If broadband and the internet were the phenomena of the 1990s and wireless broadband and smart devices topped the hot trends list of the 2000s, the 2010-2020 decade will be the decade of the smart network.

Network planning requirements for operators have been broadly similar for decades.  Today operators face the challenge of how to transport an increasing data load on hybrid networks that are increasingly strained.

With margins for data transport eroding, there has been a move towards commoditising equipment to create virtual networks that can be reconfigured as necessary.  The traditional service provider applications (voice, data and TV/video) are opening up to allow third-party and ‘web’ application developers to leverage these capabilities, and then combine them, with other web services to create previously unimaginable new applications.  The issue for service providers is how to manage and monetise this.

Aria Networks has just published a new white paper entitled “Evolution to a business driven hybrid network in the world of SDN, NFV and LSO.”  Written by the Aria Networks’ CTO, Dr Jay Perrett, the paper puts Business Driven Optimisation (BDO), the adoption of Software Defined Networking (SDN), Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) and Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) architectures in to sharp perspective.

Also written to reflect the current business demand to move from a hardware-centric approach to a software-driven model, the white paper addresses the issues of why it may be considered difficult for the capital-intensive telecommunications and enterprise networking worlds to adapt.

Perrett argues that SDN and NFV technologies are complementary in that they address different elements of a software-driven solution. SDN increases network flexibility through holistic management of the network, enables rapid innovation and lowers operating expenses whilst NFV works to reduce network operator CAPEX and OPEX through reduced equipment costs and reduced power consumption. NFV also reduces complexity and makes managing a network and deploying new capabilities easier and faster. Any business seriously evaluating SDN should keep in mind that the technology is an evolving one. SDN is not mature, and it lacks standards – or even a definitive reference model – and means different things to different vendors.

The evolution to an SDN and NFV enabled network that embraces a hybrid PNF/VNF network or an LSO orchestrated umbrella network will be just that; an evolution and not a revolution. The path to this end game can be charted through the application of two maturity indices; Operator Maturity Index (OMI) and Network Maturity Index (NMI). The first helps operators identify where they are in the journey from service placement through to leveraging the network to optimise margin. The second helps Operators understand how ready their network is to deliver on that goal.

Click to download the whitepaper