With connectivity revenues flattening, service providers are faced with a difficult balancing act. On one side is the need to evolve their network to keep pace with exploding bandwidth and customer expectations, and on the other side are the large CapEx and OpEx required to operate existing platforms and build new competitive service offerings.
Service providers have started to transform their networks into converged 5G ready architectures to address the growing traffic requirements on their networks. However, this is quite a complex journey as the layered and siloed nature of network infrastructure, along with multi-layered resiliency schemes, often results in poor utilization and monetization of network resources.
The legacy network architecture also leads to complex management and manual intervention at multiple levels, posing challenges in implementing end-to-end closed-loop automation.
For many years GREENNET is helping our service provider customers to transform their architectures based on market requirements and technological trends to overcome future challenges an continue successful growth.
There are number of fundamental aims of IP/MPLS transport.
- 1st is obvious; to build an infrastructure able to support the packet and TDM services needed for a 2G/3G/4G mobile network.
- - 2nd is scalability, such that the architecture can support the networking requirements of the very largest operators using packet technology starting from the core all the way to the access layer of the network.
- - 3rd is building a cost-effective infrastructure, so that as you move from the core toward the access, the forwarding and control plane of the network equipment can become simpler and more cost-effective.
IP/MPLS transport relies on splitting the network into different domains and introducing a hierarchy that has an IP core domain (not to be confused with the mobile core) in the center, with aggregation and access domains surrounding it. Each domain is isolated from the others and runs its own Interior Gateway Protocol (IGP). Where inter-domain connectivity is required to deliver a service, Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) carries the appropriate inter-domain prefixes, allowing communication from end to end. This technique has proven to be extremely successful and many service provider networks are deployed today using IP/MPLS transport running in the core, metro, and access networks.
Although extremely successful and widely deployed, there are complexities to the IP/MPLS transport architecture. These revolve around the complexity of the control plane, the number of control plane protocols, and the amount of device-level configurations required when building a service that spans many domains.
The proposed solution to IP/MPLS transport complexities is to evolve the transport network’s control and data plane toward segment routing, with the option of moving toward an infrastructure orientated around Software-Defined Networks (SDN). This approach reduces control plane protocols, such as Label Distribution Protocol (LDP) and Resource Reservation Protocol – Traffic Engineering (RSVP-TE), removes flow state from the network, and provides several options for control plane implementation. These options range from a fully distributed implementation to a hybrid approach where the router and the SDN controller divide the functionality between themselves.
This 5G ready transport infrastructure is capable of overlaying a wide range of service technologies, with associated IP-based Service-Level Agreements (SLAs), including BGP-based VPN technologies, such as EVPNs and VPNv4/v6s, and emerging SD-WAN VPN technologies.
The coming changes to the telecommunications landscape are so monumental that they pushed optical networking developments to the new cutting-edge innovations, from Flexible Light Orchestration to Coherent Optical modules, 400Gbps QSFP-DD and Routed Optical Networking.
Flexible Light Orchestration
IP advances like Segment Routing can reduce your routing table size while also scaling the network. Newer optical advances like Flexible Light Orchestration of Wavelengths let you pack more capacity into an individual fiber and balance the tradeoffs between capacity and distance. And do it with using the current mesh Reconfigurable Optical Add/Drop Multiplexer (ROADM) network you have in place today.
Coherent Optical Modules
A coherent optical module refers to a typically hot-pluggable coherent optical transceiver that uses coherent modulation and is normally used in high-bandwidth data communications applications. Optical modules characteristically have an electrical interface on the side that connects to the inside of the system, and an optical interface on the side that connects to the outside world through a fiber optic cable. Coherent optical modules plug directly into the router line cards.
The optical transceiver is one of the most important elements in optical transport. Currently, QSFP28 transceiver module supports 100 gigabit Ethernet applications. However, the market continues to evolve, the 400G QSFP-DD optical module is being positioned to efficiently address need for higher capacity. While there are differences between current 400Gbps QSFP-DD pluggable transceivers and traditional DWDM transponders’ technical specifications, practical, vendor-agnostic solutions exist and interoperable, brownfield, multi- vendor systems are feasible with a variety of brownfield DWDM systems.
The Routed Optical Networking solution is comprised of a set of existing and new products where 400Gbps QSFP-DD ZR/ZR+ optics are integrated into access and core routers to collapse layers and provision IP as well as TDM services over a packet network. The routed optical network has the same level of SLAs and reliability with full transparency for dedicated bandwidth by leveraging circuit emulation and private line emulation. Wavelengths can be provisioned from router to router or from ROADM to ROADM in existing or new networks.
The purpose of Routed Optical Networking is to de- layer and simplify networks to enable automation and network optimization. Rather than providing and managing services across different network layers, Routed Optical Networking enables the customer to provision all existing and future services across a single IP layer. Leveraging Telemetry and Automation will improve efficiency and reduce Time-To-Market for a better customer experience. As the industry moves from discrete Optical Transport Systems, Routers, and Ethernet Switches to converge the layers, ZR/ ZR+ modules, photonics, and new and existing ASICs will enable this journey to provide a better solution. The routed optical network is built on standards to enable third party interoperability at all layers.
The (r)evolution of the smartphones industry caused a serious impact on mobile service providers. Customers are moving away from traditional voice and SMS services to the data (IP) centric consumption models. That’s why modern MSPs experiencing even more market pressure than fixed ones to address traffic growth with seamlessly falling ARPU. MOSs are doing so by replacing legacy appliance based systems by virtualized lightweight NFs running on top of off-the-shelf x86 servers. The 5G era set a new bar for mobile infrastructure from radio to the packet core – meet the web scale. MSPs are doing so by separating control and user planes, moving from VMs to containers, starting to adopt OpenRAN concept for dense 5G deployments. As a result, their infrastructures are moving towards complex IT systems with high level of automation.
To enable new revenue streams, MSPs are looking for new business models and expansion of their M2M/IoT offers. New powersave technologies, such as eDRX and PSM, introduced from R14 3GPP, made possible to produce devices with battery life up to 10 years. The private/public cloud based IoT platforms allows MSPs to control IoT devices, collect and sell the data, sell IoT based services moving away from “dumb pipe” model. The rise of IoT services inspired enterprise customers to revise the industrial automation concepts and adapt wireless technologies from service providers industry
A good example of such adoption is the growing amount of enterprise customers that use private LTE/5G networks It allows them to have standardized and predictable wireless connectivity even for such mission critical application like remote controlled cars. The private network can be safely considered as reliable backbone for technological data and be fully deployed inside the enterprise network perimeter.
Boom of packet based services and rise of open source SW projects triggered a shift from appliances to the virtualised network functions running on top of commodity hardware, such as x86 servers. The concept known as telco cloud allows operators to build systems based on same HW and virtualization layer to replace traditional siloed approach. Thanks to web scale technologies, operators can better utilize common hardware by mixing virtualized NFs with different requirements and optimisation of backup strategies. Virtualisation helps to achieve not only better availability and reliability but also shortens rollout time with nowadays standard IT automation tools.
The requirements for modern service provider infrastructure drive the need for network flexibility and program control. Network elements and management systems must have open APIs to allow various systems to control networks and to extract data from them. Network orchestration provides a framework for easily provisioning new services and facilitating DevOps. Network elements must support NetConf protocols and Yang models and use orchestration systems to automate network configuration, fault, and performance management. Automation reduces labour expenses thus reducing network OPEX.
IP/MPLS & SR Transport
Mobility & IOT
Cisco, Ericsson, Oracle
Network Function Virtualisation
Cisco, RedHat, VMware
Management & Automation
Cisco, GREENNET’s Automation