SDN Invades UC Network Challenges; Boosts Static Networking Models

By CIOReview | Monday, December 7, 2015
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FREMONT, CA: UC (Unified Communication) is not a single product, but a suite of products including Call control and multimodal communications, Instant messaging, Unified messaging, Speech access and personal assistant, Conferencing, Collaboration tools, Mobility, Business process integration (BPI), and its softwares. As a solution, SDN (Software-Defined Networking) has the potential to make UC adaptive and agile to reduce network infrastructure costs which supports changing application and user needs. The significance of SDN stands out when it boosts the current static networking models to mitigate real-time UC network challenges.

SDN as a disruptive technology consists of real-time configuring of network devices such as switches, routers and optimizers which are programmed by the SDN controller. The controller interfaces with applications and interact with them to receive real-time instructions, requests and policy information. It regulates parameters like QOS (Quality of Service), bandwidth reservation and security in real-time. SDN’s role is to cater multiple simultaneous video conferences, data-hungry collaboration applications, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) competing Wi-Fi bandwidth and voice traffic bursts caused by business events.

To garner and assemble the SDN services requires both SDN-capable network and applications that provide SDN interfaces or APIs (Application Program Interfaces). The services includes VoWi-Fi (Voice Over Wi-Fi) calls, blocking unwanted traffic from entering the network, managing traffic flows across wired networks, and obtaining detailed per-call data to enable both reactive and proactive management of session quality.

Additionally, it contains another service called SD-WAN interfaces with applications, but it differs from the LAN and the data center focus of SDN where it allows policy and real-time network adjustments across wide area network services. This can be done by  devices placed at a branch, headquarters and data center locations; or in conjunction with carrier-based SD-WAN services.

Vendors like Ericsson, Juniper, Cisco, AT&T adopt SDN for leveraging its  capabilities to automate network provisioning, regulate traffic patterns without altering the existing physical networking infrastructure and in providing Security services in much faster, efficient and centralized manner. Also, there exists a hidden fact on cloud-based applications which face burdens because of its end-to-end latency and jitter in voice, video and conferencing.