Verizon says it has collaborated with router suppliers Cisco and Juniper Networks to combine the service edge routers that support its Ethernet and IP-based services onto a single platform. The approach leverages software-defined networking (SDN) to create a disaggregated control plane for the router platforms, which Verizon expects will improve operational efficiency. The use of external compute capabilities will provide the control plane with capabilities beyond that of a traditional router, the service provider adds.
The approach will simplify the network edge and improve infrastructure deployment and provisioning of infrastructure and services, Verizon says. Technology changes will become easier to deal with as well, the service provider expects. The operator has already begun to roll out the new technology, a process it expects will continue through the end of next year. By then, all legacy edge router functions should be replaced, Verizon says.
"Software-defined networking continues to deliver on its promise to improve network management and also enables us to be more nimble in the ways we serve our customers," said Michael Altland, director, Network Infrastructure Planning, at Verizon. "By decoupling the control plane from a carrier-grade provider edge routing platform and moving it to general compute servers, we can serve our consumer and enterprise customers from the same platform, giving them all the functionality they need, while running our networks far more efficiently. This will also allow us to take advantage of future advances in server technology as our networks continue to grow."
Verizon has been adopting SDN and virtualization principles to its IP network for some time (see, for example, "Verizon adds whitebox options to universal CPE line").
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