Vodafone trials SDN on microwave transport network
Vodafone has unveiled a new trial that used SDN to demonstrate automated control and network programmability of microwave backhaul in a live commercial network.
The trial, which Vodafone carried out in Italy, is an important milestone as carriers look how to upgrade their transport networks in preparation for the launch of 5G mobile technology, according to Vodafone.
A number of mobile operators have announced plans to launch 5G services in 2019, with the technology expected to enable faster telecoms networks with lower latency. This will potentially lead to greater pressure on transport networks, meaning carriers need more efficient networks to support 5G.
Vodafone tested Siae Microelettronica’s Domain Controller (SM-DC) on its Italian live network. The trial demonstrated the capability to introduce automation in existing microwave infrastructure.
SM-DC supervised the physical infrastructure of microwave backhaul and interacted with a set of applications to deliver four use cases: network topology auto-discovery, end-to-end service provisioning, energy efficiency, and automated network device software update, which 90% reduction in the time to update software on the transport network.
In a blog, Vodafone said that, following the successful trial, it now aims to set up integration of this technology into the full controller/orchestrator chain.
The blog, by Vodafone Group’s head of transport product Eva Rossi and Vodafone Group manager of access and backhaul design Giulio Quario, said it was an important milestone for transport networks.
They wrote: “5G promises to be a huge change for our business customers, enabling faster telecoms connections and reducing the time it takes to get new services to market.
“That requires a highly efficient and powerful transport network. SDN technology drives this change, allowing automated operational processes and simplifying the control of the underlying network, by applying a centralised software control layer.”