't you? Software-defined f#$*#*g networking -- SDFN!" It is the phrase that greeted me here on the first morning of this year's BBWF, an event that, in years gone by used to be about fixed broadband.

Now, after just four hours of meetings, walking the show floor and attending some conference sessions, the show seems to be about pretty much anything and everything. "It has lost its focus," says one attendee from a systems integrator, who requested anonymity.

That's reflected in the keynote speeches. The Group CTO from KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN), Erik Hoving, spoke for about 25 minutes Tuesday morning to an auditorium of hundreds. The only noteworthy things he said were that "innovation will take place on the network, not in the network" (a nice enough soundbite) and that "the iPhone is less expensive than toilet paper."

That comment got the response it asked for: "I wouldn't want to use the toilet in his house then," said one European vendor executive.

So what is being discussed? Well, as my friend noted this morning, SDN and network functions virtualization (NFV) are on the agenda, as you would expect of any industry event these days, no matter what it's called. But so is CEM (customer experience management), M2M (machine to machine), SaaS (software as a service), Internet of Things (IoT), LTE (Long-Term Evolution), MBT (mobile backhaul transport), and PDC (pretty decent coffee).

OK, so that last acronym is mine, but…

That's not to say that DSL and PON and FTTH aren't on the agenda and aren't being discussed. But it's all very diluted. And where is the buzz in fixed broadband these days? Probably vectoring and G.fast but they aren't exactly dominant topics at this show. (See BT Trials Huawei's G.fast for FTTx.)

And there are interesting people to meet here. But… what's it really all about? I'll ask myself again tomorrow. And Thursday. Maybe it'll all be clearer then.

— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

stephencooke 11/4/2013 | 8:04:06 PM
What about Wednesday...? Hi Ray,

Did you ever figure it out?
DanJones 10/23/2013 | 10:13:55 AM
Re: iPhone? But you at least enjoyed the night life, right?
[email protected] 10/23/2013 | 1:23:53 AM
Re: iPhone? Re iPhone and toilet paper...


he went into some sort of ramble about the number of times a smartphone is used every day and was comparing that with.... and that's when I decided we had hit a new low. 

I don't understand these people. Even if they are constrained by investor relations about what they can say about the business, at least give some insights that only a CTO can. He wasted everyone's time with platitudes, generalisms and a call out to attendees to enjoy Amsterdam's night life.

So far I have been very unimpressed with what I have seen and heard here but maybe I have been unlucky.  
DanJones 10/22/2013 | 6:44:17 PM
Re: iPhone? You're welcome, I surely still don't understand the CTO's comment though.
DOShea 10/22/2013 | 5:09:51 PM
Re: iPhone? Dan, I wish I could "favorite" your message post, or "like" it, or something--I guess I just did.
Sarah Thomas 10/22/2013 | 11:36:53 AM
Re: iPhone? I've been trying to figure it out, and my only conclusion is that you would want to use the toilet at his house. That's some nice TP!
PaulERainford 10/22/2013 | 11:23:13 AM
Re: iPhone? The more I think about the KPN feller's quip, the more my brain hurts.
Carol Wilson 10/22/2013 | 11:15:16 AM
Hey, if the coffee is decent, what's your gripe? Is there any talk about services - like new ones that make money over fixed broadband networks? Or is that a quaint, old-fashioned idea like not making potty jokes about smartphones?
DanJones 10/22/2013 | 11:08:42 AM
iPhone? Surely you wouldn't actually wanna use the iPhone in his house then?
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