By: Vijayaraman Subramanian- Senior Delivery Head, Verizon
We live in very exciting times. Viewed through the prism of networking, the vibrancy of our connected world unfolds in its full grandeur.
Internet of Things (IoT) is gaining ground and fast. Imagine every smart device communicating with each other within a house, a smart instrument communicating from mid sea back to its home base on the shore, or a fast moving car communicating with its maker half-way across the globe. Possibilities of a turbocharged life, but they all put enormous pressure on the underlying networks, which seem to be bursting at the seams already. And the revolution has just begun!
Fast-paced digitization continues to shape strategic and operational decisions of network providers across the globe. The key is to keep pace with the changing landscape while being able to scale and sustain growing demands being made on their networks. To keep pace, telecom players are re-inventing themselves. One of the key measures today is the cost-per-bit of a network; this enables the network operators to measure their efficiency and profitability.
As the world consuming the network is changing by the day, there is a tectonic shift playing out beneath our view. The network we know today would soon be more software and less hardware. The network devices like routers and switches would be virtualized network functions (VNF), running on commoditized hardware stacks built using open frameworks (like OCP) and developed by the best engineers around the world collaborating through open source (like OpenStack) or possibly through some proprietary software modules.
Every big telco or network gear maker is engaged in the effort to deliver enhanced customer experiences and to bring down the cost of building out a network as well as maintaining one. The NFV (Network Function Virtualization) is real and is happening around us. On the wireless front, optimizing the Radio Access Network (RAN) continues to be a huge opportunity. One of the biggest cost components for wireless provider is spectrum.
Yet the most interesting opportunity for these providers is probably still lying ahead of them. In building a digital ecosystem, the providers have to re-imagine their relationship with their customers. The ecosystem will have to cater to a variety of customers-individuals, businesses or governments. And this opens up opportunity to offer analytics and derive insights.
This said their vast experience in running large-scale networks that connect customers with high-quality services and realize the possibilities of the digital world, positions the operators well for the future. And any extent of virtualization cannot negate the fundamentals of a reliable network. The insatiable need for bandwidth and, connectivity raise an everyday question- what do we want to build next? And it takes a network that lives up to the challenge to run what you build.