SkyLIGHT™ - Accedian’s solutions architecture for performance assurance
SDN was born in data centers, and it was built on the premise that the interconnection between network elements would be robust. As SDN is just now expanding outside of data centers into the WAN or telco SDN, there’s inherently a lack of the kind of performance assurance capabilities that telcos have come to expect from their network. As services start to cross multiple domains, multiple carriers, multiple technologies, multiple mediums, mobile operators are getting into scenarios where performance is impaired in a variety of ways that is far from what they would see in a data center. The initial instances of SDN for telco are ill-equipped to have the visibility that allows them to have the same levels of optimization as what they've been doing in the data centers.
The current state of things when it comes to mobile backhaul heterogeneous networks is essentially a network made up of leaky pipes. At the top there is a router blindly sending data all the way down to recipients, which are small cells and then end users. These network elements such as switch routers from the usual OEM vendors have very little if any visibility of the performance of individual links they’re trying to throw traffic down to.
As a result, these network elements have been manually set to a fixed type of setting like CIR or EIR. The available bandwidth varies across pipes whether because of varying atmospheric conditions, bandwidth sharing between operators, misalignment of various antennas, or interference at the spectrum level. You get a dynamic behavior when it comes to these individual links for which the overhanging network element has no visibility. Network elements try to send data down by trial and error, causing a lot of spillover and wasted bandwidth, especially at the top of that particular type of architecture.
The new proposed way of doing this is to fundamentally add that visibility. Give that visibility to the network element at the top of the tree by connecting to a control layer that is SDN enabled. This application layer becomes performance aware because of Network State+, our toolset that provides visibility of the network state in real time across Layers 2, 3 and 4. The application layer is then connected to the control plane by the Network State+ API.
Accedian’s Performance Assurance SDN Framework
SkyLIGHT, Accedian’s Solutions Architecture, provides operators with the performance visibility required to take the self-optimization promise of SDN and SON and execute it on multivendor, heterogeneous, mobile backhaul networks (MBH-SON) using standards-based technology – a first in the industry.
As illustrated below, ownership of the backhaul performance needs to extend all the way to multivendor base stations, access points and small cells. Regardless of AP vendor, type or technology there is a need for probe-less and ubiquitous coverage of performance assurance via Core-to-End IP TWAMP active measurements – all without the need for any dedicated probe at the cell site.
Ownership of Backhaul Performance
As more mobile operators are experiencing congested networks, their wireless backhaul links often show very poorly optimized performance. In this context, SkyLIGHT™ provides mobile operators with the visibility they need to optimize backhaul performance in real-time. This is done by instrumenting their infrastructure with versatile, standards-based solutions that span across heterogeneous multivendor networks. These solutions include software agents, miniaturized network devices, performance-aware network elements, as well as, overarching cloud-based Apps. All of the elements that mobile operators and service providers need to assure and optimize the performance of their networks in real-time.
Performance Assurance Elements
SkyLIGHT instruments the network with Performance Assurance Elements. These are software agents that can also take the form of miniaturized network devices or performance-assured network elements.
Performance Assurance Nodes
Actuators that mediate and aggregate performance assurance sessions from the Performance Assurance Elements with ultra-high accuracy, granularity and with the ability to scale in a virtualized manner.
Performance Assurance Software Platform
The overhanging performance assurance reporting platform includes a cloud-based portal and a cloud-based App which provides an API towards SDN and SON controllers.
Accedian believes that there are 3 certainties when it comes to mobile backhaul:
1. End user demand for data bandwidth will continue to grow exponentially,
2. Spectrum is a finite resource, and
3. Wireless backhaul remains a bottleneck; thus creating a strong need for dynamic optimization.
To address these issues, Performance Assured SDN is the perfect technology solution. SkyLIGHT assures and optimizes the performance of backhaul networks, thereby enabling both mobile operators and service providers to deliver to their customers, the reliability they need and the ever faster data bandwidth they crave.