Smart Central Offices Coming to 85 Percent of Service Provider Networks This Year: IHS Markit

In 2018, 85 percent of operator respondents plan to create, or will have already deployed, smart central offices, according to a new operator survey by IHS Markit.  Specifically, operators will be installing servers, storage and switching to create mini data centers in selected central offices.


These mini data centers are used to offer cloud services, and as the network functions virtualization (NFV) infrastructure on which to run virtualized network functions (VNFs) such as vRouter, firewall, CG-NAT and IP/MPLS VPNs.

More than half of operators (55 percent) surveyed plan to move each of 10 different router functions from physical edge routers to VNFs running on commercial servers in mini data centers in smart central offices, including customer edge (CE) router, route reflector (RR) and others.

Seven out of 10 respondents plan to deploy central office rearchitected as a data center (CORD) in smart central offices.

By 2023, operators expect 44 percent of their central offices will have mini data centers (or smart central offices) and deploy CORD in half of those central offices.

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SDN and NFV are spurring fundamental changes in network architecture, network operations and how carriers are organized, which is illustrated by the purchasing decisions of operators worldwide. Nearly every operator around the world is undertaking major efforts.

More importantly, the move to SDN and NFV is changing the way operators make equipment purchase decisions, placing a greater focus on software. Although hardware will always be required, its functions will be refined, and software will drive services and operational agility.

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