March 19, 2018 by Teresa Mastrangelo

No Snake Oil Here – Software Defined Access Is Ready for Primetime


How would you feel about a solution that could eliminate vendor dependence, product obsolescence and allow the faster introduction of new products and services?

What if I also told you it was completely agnostic to the type of access network technology in your network (copper, fiber, cable, etc.)? Would you be intrigued?

Finally, what if I said this solution would enable a flexible, user-driven, on-demand service delivery environment that enables increased automation and network programmability, faster service activation, accelerated innovation cycles, and new business models that can derive additional value from the network.

Would you think I was trying to sell you some snake oil?

It might sound too good to be true, but these are just a few of the many benefits of implementing virtualization technologies into your access network to create the Software Defined Access (SDA) network.

The need for transformation to address the multitude of challenges facing service providers is no longer optional, but an imperative to achieve long term competitiveness. This is particularly true for the access network which faces its own unique set of challenges: dealing with a multi-technology network and vendor proprietary specialized hardware, extreme and harsh environments, and a non-redundant physical outside plant.

But perhaps the greatest challenge is addressing the ever-increasing demand for bandwidth. This is resulting in a more complex network as operators deploy a variety of solutions to address the diverse requirements necessary to provide end-users with 24-hour, 7 days a week connectivity to the cloud and its wealth of content and applications.

To help service providers address these challenges, access network equipment vendors are leveraging the principals of two key foundational technologies - Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN) to enable access network transformation.

Software Defined Access brings technologies and design concepts from the data center into the access network, adapted to meet the specific needs of the physical distribution network.

While implementation of SDA will vary from network to network - we have outlined a set of strategic building blocks in a recently released special report – Software Defined Access: The Key to Future Competitiveness. Decoupling software from hardware, implementing modular software platforms, and adopting open standard APIs for all network functions allow operators to accelerate their adoption of SDN without incurring significant changes to their existing systems. Furthermore, these strategic building blocks serve as a foundation for further transformation and migration to next generation central office architectures.

While transformation can be a daunting task, service providers should focus on the areas where they can maximize their return on investment in SDA – such as areas of the access network that are not currently automated, or for which innovation can drive revenue opportunities.

Some recent examples of operators that are benefitting from the Calix AXOS implementation of SDA Software Defined Access include:

The Software Defined Access: The Key to Future Competitiveness special report explores why transformation across three key areas – network, business and organization – must be a strategic imperative for all service providers. It also examines more closely the benefits of SDA, along with the necessary key building blocks to help service providers begin their evolution towards implementing a Software Defined Access network. Download the report here.

Software Defined Access is a key step towards helping service providers to modernize their access networks, while simplifying network operations and processes; reducing total cost of ownership, accelerating time to revenue and improving the overall quality of experience for the subscriber.

No snake oil here. Just solutions that are ready for deployment in your network today.