Old Generation to Next Generation to Software Generation Networks - How Softwarization is Changing the Telco Landscape





Telecommunications networks and systems have come a long way from the days of Alexander Graham Bell. Old generation Networks (OGN) of the past based on Circuit Switching (TDM platforms) have now evolved to Next Generation Networks (NGN) based on Packet Switching (IP/Ethernet platforms).

On the business side, while the revenues remain flat, the investments need to  build the capabilities required to support the ever increasing traffic and customer demanding services, is keep on increasing creating a gap between cost and profits. This has become a problem for both the developed and the developing countries alike. From one side, the cost (both capex and opex) need to come down and on the other side, new services/products need to be introduced to the market with short time-to-market to tap new revenues. This requires dynamic, flexible, agile, programmable networks and systems.

Softwarization which encompasses SDN (Software Defined Networks), NFV (Network Functions Virtualization), Cloud and Virtualization seem to be the answer and I term the new network as Software Generation Network (SGN). The ultimate objective is to transform the traditional business of being a Communications Service Provider (CSP) to become a Digital Service Provider (DSP) or a Digital Lifestyle Service Provider. Softwarization of Telecom networks and systems gives rise to emerging business models, ecosystems and competitive strategies for the CSP to regain their lost foothold in the industry.  

In my speech, I will walk-through the history of telecommunications form OGN to NGN to SGN. Emphasis will be put on to identify the present day problems/issues – both technical and non-technical and to show how Softwarization as a strategic direction solves most of the problems. I will also explain, even though there are lots of discussions around the topic, why it’s taking so long for CSPs to make the transformation, what are the roadblocks and what need to be done to overcome those.

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