Network survival: no room for complacency

Network survival: no room for complacency

10 February 2020 | Jamie Jefferies

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Jamie Jefferies

Blog Author | vice president and general manager EMEA, Ciena

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You only have to look at the popularity of Netflix, online gaming leaders like Fortnite and social media sites like Instagram to appreciate that reliable and pervasive connectivity is an absolute necessity in today’s society.

And, it’s not just for personal communication experiences. From a business perspective, the internet has enabled connectivity to customers and business colleagues across the world at the touch of a button, along with live HD video conference streaming, and numerous productivity and research tools. However, traditional network infrastructure was not built to support the current levels of anywhere, anytime connectivity, and with society’s demand for faster, better and newer network-reliant applications, service providers are taking steps to offer a consistent and reliable network to provide the highest level of service to end-users.

Technology and consumer behaviour drive network change

Historically, service providers have looked to maintain their service by simply adding more networking protocols, where and when required. However, traditional network design is managed manually, making it highly error-prone when executing operational tasks. As new services and trends emerge, it will become more time-consuming and costly to maintain service level agreements that ensure optimal end-user experiences.

The ongoing deployment of commercial 5G networks has essentially thrown another spanner in the works. By leveraging new technologies, such as edge computing, automation, and analytics, 5G will unleash a new wave of resource-intensive applications. Successfully supporting these new applications and use cases requires a change in the way networks are designed, deployed, and managed. Increasing capacity, reducing complexity and latency, and simplifying IP connectivity will allow networks to keep up with constantly changing applications and end-user demands.

Moving away from obsolete and no longer needed networking protocols ensures networks do not become overly complex and unmanageable. Solutions must provide sufficient capacity, flexibility, and automation empowering providers with the ability to evolve their current infrastructure to be more dynamic and agile. This will save time and resources, allowing the network to proactively respond to requests, and minimising or outright eliminating manual, complex management.

Streamline and simplify to reduce complexity

Another critical pain point for service providers is the operational complexity in IP networks, which can be addressed by leveraging analytics-driven automation. The first phase of this journey is to gather information about network topology and routing to create a unified virtual IP network map. This map provides a streamlined, real-time view into how routing behaviour is affecting service delivery to determine what IP network parts need to be optimised. So rather than having to navigate a labyrinth of information across multiple domains and vendors, service providers can see a simplified end-to-end IP network view, in real-time.

Successfully competing in a hyper-competitive market requires more than simply adding more nodes and protocols to the existing legacy IP architecture—it necessitates a full network transformation. Service providers that act to ensure their networks can support capabilities like network slicing will be at the forefront of successful commercial 5G deployments. In addition, some applications require edge compute capabilities to deliver high performance and low latency. With an open, and adaptive network, providers will be able to support current demands and those in the future. The legacy IP approach restricts these capabilities with a closed network that is often costly to scale and expand – it’s time to adapt and upgrade or be left behind.