Adopting effective test and measurement tools has always been important for monitoring the performance of a hardware-based network. In fact, Tektronix Communications has built its business on the back of providing a robust and reliable end-to-end service assurance platform for operators. In a virtualised environment, the needs of the operator are the same; they still rely on the ability to quickly diagnose and troubleshoot problems to ensure the highest possible level of customer experience.
Therefore, to avoid the risk of service disruptions, increased churn rates and damaged reputations when moving to software-based network architecture, it’s essential that operators have access to a rich set of solutions that are capable of giving the operators the real-time and end-to-end subscriber views. Tektronix Communications will play the role of a trusted partner by bringing to market innovative new solutions that will enable the operators to launch new services in an agile manner and to ensure network functionality and performance in a fast-moving virtualized environment.
Do you think telcos accept that virtualisation through NFV and SDN is now a requirement for their future survival?
It’s widely accepted that NFV represents the evolution of network design and ultimately holds the key to improving service delivery. The transition from hardware-based to software-defined networks will simplify process management and reduce overall expenditure. But there is also a realization industry wide that this is a journey and challenges remain with virtualizing processing functions that are of very high capacity (ex: user plane packet processing in EPC networks). The question that remains, however, is how operators will manage the move to a virtualised environment. To ensure things run smoothly, its vital operators establish new data and analytics strategies to ensure the process is seamless and new business opportunities are not lost.
In a virtualised environment it’s even more crucial to ensure visibility into the traffic as network functions become more dynamic and elastic. Operators really have a lot to consider before switching to NFV/SDN. They are in the early stages at the moment, and each operator will decide based on their own processes and workflows the level and depth that they will adopt the new technologies.
What development do you expect to see in the space over the next 12 months?
While the average subscriber’s data usage is showing no signs of slowing down, their reliance on traditional carrier-provided services, such as voice calls and text messages, continues to decrease. OTT players are undoubtedly driving down network operators’ ARPU, and this trend looks set to continue in 2015.
It is crucial, therefore, that operators adapt to the changing telecoms environment and seek to establish new revenue streams and cost reductions through NFV and SDN. Operators cannot afford to ignore the need for virtualisation, and as MWC 2015 made clear, the next 12 months will see progressive operators moving from planning and testing virtualised networks to implementing them on a larger scale.