Telecom kit maker Huawei has unveiled a new cloud-based future network architecture called SoftCOM, which uses software-defined network (SDN) technology in an attempt to simplify network administration.
Network architecture has become increasingly complex with infrastructures needing to provide more and more functionality, necessitating an evolutionary overhaul of traditional designs. Huawei characterises the SoftCOM evolution as "a move towards breaking down complex issues, optimising resource allocation, and ultimately, simplification of the entire process".
"Current network infrastructure designs have not kept pace with ever-growing requirements and in our conversations with telecom operators, we know that they are struggling to keep up with the rapid network upgrades necessary to support their customers' increasing demand for bandwidth and personalised services," said Prof Sanqi Li, CTO, Carrier Network Business Group, Huawei.
"Most critically, these operators have been unable to reap appropriate returns on the investments in supporting this demand growth. The industry must recognise the need for changes in its approach to managing network architecture, and that these changes should not be made in isolation. SoftCOM provides a holistic approach to help operators enhance competitiveness and optimise their returns on investment."
Huawei describes the SoftCOM strategy as being underpinned by four key elements: equipment-level cloudlisation, involving the decoupling of hardware and software; network-level cloudlisation, which dictates the decoupling of forwarding and controlling; telecom IT cloudlisation, where traditional IT infrastructure is transformed to a cloud-based model; and Internet-oriented operation, which transforms telecom-oriented systems to Internet-oriented systems.
In conjunction with the SoftCOM approach, Huawei is proposing a ‘Dig In, Widen Out' strategy, which it says will help operators reduce TCO and create innovative business models with open networks.
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‘Dig In' is aimed at bringing about network optimisation, thereby transforming the existing high CapEx and high OpEx model to a substantially lower TCO model through network abstraction, programmability, control simplicity and management automation, enabled by SDN, NFV and cloud computing technologies.
Huawei also expects SoftCOM to facilitate structural TCO reduction.
"Through equipment-level cloudlisation, network resources can be flexibly shared and utilisation maximised," the company said.
"Networks will become much more scalable, network functions can be defined on-demand and time-to-market of services can be shortened. Through network-level cloudlisation, network capabilities are consolidated in an abstract manner, which will enhance network intelligence.
‘Widen Out' aims for network monetisation by transforming traditional rigid business models to one that is open, agile and enables new services. "
"This new model will enable operators to establish key differentiators and new value propositions in the new digital eco-system by leveraging the operator's key strengths and capabilities, achieved by building a converged cloud platform across distributed data centres and wide-area network infrastructure," Huawei said.