Our expertise in SDN (software defined networking) and NFV (network functions virtualization) is designed to assist network operators within Africa to understand the concepts behind this new technology and how to benefit from its deployment within their networks.
We offer the unique benefit of advising on how SDN and NFV technology can be deployed and operated within an African setting rather than having to adopt solutions which have been designed for a Eurocentric setting.
NFV involves de-coupling the associated network function from its proprietary hardware, and running this function as software on a server. Thus network functions, which today are provided on made-for-purpose hardware, can now run as software over generic pieces of hardware, such as off-the-shelf layer 2 switches and routers.
SDN, which is a complimentary technology to NFV, separates the control plane from the physical forwarding plane, thus allowing network control to become directly programmable and the underlying infrastructure to be abstracted for applications and network services.
With over 40 years of experience within the telecommunications field, we add value to various network operators, service providers and vendors.
Today networks are built using physical units.
Specialised, made for purpose units or boxes are used to provide the various types of functions required to provide a telecommunication service, such as voice, data or video streaming. These units or boxes contain both the control logic and hardware required to provide such a function, fully integrated within the entity. Examples of such units include Provider Edge (PE) Routers, Broadband Remote Access Servers (BRAS) and the Serving GPRS Support Node (SGSN) associated with the core infrastructure on a 3G mobile network used to provide mobile data services, to name just a few.
This provokes significant challenges.
Building networks physically has created a number of challenges for network operators, such as, increased capital spend when networks need to be upgraded in order to provide new functionality or additional capacity, significant increase in complexity because of the number of different units with different functionality that are employed, and a deterioration in agility and flexibility. It is this latter challenge that is the most detrimental to service providers as it limits their ability to deliver products faster to market and thus compete with the Over the Top (OTT) service providers, who run on the back of infrastructure provided by traditional capital intensive network operators.
New industry initiative.
It is as a result of the above that a group of Tier 1 network operators from the United States of America, Europe and the Far East got together at a conference in Darmstadt Germany in October 2012 to discuss and ultimately announce a new industry initiative on Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). The discussion was prompted by the fact that the group clearly felt that the current method of deploying networks, which involves installing physical made-for-purpose boxes, had to change because of the enormous pressures being applied to the industry.
Virtualization is introduced.
The concept of virtualization was drawn from what had already been used in the IT industry for a number of years, and included discussion on software defined networking (SDN). The discussions resulted in the creation and publication of a White Paper, as well as the formulation of an ETSI Industry Study Group (ISG) in November 2012. Since the formation of the ETSI ISG in November 2012 there has been a groundswell of activity within the industry around SDN &NFV, both within operators and vendors, but predominantly within North America and Europe. A number of North American and European operators and service providers have indicated their intentions and plans to virtualize large portions of their network.
“Taking the lead in supporting the implementation of software defined networking and network functions virtualization in Africa”
ABOUT GD TELECOM
GD Telecom is a leading SDN & NFV consultancy practice that can assist and support your organization in adopting and deploying these technologies within your network and business environment.