Verizon and Colt complete two-way inter-carrier SDN network orchestration

15 March 2018 | Natalie Bannerman


Verizon and Colt have successfully demonstrated two-way inter-carrier software-defined network (SDN) orchestration during a live trial demonstration in London.

Verizon and Colt team live demo

During the showcase the two companies where able to make real-time bandwidth changes in each other’s networks through an Equinix interconnect. The trial marks the first time two-way network orchestration between carrier production networks has ever been showcased in the world, making it the first step towards enabling real-time cross-carrier automation.

Commenting on the partnership, Peter Konings, head of product development at Verizon EMEA, said: “Enterprise networking is in the midst of a revolution. Organisations today want intelligent, dynamic networks that respond automatically to their changing business needs. Before today, no one has been able to demonstrate elastic flexibility across carriers. Today’s demonstration is the first time anyone in the world has been able to flex network capacity in both directions across network boundaries. This will be a game changer for enterprise networking.”

Peter Konings Verizon demo

Konings adds that they want to “remove the barriers to automation” and that they are changing the dynamic of bandwidth provisioning from a matter of days or months, to a matter of minutes.

The live demonstration featured two screens with the same looped video being played. The team flooded the bandwidth on each video so that  quality disintegrated and then  went into the system using a front end application, and as quickly and simply as you would order something from say Amazon, ordered additional bandwidth on the network which was actioned within 15 minutes, and the 10Mb video began playing perfectly again.

“This showcase positively demonstrates the power of software-defined networking and how increased adoption is putting operators and customers in control of their networks and services,” stated Mirko Voltolini, head of network on-demand at Colt. “Previously, closed systems have made interoperability between service providers extremely difficult. Further, it validates Colt’s strategy of providing on-demand flexibility to truly enable customers’ digital transformation journeys. Through the use of SDN, providers are now able to better collaborate and innovate, ultimately benefitting customers.”

Mirko Voltolini Colt demo 640

As a result of the demonstration Verizon and Colt are now working with the MEF to advance the development of industry standards, in particular inter-carrier business and operational LSO (Lifecycle Service Orchestration) APIs, which will accelerate the availability of this flexibility from many more partner networks.

“Proof of concept demonstrations and trials of inter-provider service orchestration are critical steps for making agile, assured and orchestrated connectivity services that span multiple operators a reality. We’re delighted to see today's demonstration moving the service provider industry towards this objective,” said Daniel Bar-Lev, director office of the CTO at MEF.

Daniel Bar-Levy MEF 640

The difficulty in pulling off projects such as this one is as Voltolini says is “this has to sync up with the various cross company flows and departments, not just the API’s” and without further participation from other carriers this offering can only be deployed to Colt and Verizon customers. Or as Bar-Lev puts it: “This demonstration is important to the future of this industry because if we don’t reach standardisation this doesn’t scale.”

Konings says that Verizon has a development project running to continue building out this offering but from Verizon’s perspective it wants to complete the technical development of the solution by Q2 2018, with the aim to bring it market by the end of 2018 / early 2019.