Verizon announces major SDN transmission technology partners

Verizon has begun to release details of its plans to employ software-defined networking (SDN) principles in its infrastructure. This includes the revelation that it has tapped Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Ericsson, Juniper Networks, and Nokia Networks as technology partners in the effort.

Verizon has begun to release details of its plans to employ software-defined networking (SDN) principles in its infrastructure. This includes the revelation that it has tapped Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Ericsson, Juniper Networks, and Nokia Networks as technology partners in the effort.

According to Brian Higgins, Verizon vice president of network planning, the carrier initially has focused on employing SDN on its wireless and wireline infrastructures between the data center and the network edge – hence the announcement of partnerships with routing and wireless infrastructure vendors. Higgins says Verizon is engaged with "north of 20" smaller technology vendors in a range of proof of concept and technology development efforts as well. For example, he said that Verizon is exploring potential partners for development of an SDN controller.

Higgens mentioned that OpenStack will be an important element of Verizon's approach. He said other software, protocol, and interface cornerstones are in discussion and will be revealed at a later time.

Verizon expects SDN to streamline and reduce the cost of service turn up, as well as speed the deployment of new services. The first impact of SDN will come in consumer services, Higgins said, with announcements expected later this year. Additional SDN-enhanced services for other customers should roll out in 2016.

Opportunities for application of SDN to the optical layer are "further out" than the consumer and other network services now in discussion, he added.

With the goal of rolling out the initial consumer-focused services later this year, hardware and code development has already begun, Higgins said. Verizon and its technology partners are collaborating on an SDN network architecture document that will guide contributors on how to work in the upcoming environment, including the control layer and what a Verizon press release described as "forwarding box functions."

To support the SDN development effort, Verizon has created live lab environments in San Jose, Tampa, and Waltham, MA. This last facility was involved in last year's transport SDN demo co-produced by the Open Networking Foundation and the Optical Internetworking Forum (see "OIF and ONF enjoy joint Transport SDN demonstration success").

Verizon also has established commercial data center environments on both the East and West Coasts.

For more information on high-speed transmission systems and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer's Guide.

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