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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Trending: Network Performance News This Week, August 23-29, 2015


This week's roundup of telecom news is both theoretical and practical in its focus, looking at the challenges of real-time computing and virtualization, as well as strides being made in these areas. How does true real-time computing (not to be confused with high-speed computing) enable the Internet of Things (IoT)? Why is RAN virtualization so hard to achieve? How is SDN revolutionizing the enterprise IT industry and voice & video communications? What does Time Warner Cable's Wi-Fi strategy predict about the future of the U.S. mobile telecom industry? Are international VoLTE calls now a reality? What does FCC small cells regulation have to do with historic buildings? Keep reading. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Vanilla+ Article: The Race to SDN


Why are software-defined networks (SDNs) becoming critical to mobile network operators? And what does it take to successfully deploy SDN? Accedian VP of Marketing Scott Sumner takes on this topic in a recent VanillaPlus article covering the drivers behind SDN growth and the factors involved in its deployment. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Trending: Network Performance News This Week, August 16-22, 2015


This week's roundup of telecom news is about carriers and their investments in the Internet of Things (IoT) and software-defined networking (SDN)/network functions virtualization (NFV): a partnership involving AT&T and several vendors to develop IoT networks, signs of upcoming growth in small cells (Sprint, anyone?), the necessity of an SDN strategy and what it takes to succeed, and AT&T's virtualization plans.  


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Big Data Analytics vs. Smart Data Analytics

Mobile network operators have mountains of data they are starting to consult, crunch and even monetize to other parties interested in the behavior, location, and experience of subscribers. As mobile networks move to a service oriented architecture--consistent with intelligent, SDN, and virtualized infrastructure--access to the network state correlated with user metrics is also becoming foundational for network control, and ultimately, the feedback that will help providers optimize quality of experience (QoE).
The relationship between performance monitoring 
and customer experience is tightly tied to analytics.

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Customer Experience: CEM, QoS, and QoE is More than Just Alphabet Soup

In the mobile space at least, performance is the biggest differentiation service providers have over cloud offerings and cheap, dumb pipes. Taking advantage of differentiated assets often means the difference between making revenue from mobile broadband instead of losing customers to Wi-Fi. For example, in the business services space providers can leverage prioritized, assured performance and premium data center connectivity to beat out cheap ISPs. But, customer experience management (CEM) is the key to maintaining this edge--and it's tightly tied to quality of service (QoS) and quality of experience (QoE) as measured by performance monitoring solutions.

Integrated SDN, NFV, Subscriber Presence Information 
and Network Visibility - to Drive Customer Experience

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Trending: Network Performance News This Week, August 9-15, 2015


This week's roundup of telecom news ties together some of the hottest topics in the industry: efficiently developing Internet of Things (IoT) components, simplification as a foundation for 5G, interoperability testing for Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) products, orchestrating Software Defined Networking (SDN) and NFV for wireless networks, security for SDN switches, and the potential cost-lowering benefits of SDN. 


Friday, August 14, 2015

Will 5G Be Game Ready by 2020?


What do the Olympic Games, mobile network performance monitoring, and 5G standards have to do with each other? Quite a lot. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Q&A: NFV Adoption for Mobile Operators - Benefits and Challenges


Mobile network operators are increasingly adopting network functions virtualization (NFV) as they move toward virtualization and automation in their networks. Here, Accedian's VP of Marketing Scott Sumner answers some questions about how this adoption is going, the challenges involved, and what operators hope to achieve. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Can We Make x86 Networking Infrastructure Carrier Grade?

COTS hardware running virtual routers still (and always will), have a ways to go to keep up with dedicated appliances. Their value can still be realized with a new breed of miniaturized NFVI running at wirespeed.

