Partner Perspectives (Sponsored Content)

How to Right-Size Your Network Operations With Converged SDN Transport

For communication service providers, profitability is a constant struggle between launching new services and supporting legacy services and architectures. Bespoke networks with multi-layered architectures are becoming redundant, complex, and expensive to operate. For every $1 spent in Capital Expenditure, it costs $5 in Operating Expenditure to manage the network as more complexity is added. Traditional network architectures are reaching the limits of scale and operational feasibility, and with traffic growing at over 35% Compound Annual Growth Rate (mostly due to video), network operators face a daunting hill of rising costs and lower revenues.

The current operational complexity is deeply rooted in history. Evolution from Time-Division Multiplexing (TDM)-based services to IP services came as a new layer added over the existing TDM network. This disjointed design created separate networks, support teams, and development cycles. With today’s need for higher speeds and larger scalability, this disjointed model is challenged by operational economics. Most networks reflect decades of evolutions that incrementally added technologies over time to deliver new services. Despite attempts at multi-layer optimization, network operators still grapple with inefficient designs that are stuck in different silos of operational cycles, thereby creating unnecessary complexity.

With the ‘Internet for the Future’ launch, Cisco announced a strategic vision to bring unprecedented transformation for the 5G era and beyond. We began the journey to reinvent networking from the ground up with innovations in silicon, optics, software, systems, and operations to redefine the economics of the Internet at its core. These innovations across a portfolio of products provided a foundation for industry-disrupting performance, agility, trust, and modernized operations with cloud-enhanced automation. This portfolio became the foundation for a new class of massively scalable network architectures that we continue to enhance.

Recent updates to our Converged Software-Defined Networking (SDN) Transport architecture extend the principles of the Internet for the Future beyond the network core to include access, aggregation, and edge network roles. The updates go beyond improving packet transport efficiencies and deepen the scope to include transport convergence of IP and optical networking layers with Routed Optical Networking and service convergence using Telco Cloud. These additional innovations enable us to redefine network architectures that can scale to massive sizes without the traditional costs caused by inefficient designs and complex operations.

These updates are centered on four key technology pillars:

  • Converge legacy service networks onto a single infrastructure for a seamless end-user experience from the edge to the core. Implementing segment routing enables the network to adapt in real time to application requirements and ensures full utilization of assets.
  • Converge software and service protocols for simplified management operations. Using a single operating system like IOS XR in all network routers builds consistency and improves operational efficiency. Reducing the service protocols to Ethernet Virtual Private Network provides a unified service delivery protocol and support for advanced timing capabilities for 5G transport.
  • Converge and automate network operations around a common set of model driven APIs. Use streaming telemetry and advanced programmability to reduce time spent on planning, activation, and ongoing management of the network.
  • Converge IP and optical layers to reduce the number of moving parts in the network and simplify upgrade cycles. Integrate 200G and 400G coherent pluggable optics directly into the routers and begin removing transponders, and by converting TDM services to IP with private line emulation, Optical Transport Networking switches could also be removed.

Today, the cost structures of IP and optical technology have evolved substantially. This fundamental shift changes the way we approach network design for massive scale. Advancements in optics allow high-speed coherent pluggables to be embedded directly into routers, greatly simplifying the optical network. With modernized automation, convergence of IP and optical infrastructure is now possible, reducing redundant equipment and layers. The converged transport network is simplified for more agile and efficient operations, driving up to 46% Total Cost of Ownership savings over legacy architectures.

With a simplified network and lower cost structure, communication service providers can expand to bring higher speeds into underserved areas. Connectivity to the Internet is now critical: it empowers families, communities, and businesses to connect from any location, forever changing our economy, our relationships, and our lives. With their networks, communication service providers deliver the connected experiences that bind us together and power the world. The digitalization of our society is rapidly accelerating, but not everyone can participate equally. We believe that only when everyone can connect to everything can we capture the full potential of a digital future for all, and we’ll continue to build solutions to help decrease the digital divide.

— Donyel Jones-Williams, Director, Mass Scale Infrastructure Campaign & Product Marketing, Cisco

This content is sponsored by Cisco.

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)

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