Events and Horizons

Telco, Europe and the rest of the world

To understand the state of the art and its most likely developments it is necessary to photograph the current situation and consider what planning is for the coming years.

There are currently two different philosophies of approach to digital data management, the SdN (Software defined Networks) system and the new and emerging Network Function Virtualization (NFV) system.

To understand SdN and NFV you must first refer to the concept of Virtual Machine (Vm) in computing, a concept that dominates today's development of large data centers. In traditional realizations, there was a tendency to set up specific vertical systems with the use of specific hardware and software, that is to say that a company used a real server to archive databases and to install web and mail services, with individual and granularized licensing and security policies.

In the first case, hardware was purchased on the basis of the need to use the software that would be installed, in the second case, with virtualization, the hardware will no longer have specificity, it will simply be standardized, and the virtualization platforms will create adequately sized partitions that will be presented to the end customer as if they were actually dedicated hardware and software.

The concept of virtualization has a very different foundation, based on the use of generic hardware and software, which provide the ability to create custom spaces, configurable with great versatility and scalability. Centralized maintenance operations allow management costs to be contained and the ability to accommodate a larger number of specific services on a single homogeneous platform.

On the virtualized layer, you will be able to install all the software platforms that the customer can request, easily defining processing power, storage size, and bandwidth for communications.

The European Telecommunications Standard Institute (ETSI) is the entity that has developed and programmed the progressive transformation of all fixed and mobile network devices into Virtual Machines. These will be managed through a global orchestration, maximizing efficiency and security, while simultaneously reducing the risks and problems arising from single node failure. The economic benefits will be considerable, both for operators and for end-users. Cloud Computing is overtaking its experimental phase and is set to become a de facto standard.

This type of tech approach also opens new communication protocols, nowadays defined by the conventional concept of traditional routers, which, as fast as they can, route data packets through IP addresses. In the future, more effective end-to-end connections will be available in terms of transferring large amounts of data or distributed computing. We talk about "application aware routing", i.e. the ability to process data routing based on customer's direct needs.

Unfortunately, despite the push for ETSI, Europe is still lagging behind Asia and the US, mainly because of the fragmentation of large Telco companies that have not yet adopted shared development plans. Spreading 5G structures will dramatically affect the entire production world companies, delivering ever-increasing amounts of less expensive monthly Gigabytes.

At the same time, some limitations on the quality and type of content that can be used nowadays on the Internet will undergo a transformation. The available bandwidth will enable the delivery of more qualitative and functional products. The huge amount of textual data present today will progressively develop into multimedia content, telecommuting, teleconferencing, telecontrol, and telelearning will become increasingly effective. The internet of things, domotics, automotive, research, all of these are industries and areas of application that will benefit greatly from the technological evolution of telecommunications.