SDN in the Backhaul: 4 Takeaways for a 5G World

Ola Gustafsson SDN backhaul expert for Aviat Networks.

Aviat Networks Chief Product Officer Ola Gustafsson talks about SDN 5G backhaul during AfricaCom 2016.

The most pressing business need in many networks deals with delivery of new services.The biggest evolution today in the backhaul network is the trend toward integration of IP/MPLS intelligence into microwave. Software-defined networking (SDN) remains another more recent trend in backhaul. However, as we’ve posted many times, integration of IP/MPLS intelligence into microwave systems provides a number of benefits. These include lower cost, fewer boxes to buy/deploy/maintain and better network performance overall such as lower latency and better reliability.

IP/MPLS Introduces Complexities

That said, IP/MPLS introduces some complexities—especially when it comes to service delivery. Overall network complexity remains a key challenge going forward. And automation of various aspects of the backhaul network will be required. Automation is a top motivation for SDN in the backhaul and service delivery automation exists as the number one use case. It exists as part of a larger framework to achieve operations simplification via automation. When considering the transition, operators need to think about how to leverage the IP/MPLS and Ethernet microwave investments being put in place today.

In a recent talk at AfricaCom, Ola Gustafsson, chief product officer and senior vice president, Aviat Networks, spoke about the need for automation in the backhaul network. This to lower cost and complexity. And he discussed transitioning microwave backhaul to software-defined networking solutions. He outlined the following four takeaways that:

  • SDN can help to improve performance of transport/backhaul networks
  • It can reduce cost to deploy and operate transport/backhaul networks
  • Coexistence between MPLS and SDN remains key
  • Standardization needed to maximize benefits

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