We are into 2018 and what better way to start the year with than a forward-looking blog! So, here we go, with our version of network predictions for 2018, trying to read into how the rest of the year will unfold for the networking industry. But rather than covering the entire world of IT and networking in general, we focus on three network service provider trends to watch out for in 2018.
While everyone is talking about SD-WAN and how it will make enterprise WAN connectivity cheaper and more flexible, we believe this is the year when network service providers, telecoms, and carriers will start adopting SDN in their production networks.
Carrier SDN or WAN SDN, which is different from SD-WAN, makes use of SDN to help service providers and network operators quickly cater to the requirements of their customers. There are numerous use cases for Carrier SDN, ranging from running networks hotter to achieving data sovereignty and enabling disaster recovery. At Packet Design, we are seeing a significant number of service providers who are considering, trialing or implementing Carrier SDN in their networks for a variety of reasons. Hopefully, 2018 will be the year when Carrier SDN adoption gathers pace.
Talking about SDN brings us to another trend – network automation. While network automation rides on top of Carrier SDN, we believe it deserves a place on its own.
Using SDN, service providers can enable automation in their networks to more quickly respond to customer demands. While we have talked about a few use cases for Carrier SDN, network automation could be the one that really takes off.
SDN technologies enable service providers to automate today’s manual tasks for planning or configuration changes. For example, with analytics-driven automation, networks can adapt to resolve service delivery issues associated with link congestion or failures by automatically provisioning new traffic paths. In fact, this has already been adopted in a production telecom network using the Packet Design Explorer SDN Platform. There are several ongoing trials of the SDN Platform for network automation use cases that are heralding a new era of self-driving networks.
Though Seamless MPLS is a concept that has been around for a while, 2018 will see more network operators and service providers implement it. Seamless MPLS is a network design concept that combines multiple MPLS layers – such as the access layer, aggregation layer, and core layer – into a single MPLS domain. With Seamless MPLS, network operators can create a flexible and scalable MPLS network architecture to deploy services more quickly and improve operational efficiency with unified network operations and management. With today’s increased pressure to contain capital and operational expenditures, Seamless MPLS is an elegant approach to using existing resources more efficiently.
Now, those are our three service provider trends to watch out for in 2018. What are yours?