Software is the key to successfully implementing this hybrid model. Seamless integration of the packet and optical control planes will allow for co-ordinated provisioning, management and restoration of a multi-service network. In doing so, service providers will be able to transport services natively without complicated transformations, and - most importantly - reduce the number of network elements.
The bottom line
The affordable way to support all electronic communications on a converged IP platform is to build smart networks that use capacity efficiently, and to avoid overbuilding whenever it is not necessary.
In order to remove the uncertainty and unpredictability from the planning process, network service providers are making an effort to better understand their customers, applications, and traffic. They can then start operating their core networks more efficiently by no longer throwing bandwidth - in the form of "nailed-up" circuits - at the problem and by growing their networks in such a way that they can phase their investments.
With this knowledge and strategy in hand, they can allow the services they provide to guide the architecture and evolution of the transport layer. This will be a welcome new capability in the hands of service provider executives, who of necessity have had to take a more bottom-up approach in the past, an approach that they can no longer afford in today's richly connected, content-hungry global culture.
Ken Lim is operating area leader, service provider, ASEAN, Juniper Networks
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