All-Cloud Networks: Enabling Telco Business Success in the Cloud Era

All-Cloud Networks: Enabling Telco Business Success in the Cloud Era

David Wang, President, Network Solutions, Huawei

Over the next few years telecom operators are expected to deliver technologies and services that will drive economic and societal progress. The emergence of Gigaband connectivity is accelerating the growth of 4K and VR, large-scale enterprise digitalization and industry Internet of Things (IoT), placing telecom operators at the center of delivering a superior Real-time, On-demand, All-online, DIY and Social (ROADS) experience for both enterprise and consumer customers. To compete in this new landscape, operators are increasingly shifting their operational models from being investment-oriented to becoming business-value oriented.

Operators must redefine their business roadmaps in the smart society era

The demand for these services together with intensifying competition from OTT players to roll out services faster, will place pressure on operators’ existing networks, never seen before. Many operators will be challenged with the rigidity and complexity of their networks which limit their ability to meet customers’ needs. Operators need to rethink their networks so they can support growth, deliver high service levels and reduce costs. Networks were traditionally designed for speed rather than flexibility, but that will no longer suffice when flexible cloud-based services are becoming the norm.

To gain greater agility and flexibility, operators need to transform from traditional static, equipment-centric network planning, deployment and management to a dynamic, on-demand approach that will enable them to rapidly expand or change services to meet customer demands.  Huawei’s end-to-end All-Cloud network, introduced at Mobile World Congress 2017 (MWC17), demonstrates how telecom operators can evolve their networks to innovate and grow in the digital era.

“All-Cloud Networks” featuring agility, intelligence, efficiency and openness enable digital transformation

Over the past 20 years, more than 400 operators worldwide have built trillions of slices of network assets.  To maximize the value of these networks and ensure they can adapt to the challenges of an intelligent era, as well as open doors to the next trillion new business opportunities, Huawei believes future networks need the following:

  • Agility: Quick integration of new services and new features, delivering a ROADS experiences and drastically reducing time-to-market (TTM). 
  • Intelligence: Flexible and intelligent resource management, including fully automated planning, provisioning, resource allocation, and O&M to support thousands or even millions of service instances.
  • Efficiency: Multi-tenant resource pooling rather than building a separate physical network for each and every individual industry, breaking down network ‘silos’ to maximize resource sharing.
  • Openness: Enable collaboration with partners across multiple industries to support a variety of customers in the new intelligent world.

To succeed, operators need a future-oriented network that puts the user experience at the heart of the network by supporting high bandwidth and low latency, as well as being flexible, scalable, and simple to manage to support their businesses in the future. By rolling out the “All-Cloud Network” strategy across all Huawei products and solutions, Huawei aims to create new business opportunities and jointly create an open and innovative industry ecosystem. During the “All-Cloud Network” enabling process, Huawei is committed to being an advocator, an accelerator and eventually a leader of the “All-Cloud Network”.  Huawei has three main goals:

  • Enable “expansion of business scope”: Provide stronger network performance and an operational platform that shortens TTM from months to days, helping operators grow traditional businesses and embrace new market opportunities in vertical industries, including Smart Home, IoT, Smart City and Industrial 4.0. 
  • Achieve an “agile and efficient” network: Deliver network resource synergy and maximize network resources utilization rate, and decrease OPEX with automated operation.
  • Enable a “ROADs user experience”: User experience should be a comprehensive set of factors, not only at the time of “using the service”, but also at the time of service order placement and order fulfillment. ROADs user experience is the goal for operators to achieve digital transformation and operation.

Driving Business Success through an Innovative All-Cloud Network

To enable an “all-cloud upgrade” across operator metro networks, radio access networks, fixed access networks, IP networks and optical networks, Huawei has developed a series of solutions to enhance network agility and efficiency, including CloudRAN, CloudFAN, CloudMetro, CloudBackbone and CloudOptiX. These solutions are already being deployed and gaining industry recognition, for example in October 2016, Huawei released the CloudFAN solution to roll out commercial deployment of network slicing technology; In January 2017, Huawei worked with China Unicom Guangdong to employ Huawei’s CloudMetro solution for its SD-UTN smart leased line services. This enables flexible management, as well as the provision of a one-stop service of on-demand networking and cloud-based ICT function for the company; In 2016, Huawei and Telefonica Peru won the “Best Innovation in Virtualization Award” for their IP and optical SDN network during the Broadband World Forum 2016.

Huawei has also released its CloudEPN (Enterprise Private Network) solution to meet enterprises’ B2B needs and enabling agile interconnection among SMEs and one-stop ICT services. The CloudEPN solution supports both SD-WAN and CloudVPN models, helping achieve high-quality service experiences across entire processes and provide enterprises with new enterprise leased lines. In September 2016, Telefonica announced that Huawei’s end-to-end CloudVPN solution will be deployed for Telefonica’s global CloudVPN procurement framework and a laboratory will be set up in Argentina for a pilot commercial deployment of the CloudVPN technology. 

To meet the needs of the enterprise campus market, operators must transform from a box-supplier to a cloud-service provider.  To help operators to tap into this emerging trillion dollar market, Huawei has rolled out the innovative CloudCampus solution which enables the delivery of cloud-based services for enterprise campus network planning, building and management services.

Furthermore, to help address the trend of vertical industry digitalization, Huawei has released the cloud-based Edge Computing IoT (EC-IoT) solution. The SDN-based solution can achieve mass and unified IoT gateway management, providing the foundation for operators to tap into the IoT market. The solution supports EC-IoT intelligence and local survival functions in which operators can manage IoT data in a real-time and efficient manner. In September 2016, Huawei collaborated with Schindler on cooperation for IoT connectivity. Huawei’s open, flexible and scalable EC-IoT Internet of Elevators and Escalators (IoEE) solution has connected millions of elevators globally to achieve intelligent service management.

Huawei has also upgraded its CloudFabric Solution to help operators build a data-center-centric network structure. With the help of two core components - CloudEngine data-center (DC) switch and Agile Controller, the CloudFabric Solution enables an open, agile and efficient cloud DC. In February 2017, Huawei’s CloudFabric Solution helped China Unicom Henan deploy a commercial distributed cloud DC which delivers localized cloud services with low latency, secure data isolation, and a unified management platform to meet increasing demand for cloud services from local government, medical and educational institutions and SMEs.

Despite often being seen only as a vision for the future, All-Cloud Netwoks are already in use by Huawei customers and are providing tangible benefits. In fact, as of 2016, Huawei signed more than 70 commercial contracts with operators and jointly rolled out more than 200 All-Cloud Network commercial deployments with enterprise customers.

The future cloud network presents huge market potential. Full-gear and close collaboration from all industry parties is needed to build an industry ecosystem with positive impact and eventually, enable a successful rollout of the cloud network. Huawei calls for the establishment of the cloud-network ecosystem and committed to nurturing the ecosystem.