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Transforming transport networks

Tighter integration between radio, transport networks, and cloud infrastructure is needed to deliver the required level of flexibility. This must be carried out with a backdrop of small-cell deployment, convergence of access and backhaul, as well as the migration of legacy equipment and technologies

Increasing flexibility, reducing complexity

Services such as mobile broadband and media distribution will continue to evolve in line with our growing global dependence on connectivity. Subsequently, networks will experience huge increases in traffic and will need to service an ever-expanding number of connected devices – both massive and mission-critical machine type communication. The latter sets stringent requirements for performance characteristics, including reliability and latency.

Key to network transport architecture is:

Service agility

Service agility, programmability, enhanced visibility and cross-domain orchestration

Centralized control and management

Centralized control and management, includingconfiguration, path, topology and utilization

transport domain optimization

Specific applications for both local transport domain optimization and cross-domain orchestration support

Datacenters

Ubiquitous transport service to and from the datacenter, and also between datacenters

Network transport functions

  • Virtualization and centralization will make transport more automated and simplified transport will help cater for network slice-specific isolation and inter-slice prioritization requirements
  • Transport control contains analytics, policy, functions and specific northbound APIs for service orchestration and level agreement reporting. Collection, presentation and correlation of various transport service level parameters on a per-service basis is one of the key capabilities
Network transport functions graphic

Meeting diversified demands

Transport deployment graphic

In software-defined network (SDN) architecture, the main intelligence of network control is decoupled from data plane elements and placed into a centralized remote controller: the SDN controller (SDNC). This allows applications to be deployed on top of the control infrastructure, which enables resources to be automatically optimized across heterogeneous network domains, and new end-to-end services to be initiated easily.

An example is the case of resource and service orchestration across multiple network domains with heterogeneous types of resources. The result is a hierarchical SDN-based control architecture, which orchestrates across three domains – transport, RAN and cloud. A management function can also be included.

Precisely how radio is deployed will determine the exact level of flexibility needed in the transport network, especially when considering capacity, multi-site and multi-access connectivity, reliability, interference, inter-site coordination, and bandwidth requirements. The new services on offer will often have diverse, and sometimes conflicting, demands.

Subsequently, our future transport architecture is fully adaptable in its programmability, providing a dynamic management of transport resources; this could be anything from highly-scalable video distribution, to a massive download of the latest digital roadmaps for connected cars.

Adding new value

As the pillars of SDN, the ability to access network resources, functionality, and the management of services on-the-fly through programmatic APIs can reduce network complexity, as well as increase flexibility.

SDN can also provide service velocity as a means to integrate transport, radio, and cloud domains. This approach enables control to be centralized for service functions, and distributed for transport.