SDN, NFV take center stage at this year's SCTE show

Sean Buckley, FierceTelecom at SCTECable operators are turning to software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) to virtualize more parts of their networks, a trend that will be on display during this year's SCTE event in New Orleans.

I'll be hosting a FierceTelecom and FierceCable breakfast panel during the event: SCTE Strategies for SDN and NFV: How Cable MSO's can Benefit from Network Virtualization.

The breakfast will take place Oct. 14 at Loews New Orleans Hotel from 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

My panelists include:

·  Jeff Finkelstein, Executive Director of Strategic Architecture, Cox Communications

·  Manish Jindal, VP, Head of Technology Strategy and Portfolio Management, Ericsson

·  Justin Paul, VP, Head of Network PBU Marketing, Amdocs

·  Andrew Smith, Distinguished Engineer and Chief Architect for Cable MSO Networks, Juniper Networks

While still an emerging concept, it's clear that the cable industry is interested in implementing SDN and NFV in their networks.

There are a number of use cases where SDN and NFV will fit into the cable network. Cable operators could use SDN and NFV at the customer premises where CPE functions such as set-top boxes and home gateways could be virtualized making it possible to change services on demand. SDN could also come in hand in delivering business services by enabling customers to adjust Ethernet bandwidth, add ports or make other changes as needed.

Supporting cable's SDN and NFV movement is CableLabs, which has been exploring SDN in cable networks since the middle of 2012. CableLabs found it could meet the requirements to use an SDN-based Packet Cable MultiMedia PCMM in combination with OpenFlow to dynamically control a demo cable network by using an OpenDaylight controller. This would enable cable operators to control the DOCSIS access network.

Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA), one of the largest U.S. cable operators, is clearly laying foundations to implement SDN and NFV into its network. Earlier this year, the service provider joined the OpenDaylight Project, an industry-supported open source platform to advance SDN and NFV. It also announced that it was one of the first cable operators to use Cisco's cBR-8 Evolved Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) product, a platform that includes support for SDN.

During the ucpoming SCTE show, SDN and NFV will be the talk of the town from Comcast and other large cable operators.

If you haven't already done so, check out the entire SCTE agenda here. And if you want to join me at the FierceTelecom and FierceCable breakfast, register here. I look forward to seeing you in New Orleans. -- Sean