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How SDN Technology Is Revolutionising Global Telecom Providers and Enterprise Service Deployment
By Benny Hu, AVP, Market Development, International Business HGC Global Communications
My career, spanning 20 years, has been on a transformational journey of its own. I started out as a system administrator of a manufacturing company in Melbourne, Australia, then served at a global telecom company as a solution consultant for product and service development. Now, I lead market development at HGC Global Communications Limited (HGC), a leading international fixed-line operator and ICT solution provider based in Hong Kong. In every industry I’ve worked in, it is evident that digital transformation is the key driver behind the most successful business models.
Technological advancements have brought about remarkable change in the way companies operate. Breakthrough technologies have led us from mainframe (stand-alone) to client/server (distribution network) systems; from COBOL (platform dependent) to Java Object Oriented (write once, run everywhere) programming; from local area networks to a global internet; from waterfall to DevOps models; from dedicated to virtualised to cloud platforms; and from database queries to AI-driven insights.
Not only that, technology has also revolutionised entire industries. We used to rent DVDs from our local Blockbuster, now we stream movies on Netflix. We used to buy $20 CDs at our local shop, now we buy $0.99 songs on iTunes or stream unlimited music with personal recommendations for $9.99 a month on Spotify.
SDN technology allows global telecom companies to rapidly adjust to dynamic market needs in a more efficient and scalable way than ever before
We used to buy clothes from local retail stores. Now, we buy them on our smartphones from anywhere in the world, thanks to ecommerce sites like Amazon and Alibaba. And advertising, once generic, is now highly targeted on platforms like Facebook and Google.
In the telecommunications industry, we are experiencing a shift towards software-defined networking (SDN). This technology allows global telecom companies to rapidly adjust to dynamic market needs in a more efficient and scalable way than ever before.
SDN is a computer networking approach that establishes centralised, programmable control points to orchestrate network services. The complementary approach of network functions virtualisation (NFV) focuses on the network services themselves. The two approaches are designed to move functionality to software and use commoditised servers and switches over proprietary hardware appliances. The use of these technologies is growing in correlation with cloud computing.
When we discuss digital transformation, we always focus on the layers of application. We expect to see more innovative ideas and disruptive business models being applied through SDN-enabled infrastructure in the years to come. Just as virtualisation technology is transforming application hosting with the cloud, SDN technology is transforming global telecoms with network connectivity. Global telecom providers require connectivity in several service segments, such as local loop, customer premise equipment, data centre interconnection, and global network routing with various service classes and multiple providers – all of which traditionally takes a great deal of effort and expense to provide.
A global telecom company with SDN capabilities can offer zero-touch circuit provisioning. Hybrid cloud connectivity makes it possible to achieve low latency, end-to-end, cross-country data centre connection; a direct connection to major public cloud providers; API information exchange; last mile service provisioning; almost instant service activation; and flexible billing.
Many enterprises are looking to harness opportunities in rapidly developing ASEAN economies. As a global network provider, HGC has been pioneering the development of an ASEAN alliance network since 1995. Now, the HGC Marketplace by SDN platform is empowering global customers by connecting them to domestic alliance networks and vice versa with ease and efficiency. Thus, HGC is opening opportunities for international enterprises to rapidly expand their markets in ASEAN countries by removing complications that would typically slow them down. With SDN technology, we can transform global telecom services in a new and innovative way.