IHS Markit's research finds most service providers plan to deploy software-defined networking (SDN), but there's still a long way to go.
The survey found that many have started, but most are at “early stages of a long-term transition”. While 100% of 23 service providers said they will deploy SDN at some point, more than three-quarters (78%) said they would have deployed or evaluated the architecture by the end of 2018, and 87% expect to have done so by the end of 2019.
Software-defined wide-area networks (SD-WANs) lead the list of SDN-based services expected to generate new revenue, with 78% of respondents identifying this as a key deployment goal, while 48% plan to implement network slicing for IoT.
Automation and reduction of CapEx and OpEx are also among the core goals for SDN deployments. By the end of 2019, 74% of respondents said they will use SDN to automate the delivery of new services, followed by operations and management at 65%.
The work done to date has also highlighted some ongoing obstacles to commercial deployment, operators report. These include the issue of products that are not carrier-grade and difficulty with integration into existing networks.
Michael Howard Senior Research Director, Carrier Networks, IHS Markit and author of the Carrier SDN Strategies Service Provider Survey said: “The majority of service providers are investing in SDN in order to simplify and automate the provisioning of their networks for end-to-end network and service management and control – with the goal of having a global view of network conditions across the various vendors’ equipment, network layers and technologies.
SDN figures in provider plans to generate revenue, with multi-cloud and network slicing for applications and IoT figuring more prominently this year.”
He added: “Still, carriers will learn that some avenues are not as fruitful as expected, and telecom equipment manufacturers and software suppliers may well invent new approaches that open up new applications.”