Merging onto a technology highway that's been running across the entire telecom sector, cable operators are starting to line up engineering and business strategies for network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN).
And those efforts are now reaching into both the residential and commercial services sectors as operators size up the operational and performance advantages promised by both NFV and SDN.
With respect to the access network, cable operators are beginning to move ahead with what will be a migration away from purpose-built, centralized hardware to create a more distributed access architecture and put many key network functions in software. This journey will consist of many long roads and twists and turns... and the industry is just now getting off to a rolling start.
For business services, a critical growth driver for the cable industry, MSOs appear to be further down field amid the adoption and deployment of SD-WAN-based services. (See Cable SD-WAN: A Generational Moment.)
Highlighted by its new ActiveCore platform, Comcast Business already views SD-WAN as a transformational initiative, as it gives the operator enhanced network visibility and deeper insights at the application level. Charter Communications Inc. , meanwhile, has focused on a cloud-based SD-WAN overlay as it considers its longer-term strategies. (See Comcast Packs More Powerful SD-WAN Punch and Comcast Woos the Enterprise With SD-WAN.)
Among more recent moves, Cox Communications Inc. has gotten more aggressive in this area with its acquisition of RapidScale, a company with managed cloud services, including an SD-WAN service called NetScaler. (See Cox Business Bulks Up With RapidScale Buy .)
Light Reading's annual NFV & Carrier SDN event in Denver next month will offer the big picture on SDN and NFV, as well as some specific insight into how cable operators are (or should be) connecting in both areas.
For example, Scott Fairchild, VP of client experience for Charter's Spectrum Enterprise division, is set as a keynoter on Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 9:00 a.m. MT.
And Jeff Lewis, VP of data product management at Comcast Business, will be on hand for SD-WAN 2.0: Defining Service Provider Business Models for Success, a panel set for Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 4:05 p.m. MT. This session will discuss several SD-WAN options that have emerged, including do-it-yourself models, reseller/system integrator and contractor-based models.
As Jim Hodges, principal analyst of cloud and security at Heavy Reading , explained, this year's event will shine the spotlight on how virtualization efforts are being monetized and how automation is starting to play a role in NFV and SDN. (See Taking the Pulse of NFV in the Mile-High City.)
To learn more about how cable is connecting in this area, please be sure to register for the event, which gets underway on Monday, Sept. 24.
We look forward to seeing you in the Mile High City!
— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading