PacketFront Software speaks at VNF Management & Orchestration in Barcelona April 28-29

PacketFront Software speaks about A Pragmatic Approach to SDN & NFV at VNF Management&Orchestration in Barcelona April 28-29 . We will also demonstrate how our product BECS is a powerful tool for anyone who believes that legacy systems will exist a long time, while still wanting to reap the benefits of SDN and NFV immediately.

Come and listen to our Head of Product Management, Henrik Johansson, covering a topic we know are top of mind for many operators: while SDN & NFV will solve many problems, they will not solve all of them . As an operator you will not rip and replace your entire network. You will not redo your entire OSS/BSS stack. So how can SDN & NFV help you today?

Henrik will talk about some low hanging fruit on your road towards NFV nirvana. And even if you don’t get there in a long time, you can still have major gains with very little investment. At the end of the day, this is all about making money, so what can be done to shorten e.g. lead-times for new service offerings?

Henrik will demonstrate technology available already today and usable in your existing network and he will look at and discuss a few different practical use-cases and he will propose a pragmatic, step-wise approach for the transformation of your network.

Welcome to meet with us and our booth for in-depth discussions!

/Ulf AVRIN, Henrik JOHANSSON and Anders WÄLIVARA ; and

“Our network is so complex that it is impossible to automate”

The headline could be a quote from one of our many meetings with potential customers. Somewhere there is an understanding that automation is the way to go in order to make time available for developing new services. However, the perception that one is stuck in existing structures is deeply ingrained, as well as the culture that “we have always done like this”. Among those responsible a certain resignation is present, based on the fact that on the one hand they want to be able to introduce new services quickly and smoothly. On the other, the knowledge that they have tens or even hundreds of different IT systems which need to be updated in various ways when new services are introduced. Much of the energy and resources are also spent on updating the switches and routers manually to keep the networks running. All this takes time. Not seldom does it take between 18-24 months for each new service to be implemented.

Operators all energy is occupied to maintain the daily delivery and at the same time they experience declining margins in the existing business. Operators see themselves reduced to a mere “Internet pipes”, where the only means of competition is who can carry X Mbit / s cheapest as revenues from the old services, such as telephony and television are falling steadily. To protect themselves they desperately try to block services such as Skype for their customers. In reality, this means that the power of innovation does not exist within these companies.

The end result is that operators existing structures are maintained and that the new innovations tend to come instead from third parties, such as Google or Netflix. These companies thus “owns” the relationship with the end customer and in the end also earn major part of the money.

To be able to reverse this situation, operators must become more innovative and agile in their service packaging. In this situation they cannot be limited by technology or structures. And thus operators must be released from the hardware connection in their networks. That is a prerequisite for creating the faster innovation cycle that operators need. One core solution to the problem can be spelled “network harmonization”, where an abstraction layer is created between the network and the systems above. The major benefits of this approach are twofold:

  • The abstraction layer isolates the overlaying OSS and BSS systems from the network structure. By doing this, the introduction of services is considerably faster as the systems in the OSS/BSS layer do not need to consider how new or changed services are realized in the network.
  • The automation makes network changes in minutes instead of weeks or even months. This is especially valuable in large and complex networks using many network technologies and topologies.

In our next blogpost we will look at another myth that abound – the risks of reforming the network. In our experience, as we shall see, the risks are part of the deep-rooted mythology as there are ways to transform the network, without having to end up in the “big bang” situation.

Obsolete structures in the telecoms industry put a wet blanket over new innovations

Welcome to Packetfront Software’s new blog. Here we will publish regular posts about issues surrounding the telecommunications industry and the business of operators in particular. Our intention is to highlight the many challenges our customers and potential customers face today.

All too often we notice an unwarranted resignation among them to many of the problems facing the industry. One such recurring problem or theme is the energy and focus they are forced to devote to keep their networks up and running manually.

The instant parallel you get is how the auto industry looked like 40 years ago, then with a high degree of manual processes and high dependency on individual skills to handle many routine operations in the production. Today the auto industry has evolved and is now highly automated and will become even more so in the future. The same thing has happened in most other industries, including agriculture.

But in the telecom industry the degree of automation of routine activities are at best rare, at worst non-existent. It forces the operators to put a lot of energy and resources into just keeping their networks up and running. Too much resources. This is reflected in the low number of new services and innovation level in the telecommunications industry. And the new services that are being developed are not coming from the operators themselves, but driven by the over-the-top content (OTT) providers, such as Google and Netflix. Consequently, it is the OTT which in many cases “owns” the customer and thus earn the money.

But this scenario can be changed we believe. In a series of blog posts, we aim to provide you with our views and thoughts on this situation. What problems do we see and how can the power of innovation be returned to the operators again. For without the innovation of new services that can be realized at the rate customers are demanding, the telecommunications industry will end up in a cul-de-sac. A large scale elimination of operators will take place as many of them end up being only bit pipes, constantly struggling with price pressure and increasingly dependent on volumes in order to make a profit.

A major problem that permeates the entire telecom sector today are the many myths that exist. We often encounter these myths in our contact with customers and we will initially focus on the three of the most common ones:

  • “Our network is so complex that it is impossible to automate.”
  • “Changing our network would involve excessive risks”.
  • “The transformation of our network will take a very long time and cost significantly more than it tastes. We simply do not have the time to look over our network right now”.

All these myths are, as we will discover, practical (and mental) barriers to innovation. In our next post, we will develop the context around the myth of network complexity.