SDN and NFV: The mantra for customer centric CSPs

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One of the significant catalyst to hasten the historical transformation in Communication services is the shift from infrastructure to the software-defined technology – a programmable model, pioneered by the leading cloud providers. How the Communication Service provider (CSP) design and deploy this transition will define their business to survive and thrive in the coming years. Companies must now shift back to a customer-centric industry, and become more much flexible in how they offer their services. At the center of this transformation is the customer.

The customer experience of the future will be rich, personalized and responsive, and any communication medium must be open to the customer. Telecoms companies must adopt the software industry’s approach of iterative cycles and a constantly improving, personalized offering. Digital transformation is coaxing companies to be agile, and the network needs to be equally agile and fast. The decoupling of control and data planes enables control to be extracted away from the device and centralized to a network administrator who can issue an update that is effected almost instantly across the entire network and geographies.

Theoretically, SDN and NFV technologies are capable enough to create such exciting new models. Their flexibility and openness enables smoother integration with software technologies and a range of hardware; but will or are the CSPs planning to join the bandwagon or are they finding ways to optimize present technologies. To succeed, service providers can adopt the open platform model of the cloud – where the value of the software and applications is far more important than the actual network connection itself. Open and flexible technologies, such as SDN and NFV, were pioneered by Web-scale cloud providers. By building open ecosystems, providers like Amazon, Google, and Netflix were able to create compelling applications that kept users to their platforms. On the other hand, Access networks were built over the years on a patchwork of incompatible legacy technologies to deploy services such as circuit-switched voice, Ethernet, MPLS, mobile data, and broadband Internet. But embracing the telco cloud model of NFV, service providers could instead build an open platform that could accommodate the rapid deployment of access services, without requiring a new hardware architecture every step of the way. SD-Access will be a key element in building a new platform for customers.

This requires an integrated software platform that can adapt to quickly changing infrastructure needs – and integrate with a variety of access media. Overall, BSS of the future should become more than just billing and customer care. If OSS and BSS vendors can link SDN and NFV silos and build service agility and operations efficiency above both SDN and NFV and deliver it on cloud it will provide a business case for these critical new network technologies and help CSP migrate to OSS and BSS systems of the future.

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