SDN frameworks are based on programmable data plane elements (white boxes), combined with centralized, software defined control. NFV is founded on shifting network functions from bespoke appliances to commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware.

x86-based White boxes and NFVI have failed to meet full-line rate, latency-sensitive traffic processing requirements, and always will: network elements and monitoring methods need some functions to be an order of magnitude faster than the traffic they manage - and using x86 networking to carry traffic generated by x86 data centers and clients cannot be realized cost-efficiently. When both traffic and network processing capacity follow Moore’s law, latency-sensitive, high-capacity networking functions will always fall short.

Efforts to address this dilemma -- as showcased in POCs at leading conferences and in industry forums -- violate the principles of NFV and SDN by inserting hardware acceleration at the data plane in the form of specialized network interface cards (NICs), ‘grey box’ top-of-rack switches, and other techniques that not only promote vendor lock-in, but also freeze scalability by preventing scale-up/out. However undesirable these methods are, virtual network functions cannot meet required performance without precise packet scheduling, time stamping and sequencing, and the ability to control traffic bursts at a per-packet level.
White-Box SFPs?
Service providers facing this reality have turned to the idea of developing a new layer of ultra-high speed, programmable ‘whitebox SFPs’ that can be inserted anywhere full line-rate traffic processing, capture or monitoring is required, to allow them to preserve pure COTS NFVI architectures, but bring them up to 'carrier-grade' performance without relying on hardware accelerators.
Programmable SFPs are an order of magnitude faster than x86 processors - and can make COTS carrier-grade platforms when used to add "smarts" to SFPs.

Whitebox SFPs are based on programmable field-programmable gate array (FPGA) processors that can be compiled to perform as fast as purpose-built ASICs to meet demanding packet handling requirements, but can be reprogrammed on the fly to support numerous wirespeed VNFs.
Leading operators have expressed interest in deploying smart SFPs that meet open specifications for precise performance monitoring, traffic conditioning, remote packet capture, remotely activate turn-up testing, and other functions that are incompatible with x86 virtualization, or would be cost or space-prohibitive to realize with those methods. The technique is hot enough that it's made its way into AT&T's Domain 2.0 project, with smart GPON SFPs as a target to integrate network-layer functions as part of a virtualization initiative.
Other applications that can be realized using this whitebox SFP method include synchronization delivery and monitoring for HetNets, lawful intercept, intrusion detection, policy enforcement, QoE prioritization, location-based services, and more. Whitebox SFPs are also an enabler for x86 white box and COTS-hosted NFV - providing an open, programmable hardware assist platform that meets the objectives of SDN and virtualization, without vendor-specific constraints.
An example would be insertion of a smart SFP into a top of rack switch, or mobile edge compute NFVI instance -- instead of using specialzied NICs -- to achieve true, yet programmable and scalable equivalence to dedicated, physical appliances, yet at a fraction of the cost.

By early 2016 we should see some increase traction on this approach, as concepts are likely to be introduced into the standardization process, and should be fertile grounds for discussion.
* Referenece: Packet Processing at no loss rate (NLR); Cisco 7200VXR NPE-G2 vs. Vyatta 5600, StackExchange

Insight: SDN and the Evolution to Agile RAN


Although it's often painful in practice, technology evolution is an integral part of the telecom industry. Right now, much of that innovation is focused on broadband access solutions for mobile networks.


But what is the best way to adapt the current state of networks to an implementation that is more robust? However it’s accomplished, many factors must be considered:

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

5G Nervous System = Real-Time QoE

Emergence of the instrumentation layer in real-time, intelligent networks.
5G networks will support a diverse array of applications, from 4k video streaming to safety-critical IoT, autonomous cars and factories, and hosted transactional applications that let us work from anywhere.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Trending: Network Performance News This Week, July 26-August 1, 2015


This week's roundup of telecom news ties together virtualization, the cloud, data centers, and internet connectivity--touching on the relationship between SDN and NFV, what's driving the growth in virtualized customer premises equipment (vCPE), a possible way to broadcast the internet to billions of currently un-connected people, the evolution of data center controllers, security in the cloud, and developing apps for the Internet of Things (IoT).