Network slicing is the ability to carve out and dedicate different sets of resources, end-to-end, from a common network, to support different types of service. It is tightly linked with 5G mobile, where its role is to magically provide networking support for 5G’s multiple service classes – headlined by high-speed mobile broadband, low-latency critical communications, and massive IoT.
As the ‘softwarization’ of the networking industry progresses, it brings with it some interesting concepts. Some which promise to make our customer's life better, others make ours (vendors) lives more… interesting. So similar to network slicing, the holy grail of the 5G networks to come, it seems that also pricing can be sliced, with interesting effects on business relationships and models. Of course slicing a vendor’s offer into little pieces to negotiate them one by one has always been a basic tool for every purchasing department, but applying new concepts to slice prices in a dynamic way takes it to a new level… and that’s where we will stop referring to the analogy the writer of this blog is so proud of.
The first two attendees that I spoke with last week at NGON Africa in Cape Town expressed often held views that leading edge technology does not apply to Africa. The first was a young technologist who came by as we were unpacking equipment for display at the ECI booth. He asked about the hardware and I explained the 100Gbps transponder that we had installed in a 3RU Apollo™ shelf. His reaction was, “I can’t imagine we need anything that fast in Africa.” The second was a critical infrastructure operator who explained that he was not convinced yet that Africa was ready for the move from copper to fiber.
We are living in an era of instant communication and gratification. And, while daily life seems to be going faster and faster, the road systems seem to be moving slower and slower. I waste hours on the road in bumper to bumper traffic, listening to the radio… growing increasingly frustrated. I continue listening to the radio hoping to learn why traffic is delayed. By the time the report finally comes, it is clear that the news is old and no longer correct. I am further frustrated. Sound familiar?
When it comes to examples of aiming high and failing on a grand scale, systems that combine layers 0 to 3 in one solution (a.k.a. God Boxes), are among the first examples that come to mind. However, whether due to lack of Packet features, missing price points or organizational hurdles, they came and went. And I know that as a vendor one should be very careful to not leave the impression that you are actually trying to build one (again).
But the concept is still intriguing…
The last post on the topic of interface to the routing system (I2RS) discussed use cases; this one will provide an overview of the I2RS architecture, and then consider some challenges in the neighborhood of I2RS. The architecture of I2RS is considered in the illustration below.
This is the sixth in a series of blogs on the topic of the evolving enterprise WAN that is based on a survey that was completed in May 2016 by 110 network professionals. The previous blogs were: