If you’ve been keeping up to date with our latest developments, you’ve probably seen us pay a lot of attention to software-defined networking (SDN). From weighing in on how white box technology is revolutionizing the SDN market to developing Lightseer®, our machine learning-powered SDN application for optical network analytics, it’s safe to say that we are extremely passionate about this still-emergent technology and what it can do for network operators across the globe.
For Optical Connections Magazine’s Spring edition, our Chief Technology Officer, Chris Page, wrote a longer piece examining recent trends around SDN adoption in access networks. In it, he discusses the role open source collaborations are playing in facilitating SDN integration with legacy equipment and examines how SDN applications can leverage AI and machine learning to enhance the intelligence and uptime of optical networks.
For the past several years, core network administrators have been using SDN application programming interfaces (APIs) to virtualize and control traffic flow centrally, provisioning service paths without the need for manual processes. Now, SDN’s flexibility and scalability are beginning to attract access network operators seeking a cost-effective solution to improve the quality of service (QoS) for their bandwidth-hungry subscribers. As 5G service and last mile fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) deployments continue to flourish, one key challenge exists for access network operators interested in the benefits of SDN. Essentially, they must find SDN controller platforms that will work with the various types of interconnected vendor technology present in their networks. In his article, Chris examines this issue in-depth, explaining how controller interoperability and open source technologies are key to driving SDN implementation.
Knowing us, however, no article on SDN would be complete without a discussion of the importance of data from a network’s optical layer in ensuring uptime and preventing errors. Truth be told, we are concerned that many software vendors out there are producing SDN applications for network analytics that only focus on the higher layers of a network. Chris spends a good section of the Optical Connections article addressing why SDN applications for network analytics must drill down all the way to the analog data generated by a network’s optical devices. Basically, going optical can empower network administrators to spot and correct anomalies before they turn into actual errors that affect uptime and QoS. As a result, we created Lightseer® – our SDN application for network analytics that improves network intelligence by leveraging data from the optical level.
You can read all of Chris’ insight on the future of SDN adoption by checking out the Optical Connections Spring edition here– his article starts on page 22. If you are using SDN technology in your network right now, let us know the benefits and challenges you’re facing. For us, this is an exciting topic that is going to shape the future of optical networks for years to come.