Colt, Verizon show off inter-carrier SDN

Care for some extra bandwidth? Just turn the knob

One thing that's always been promised in telco-land, but rarely delivered, is genuine automation between carrier networks. At the end of last week, Verizon and Colt claimed to crack it with an inter-carrier software-defined-networking (SDN) demo.

Verizon's put a lot of effort into software-defined networking development over the years, but up until now it's concentrated on what happens inside its vast operational environment. It nominated its preferred SDN development partners in 2015, and showed off virtual CPE in 2016.

However, the carrier boundary has remained just that, a boundary.

That makes the Verizon-Colt test significant: not only do two network operators need sufficient technical interoperability and integration to see into each others' networks, they also need to trust each other.

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In the demonstration, Verizon says, the two companies were “able to make near-real-time bandwidth changes in each other’s production networks,” something that “marks an important step in enabling real-time cross-carrier automation.”

Verizon's EMEA head of product development Peter Konings positioned the cross-carrier elasticity as an important contribution to enterprise technology.

Mirko Voltolini, Head of Network On Demand at Colt said SDN broke down the closed systems that made interoperability between service providers “extremely difficult”.

The two companies are working on standards in the Metro Ethernet Forum, with a focus on business and operational APIs under the heading LSO (Lifecycle Service Orchestration). ®

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