Speaking at the Brooklyn 5G Summit, organized by Nokia and NYU Wireless Research Center, Adam Koeppe, vice president of technology planning at Verizon, said the company’s efforts to virtualize its network are providing the groundwork for 5G.
“Customers expect to experience the network,” he said. “If you are not virtualizing it, you are missing the boat.”
Specifically, Koeppe said Verizon is pushing ahead with virtualization so that it can more quickly deliver changes in services to customers. “Change is expected to be in real-time so customers can get the benefits the fastest.”
However, Koeppe conceded that overhauling the network so it is more automated and virtualized is a painful transition for service providers that are used to slower deployment cycles and lengthy requests for proposals (RFPs). “As an operator, you have to build in resiliency and reliability to your network. How do you maintain that reliability and resiliency and leverage SDN and virtualization?”
Koeppe’s remarks are indicative of the growing divide between service providers that are accustomed to guaranteeing a five-nines network reliability standard, and software companies that are used to having their products deployed quickly.
Koeppe recognizes the need for telcos to rethink their processes. “We need West Coast innovation rather than a slow, monolithic process.”
The need for service providers to reconsider their standing processes around deploying and validating technology is a familiar refrain among vendors. At the NFV World Congress in San Jose, Calif., this week, many conversations on the sidelines and on panel discussions have been about how operators need to adapt their processes if they want the benefits of SDN and network functions virtualization (NFV).
On a panel at the NFV World Congress earlier this week, Aloke Tusnial, vice president of global sales at NEC/NetCracker, said that service providers are accustomed to deploying “black boxes” that don’t fail – and to working with vendors that will provide service-level agreements so that if something goes wrong, the operator has a “single throat to choke.”
However, this transition is requiring operators to throw away the reliable box. “This is not an easy process. This is a big dilemma for them,” said Tusnial.