Influenced by the network and services scale and agility that data center networks have achieved over the past decade, telecommunications networks are now applying those same architectural principles to transform the way in which broadband networks are being built going forward. The resultant next generation network drastically streamlines service and application innovation to enable new revenue streams offsetting the increased competition from (Over-the-Top) OTT providers and the cost of maintaining annual double-digit LTE, enterprise and broadband traffic growth.

This is not about creating data centers and putting them into telecom central offices and exchanges or broadband vendors building data centers solutions. It’s about applying the principles that data center networks have employed to create a better broadband network connecting the cloud/data center edge to the subscriber edge. It is about applying the lessons learned – after all, SDN and NFV principles have been leveraged for years within the data center industry.

When I refer to broadband networks, I am talking about advanced fixed network technologies like 10Gps Passive Optical Networks (10G PON), e.g. ITU-T G.989 (NG-PON2). Broadband in this context means supporting both Gigabit residential and premium business services delivery as well as mobile backhaul, fronthaul and C-RAN network support.

The fundamental data center principles which are being leveraged to advance these next-generation broadband networks include:

  • • Disaggregation of network elements and management systems to remove vertically integrated vendor silos and transition to open networking architectures.
  • • Virtualization of applications through NFV principles to reduce the reliance on purpose-built hardware solutions and increase the network agility through software-centric solutions.
  • • Network automation through SDN programming via open APIs to reduce service provisioning times, errors, and IT complexity while enabling customer self-service capabilities.

    Applying data center principles to network means promoting the economic advantages of data center architecture, which include:

  • • Assuring consumer quality of experience by leveraging highly scalable, pay-as-you-grow datacenter switching and PON access architectures
  • • Enabling the rapid creation of differentiated services by supporting micro-release schedules more aligned with service provider DevOps teams
  • • Eliminating the high cost of network overhead by minimizing vendor lock-in through the use of open interfaces and open APIs for true SDN programmability.

    It is paramount, especially for larger, multi-domain, multi-vendor network operators to balance service velocity with the network traffic growth driven by consumer demand and OTT service models. In acknowledgement of this, open, programmable and scalable ITU-T NG-PON2 solutions are being developed to support the desired rapid creation of new user-enabled services while also drastically lowering the total cost per bit delivered. This will go a long way to restoring economic balance.

    To learn more about this topic, check out the archived webinar with ADTRAN and US Telecom, “Data Center Architectures for Next-Gen Broadband and Business Networks."