KPN: “Networks need to support very different needs”

Remco HelwerdaBroadband World Forum researcher Sarah Bailey talks to Remco Helwerda, Innovation Strategy Consultant, Netco, KPN, Netherlands…

Sarah Bailey: What are the drivers behind SDN and NFV?

Remco Helwerda: The driver is that the demands from customers and users are changing. Telecoms networks need to support very different needs. This ranges from more bandwidth, lower latency and guaranteed QoS to quick provisioning and support of very different applications on various devices, across any access network.

What’s the advantage of virtualisation and how should it be implemented?

Virtualization in itself will help to open up the now still closed telco networks by providing programmable interfaces to control the networks. Virtualization itself must be implemented in an open way. There are some promising standardization developments (e.g. by TM Forum and ETSI), but a lot of work remains to be done.

What do you think will be the future role of SDN and NFV?

It is all about user experience. Low latency is crucial. One way that telcos can achieve this is by turning the current central offices into virtual datacentres using SDN and NFV technologies. This way the whole country will be covered by one virtual cloud. This enables to support the application of the user from a nearby location.

What are the telco opportunities for SDN in data centre and big data management?

The big opportunity for telcos is for the combining of the management of the applications in the data centres with the management of the networks needed to access these applications. SDN promises to enable control of both from one dashboard.

What are the challenges of effectively managing of NFV infrastructure?

The real challenge is not so much a technical one, but lies in the organization. We need to bring management of IT (information technology) and management of TI (technical infrastructures) together. That requires other skills, other expertise and another way of working and co-operating. It is also a change of culture.

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