In a recent speech at Broadband World Forum 2012, Ericsson CTO Ulf Ewaldsson emphasized the importance of innovation in networking technology in realizing an all-communicating world.
Ewaldsson said: ‘In Sweden, the time spent on the internet every week increased from eight hours in 2008 to 19 hours in 2012, and the trend is similar in other countries. We know those users appreciate mobility and high-quality access to the network. During the same period, the demand put on the network has changed enormously.
‘Voice-centric usage became mostly data in the mobile networks. The entire app industry went from zero to 35 billion apps in four years. We see increasing multi-screen viewing habits. This kind of never-ending innovation is a loop between consumer demand and network capacity and capability. Ericsson focuses on superior user experience and innovation in the networks.’
Ewaldsson believes it is no longer realistic to address the network as separate silos. The network must be capable of delivering the relevant, personalized, end-to-end, IP-based services and applications that meet users’ high expectations. This should be handled independently of the number of mobile or fixed subscribers, or video bandwidth demand.
Ericsson identified key technology areas for the future network:
• 4G IP, virtualization and SDN
• OSS and BSS and real-time analytics
• heterogeneous networks
Heterogeneous networks increase the coverage, bandwidth and signaling capacity of the mobile network and support very high traffic volumes and data rates through a seamless combination of low-power radio technologies – including all-sized cells and Wi-Fi access points – and an improved and densified macro network.
4G IP networking and SDN are key to building a future network that is smart, scalable, simple and capable of delivering superior performance, according to Ewaldsson. The new IP network needs to be something beyond the network we built for the internet boom. It should be ‘aware of’ users, services, devices, location and scale in bandwidth and connections/signaling, at the same time as being much simpler to operate and maintain.
Ericsson has introduced its latest Broadband Network Gateway application, based on the Smart Service Router to show the versatility and power featured in from these types of next-generation IP platforms.
SDN is an emerging technology with great potential beyond its application in data centers. SDN is about the virtualization of the control plane from the data-plane nodes. Ericsson sees the need for a Service Provider SDN. In order to give service providers the possibility to rationalize the network to deliver better user experience and extend their business model, the industry definition of SDN must be expanded from data centers to deliver the promise of lower costs and new business opportunities for service providers.
Ewaldsson stressed: ‘SDN in the telco-operator domain is much more than (the Layer 2 communications protocol) OpenFlow. It’s not about only managing the data planes in switches and routers, but about having fully integrated network control by connecting the SDN management layer to the cloud and network management. This offers a new view on networking.
‘Operators can orchestrate network resources on different layers for different purposes under the same management system. In addition, the SDN architecture must also provide network awareness to the application layer through service exposure APIs. At the same time, we need innovation on the support system side. OSS and BSS and big data analytics provide the insight into the network and user behavior that allow the operator to adapt and manage the network to serve the user.’