These key attributes bring these benefits. Lets take a closer look.
Attributes and Benefits of SDN
Logically Centralized Intelligence
By having centralized intelligence instead of distributed autonomous systems, we enable client layers and applications to take decisions based on a global (or domain) view of the network.
This attribute has many benefits, as it allows applications via Rest APIs or Openflow to remotely configure and re-configure the network, i.e. turn up, modify and tear down communication services based on the domain view of the network.
Programmability is the capability to allow software to control the behaviour of the network. Programmability has important benefits and the biggest one is that it allows vendors and operators to automate network configuration, to happen in response to bandwidth demand or traffic patterns.
This automation capability will allow operators to differentiate and innovate.
With SDN, the applications that consume the communication services are abstracted, or decoupled from the underlying network technologies. In the same manner, network devices are also abstracted or decoupled from the SDN control layer. The benefit? Investments in applications and control software becomes future proof, portable!
And the question arises: can we use SDN to control wireless transmission to achieve the agility and flexibility needed?
Implementing SDN in Wireless Transmission
Extending the Standards
SDN and specifically the OpenFlow standard needs to be extended in order to support wireless transport networks. Until recently, the OpenFlow standard focused on the packet-oriented Layers 2 and 3.
Multiple standard bodies like ONF, OIF, ITU-T, BBF and TMF are working to extend OpenFlow to cover domains like Optical Transmission and Radio Access in order to support critical operations, administration and maintenance (OAM) capabilities, such as protection and performance monitoring.
Work is required also to extend OpenFlow for Wireless Transmission. These extensions will be discussed in a following article, together with use cases.
What about multi-X networks?
In real life, wireless transmission is just one of the many technologies used in operators transmission networks. These networks tend to be multi-X networks, as they can be multi-technology, multi-vendor, multi-domain and multi-layered. So what can you do in these cases?
The answer here is Orchestration, defined as the capability to manage (i.e. turn up, modify and tear down) communication services over a multi-X network. Orchestration will be discussed in a following article.
In the new era of intense competition where technology advances are affecting every day life, bandwidth growth never seems to end and traffic patterns are unpredictable. Operators need therefore their wireless transport networks to become dynamically programmable in order to offer new services and match capacity to traffic demand without over-provisioning. Applying SDN to wireless transmission, will provide the architecture and mechanisms necessary to enable programmatic and dynamic control which will increase operator’s revenue opportunities and operational agility.
Discuss with us!
Do you agree that SDN is important for wireless transmission? What are the use cases and Openflow extensions you would like to see in a following article? Use the comments below to give us your opinion.