Software-defined networking (SDN) is one of the two major pillars of network transformation that’s emerged this decade.
Developed to make networks more flexible and agile, SDN was originally designed to build and manage networks by separating the network’s control and forwarding planes and thus enable network control to become programmable in real time. The underlying infrastructure is in turn be abstracted for applications and network services.
When SDN was initially introduced, the focus was on sweeping physical routers out of the network, with the SDN solution playing a role in the data center and WAN.
However, this will change as we move to 5G
5G has specific features that encourage SDN deployment like network slicing and edge hosting. These open more deployment options for SDN in a 5G metro network that uses SDN for data center interconnect (DCI) and for mobility and content management.
5G and IoT will result in massive connections that will make network operations very complex. In the existing operations model, this will result in high OPEX that will be difficult to sustain. Therefore, service providers must evolve into the digital world with automated and intelligent operations so as to effectively respond to customers’ needs.
To achieve this, automation introduced by SDN that provides abstraction and programmability isn’t enough. We need to move towards autonomous networks. By this I mean networks that have the ability to apply AI and machine learning to self-configure, self-heal, self-protect, and self-optimize.
To make the shift to the autonomous networks, the next step with SDN is to introduce intelligence into the environment to better bridge the world of business intentions into the operations stage. This what we call the Intent Driven Network (IDN).
With IDN, service providers and enterprises can move towards a network that leverages cloud, AI, and big data technologies to align the network to business needs in real time. In practice this means benefits like delivering new business services and applications, meeting security policies, and adapting operational processes in a way that creates a seamless customer experience. It also means improved operational efficiency and innovation to drive true business value in the connected world of the future.
The IDN can accurately read the user’s intentions and make it happen, because network configuration is automated from end to end. These networks can also sense the quality of the user experience in real time, and perform predictive analysis to proactively optimize performance.
Huawei’s IDN will enable carriers and businesses to deliver solutions such as 5G bearer networks, home broadband networks, enterprise private lines, campus networks, data center networks, IP and optical transport networks and security, and in turn maximize business value.
Click the link for more information about Huawei’s IDN solution for enterprises.