Insight: What’s Hot in Telecom Standards and Technology

Posted by Mae Kowalke on Tuesday, November 17, 2015 with No comments

In a previous post, we explored some of the newest lingo floating around the telecom world. Some of the major themes during SDN and OpenFlow World Congress, however, are beyond the scope of a glossary, so here we take a deeper look at Application-Aware Network Routing (AAR), Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO), Mobile Edge Compute (MEC), Software-Defined WAN (SD WAN), and various flavors of Virtualized Customer Premises Equipment (vCPE).

Application-Aware Network Routing (AAR)

The concept here is that applications define service level agreements (SLAs), enabling routing to adapt to demands. The result: user experience is application-based rather than location-based.

AAR is adaptive (as the controller learns, paths can change) and requires that VNFs/apps communicate with the controller. It is being used to enable application-ready networks (as with Deutsche Telekom) and SDN-supported networks (where traffic steering is centrally controlled—using I2RS/PCE as the path computation element—but otherwise routed as usual).

Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO)

The LSO interface definition is a key focus for Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF). They plan to start by defining interface-to-element control and management (Presto - see below). These interfaces are built on RESTful APIs, and employ NetCONF/Yang models on the service provider infrastructure side, as open, standardized methods to enable orchestration of end-to-end, even multi-operator services.

Open interface standards in development by the MEF

Management and Orchestration (MANO)

A topic that everyone has an opinion on, and solution for (apparently), but is also the biggest obstacle to SDN and NFV implementation, according to many speakers at this event.

NFV Orchestration (NFVO) 

This is being split into NFVO-SO (service orchestration) and NFVO-DO (domain orchestration)out of recognition that there will never be a single orchestrator, but instead a federation of them, with an 'orchestrator of orchestrators' at the highest level.

Mobile Edge Compute (MEC)

Likely to be strongly influential in the networking industry, MEC infrastructure can report radio capacity back to applications and controllersessentially, it enables dynamic performance optimization (DPO) at the physical and app layers (e.g. video).

The benefit of MEC is also that is provides ‘location awareness’ as distributed NFV infrastructure (NFVI), creating local compute infrastructure for the ultimate ‘thin clients’ like Google Glass without phone tethering, or augmented reality.

MEC supports and is required for four out of NGNM’s eight 5G use cases. It will play an important role as service roaming separates from radio access roaming. Because VNFs may move to different MEC locations to better support QoS, the MEC-to-basestations relationship will not be 1:1.

Verizon relates this to performance visibility being foundational for innovation:


Now a year old, the Open Platform for NFV project has 43 sub-projects under its umbrella, many related to requirement for getting VNFs into OpenStack and Open Daylight (onboarding). The standards body is a central focus for many efforts, where "code is the standard."

Software-Defined WAN (SD WAN)

This term is used to describe a dynamic, programmable WAN (including bandwidth on demand), with application-aware routing, and internet offload to assist MPLS/Carrier Ethernet in maintaining QoS and providing low-cost scalability.

Operators and vendors are increasingly adopting this concept, although they don’t all give it the same label or leverage it in quite the same manner:

Label Used
Deutsche Telekom
Cloud VPN
Dynamic IP VPN - customers define sites and bandwidth programatically
Cloud Networking
IP VPN and Dynamic Carrier Ethernet Services
Tail-f Systems  / Cisco
IP VPN - a proprietary overlay used by a number of leading operators to quickly jump into policy-based dynamic WAN services
Nuage / Alcatel-Lucent
IP VPN as an overlay (on ALU equipment)
Novitas product: elastic bandwidth, elastic topology, elastic services, value-added reporting.

Data center network as a service (DCNetaaS): data center interconnect pay as you go.
Application-aware routing (AAR) / load balancing over MPLS and the internet based on QoS (Open Networking User Group definition).

Extend existing B/OSS or existing NMS using open interfaces per use case.

Groundwork for future virtualization functionality.

Let us know if there are terms we missed! We hope this has been a help to you.

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