A New Network Edge Platform for CSPs

By: Marc LeClerc

Exponential growth in the use of mobile phones, connected devices, and online services has radically impacted the networking game for service providers, governments, and enterprises. For communication service providers (CSPs), the economics of deploying 5G, service virtualization, containerization, multi-access edge computing (MEC), latency-sensitive applications, and AI-based automation are significantly increasing the complexity of delivering networking capacity, while still ensuring both security and quality.

Along with the rapid growth of connected devices and applications, traffic patterns are becoming more fluid and harder to predict. In conventional architectures, network capabilities and applications are mostly isolated one from the other, with neither one knowing very much of what the other is doing or how its behavior might benefit or hinder the functions of the other.

Overall, CSPs are faced with many challenges to remain competitive in the marketplace and are working hard to deliver the services users want, optimize their usage of network resources, and reduce network energy consumption and carbon footprint.

To meet these needs, networking technology has come a long way in recent years, and communications service providers have had to rapidly adapt their network infrastructures, presenting them with both technical and business challenges that traditional network fabrics were never designed to meet. With the right strategies and solutions, CSPs can be well-positioned to succeed in the face of these challenges.

Service insertion and service composition

Let’s start with two of the biggest challenges for many communication service providers: service insertion and service composition. Service insertion refers to the ability of a service provider to add, modify, or delete services from a network without disrupting the existing services. Service composition is the ability of a service provider to combine multiple services into a single service.

Both of these capabilities can be difficult to implement, as they require a deep understanding of the network and the services being used. This is made even more complex as many users access Internet and cloud-based applications from multiple different sources with expectations of a good user experience regardless of what network these services originate from. An economic concern for CSPs is how to transparently deploy services anywhere in the network where compute, storage, and latency requirements can be delivered most cost-effectively, or how to take advantage of underutilized resources as network usage patterns fluctuate in time or according to geographic factors such as time zones.

The need to elastically scale services

Another major challenge is the need to elastically scale services to multiple terabits. With the rapid growth of connected devices and applications, traffic patterns are becoming more fluid and harder to predict. In order to keep up with the ever-growing demand for data and the accelerating volatility of service usage, service providers must be able to scale their network services quickly and reliably to the appropriate capacity, both up and down. This can be difficult and expensive, but it is essential to remain competitive in the market.

Monetizing new services

The fourth major challenge that communications service providers face is how to expand options for the monetization of new services and support new business 


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