Intelligent CIO Middle East Issue 23 - Page 37

TALKING BUSINESS “Using configurable variable bit-rate coherent optics combined with real-time link engineering tools, CSPs can safely exploit excess margin to extract more value from existing assets.” C ommunications service providers (CSPs) share a near universal goal: to drive down network costs and increase profitability. This goal boils down to three basic elements: reducing capital and operating expenditures, while improving the range and quality of services offered. CSPs must also meet the growing unpredictable network connectivity requirements of IoT devices and on-demand streaming services. To achieve this combination of seemingly conflicting goals, CSPs are taking steps to transform their optical networks. Moving from static, ‘one-size-fits-all’ models to open and programmable network platforms that deliver the exact level of performance required at any point in time. CSPs need to be able to easily tune, control, and dynamically adjust optical capacity as needed. This will enable them to more efficiently address end users’ requirements. In the Middle East, we are also seeing a growing presence of internet content players like Facebook, Google and Amazon working with service providers to bring content closer to the end-user. We also see a growth of private and public cloud infrastructure being built by large enterprises and network operators alike. As a result, optical networks need to be more dynamic so that they can respond in real-time to the unexpected bandwidth requirements driven by content moving to the cloud. Underpinning the new autonomous network approach is software defined networking (SDN), where software is used to automate processes and help increase revenue potential. SDN also transforms the way optical networks are built, by eliminating old processes and enabling new operational practices. Engineers can be more creative in how they design the network when some hardware barriers are removed. For example, historically, the limited visibility into network performance has meant that conservative engineering assumptions are made when planning optical network capacity. This results in a network with excess SNR (signal-to-noise ratio) margin that operates at sub-optimal capacity. Now, with real-time monitoring and reporting, network planners can use network management and planning tools to operate existing network assets more efficiently and avoid premature overbuilds. “Network capacity and other infrastructure is often sitting idle and not generating revenue.” INTELLIGENTCIO 37