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SDN technology: Why should it interest you?

It is technology that will inevitably become widespread.

SDN (Software Defined Networks) and NFV (Network Functions Virtualisation) technologies are likely to revolutionise operator network architectures, and enable the deployment of new services much faster and with significantly lower costs. They are set to completely change the telecoms infrastructure environment in the coming years.

What are they? Virtualisation of Network Functions (NFV) is a key factor in optimising the use of network resources by “virtualising” functions typically embedded in proprietary hardware, thus reducing operator investment and operation costs. NFV is based on the principle of separation between a simplified and standardised “Data Centre” type hardware layer and an application software layer that implements the functions necessary for the operation of an operator’s network (routing and multimedia communications IP services, virtual terminal functions, network access functions, etc.). Optimisation of the basic operating system functions (linux type) is required to interface these systems.

The routing hardware and IP switching architectures are advancing in parallel following the standardisation efforts driven by ONF (Open Networking Foundation) called SDN (Software Defined Networking), to separate the IP transport layer and the IP routing control layer with the establishment of an “open” protocol called OpenFlow, allowing the control layer to interoperate with equipment from different manufacturers.

SDN is therefore complementary to NFV technology and affords the implementation of pure software solutions, making monitoring of a business (Data centre type) or operator IP network possible.

An increase in power is expected in 2014 and 2015

An upgrade in the power of NFV and SDN solutions is expected in 2014 and 2015. ALTEN offers leading-edge solutions to telecom operators and network equipment manufacturers in these areas. ALTEN and its subsidiary Calsoft Labs have been supplying NFV solutions, OpenFlow switch implementations and SDN solutions to multiple network equipment suppliers and operators worldwide since 2009.

ALTEN has a role as a sponsor and active user of this technology as part of a panel of experts, as was the case during the “Carrier Network Virtualisation” forum which was held from the 9th to the 11th of December 2013, in Palo Alto, USA and brought together all major players in the sector.

ALTEN has also developed a number of technology partnerships with key players in the field (Red Hat, Intel, 6Wind, Qosmos etc.) allowing it to offer implementation, customisation, integration and deployment services for these technologies.


Network functions, technology