Can Your Core Network be a Profit Center?
Aggregation networks are often the focus of telecom innovation because they feature the 10G services that support traffic flows from businesses, homes, and mobile base stations. This is where communications service providers have traditionally established their revenue streams.
However, times have changed—OTTs are eating into traditional revenue streams and cloud services, video streaming, the Internet of Things and more are creating traffic demands that existing networks often can’t handle.
The core network is often viewed as a cost center; but in the wake of increased traffic demands and the need for new revenue streams, it’s more important than ever that you turn your core network into a profit center by supporting advanced service interfaces.
The Aggregation Network Feeds Your Core Network
When looking at traffic flowing from the aggregation network to the core network, think of multiple small streams feeding a much larger stream. The low-speed 1G or 10G service interfaces in the aggregation network all come together in the 100G or higher core network. This transition is where many communications network challenges come into play.
The traditional means of supporting this transition is an all-optical, end-to-end solution. This approach uses optical add/drop multiplexers to eliminate the need for electrical conversions at intermediary nodes—which seemed efficient when your network supported uniform speeds from end-to-end. However, with such a large gap between the slower speeds in the aggregation network and the high capacity of the core network, a new solution is necessary.
To change the all-optical, end-to-end approach to transmission, new core network solutions must address the following business challenges:
- Fast, Flexible Provisioning: Service requests are changing rapidly and bandwidth connections must be created in a flexible manner to support evolving traffic patterns.
- Maximize Bandwidth Capacity: As we reach the Shannon Limit for information that can be sent over a given communication channel, the core network must be structured in a way that extracts the maximum bandwidth from the infrastructure.
- Packet Friendliness: Legacy services split voice and video traffic, but the world is increasingly moving to exclusive packet transfer. However, the core network must still be able to support both legacy and packet transmission.
Overcoming these three business challenges will enable core networks to support innovative new bandwidth services that will turn the former cost center into a profit center. However, without switching capabilities you won’t be able to make the most efficient use of your core network.
Optical Transport Network Packet Switches—Advancing the Modern Core Network
Implementing optical transport network packet switches eliminates the all-optical, end-to-end approach that has traditionally supported transmission. These switches convert optical signals back to your electrical domain and regenerates them onto new optical links, taking multiple low-speed interfaces and aggregating them on high-speed interfaces in the core network.
What exactly does this new approach do for you? Here are some of the key benefits:
- Incremental Investment: Cost-effective pluggables enable you to invest in one wavelength at a time as you build the efficient core network.
- Grooming: If you’ve invested in a 100G interface, you want to ensure that you’re maximizing your utilization. This approach can take 10 separate 10G signals and aggregate all services into one link, ensuring 100% utilization as opposed to the more typical 30%.
- Dynamic Restoration: Using automatically-switched optical network or wavelength-switched optical network capabilities, this approach offers failover benefits in case an individual service goes down.
- Support for SDN: This approach brings you one step further in the quest for practical SDN. When coupled with centralized intelligence, provisioning can be turned into revenue-generating services.
The short answer to our original question—can your core network be a profit center—is yes. However, you need to take the right approach rather than maintaining the traditional all-optical, end-to-end strategy that worked in the past. The use of high-capacity, optical transport network-packet switches is essential for advanced core networking—but this discussion only scratches the surface of the core networking discussion.
If you want to learn more about the value of ElastiNET™ core networking with optical transport network packet switches at the heart of it all, download the latest ECI white paper, Apollo OPT9900: Reimagining Core Networks, to discover how to turn the core network into a profit center.