Reality Check for SDN

Brought to you by The Virtual Networks Group

This event will explore the current status of software defined networks and compare the reality of today to the original vision set out so many years ago.

About the event

This event follows on from the previous Virtual Networks SIG event by providing evidence-based insights into the realities of key virtual networking technologies. This time, we will turn our attention to SDN, a key enabler to important 5G concepts like network slicing or forwarding programmability for non-IP user planes. We will explore the current status of SDN in terms of reality vs the original vision set out so many years ago.

The event will present testimonials in the form of trials insights as well as ongoing work in standards and deployments to push the envelope even further.  Specifically, the event will open with a brief primer on SDN followed by sessions exploring deployment and commercial models for SDN and their success (or failure) in, for instance, green field or evolutionary deployments.

For this, we will tap into UK and international test bed efforts through experiences gathered from those test beds, e.g., in terms of implications on existing mobile as well as fixed infrastructure and use cases for which SDN-based services have been deployed in various market sectors.

Finally, we will wrap up the day with an on outlook on what the future holds for SDN, connecting to ongoing initiatives in the beyond 5G space, but also addressing the question of what it really needs to drive SDN technology further into the market in terms of level playing field or needed disruption.

You can follow @cambwireless on Twitter and tweet about this event using #CWVN.

Hosted by Marks & Clerk

Marks & Clerk is a well-established intellectual property firm.

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Supported by UK5G

The national innovation network dedicated to the promotion of research, collaboration and the commercial application of 5G in the UK.

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The information supplied below may be subject to change before the event.


Registration and networking with refreshments


Introduction to UK5G/CW Simon Mead, CEO, CW (Cambridge Wireless)


Host welcome from Marks & Clerk


Introduction to the Virtual Networks Group


Overview of SDN


The journey to becoming a software defined telco; Fahim Sabir, Director Architecture & Development, Network On Demand, Colt Technology Services

This talk will look at Colt’s journey to now in introducing and harnessing the value of Software-Defined Network technologies and what we’ve learnt along the way, as well as how we plan to evolve




Who cares about virtual networks? Matt Pooley, Practice Lead – Virtualisation, STL Partners

Network operators are deploying SDN, as well as other telco cloud tech: NFV, automation, and so on. But, to date, we have seen little of the agility, flexibility and efficiency that virtualisation promised. Some are asking “who cares?” We will explore why SDN and telco cloud still matter, why they haven’t delivered and what needs to change. And – with operators investing heavily in 5G – why now is the time to act.




Refreshments and networking


The Rise of Software Defined WAN; Ahmed Omran, Senior Consulting Systems Engineer and Architect, Versa Networks




SDN Demo; Justin Paul, Director of Marketing, Zeetta Networks




Panel session with all speakers


Event wrap up


Event closes


Ahmed Omran - Senior Consulting Systems Engineer and Architect, Versa Networks

Ahmed is passionate and finds motivation living on the cutting edge of technology; creating and designing technical solutions for clients that provide problem resolution for today’s issues and a road map for their technical future.

A senior technical subject matter expert with a proven track record of leading engineering teams to provide customized, complex network solutions, resulting in more efficient client operations and revenue growth for both sides of a long-term business partnership. A key member of the business development team; collaborating with internal and external groups to communicate the technical needs and value of solutions to all levels and departments of an organization.

Matt Pooley - Practice Lead - Virtualisation, STL Partners

Matt leads STL Partners’ consulting and research activity around network virtualisation. He works with leading operators and tech companies across the globe on understanding the telco cloud opportunity, strategies and routes to deployment. His particular interest is how NFV has delivered (or not!) on its grand promises. Matt speaks regularly at industry events, and has authored research on topics as broad as innovation, network experience, and SD-WAN deployment models.

Fahim Sabir - Director Architecture and Development, Network On Demand, Colt Technology Services Ltd

Fahim Sabir is responsible for Colt's delivery of next generation connectivity service platforms, specializing in SDN and NFV technologies. He has almost two decades experience in telecoms, managed IT and network services, and cloud computing, focusing on the architecture, development and operation of complex platforms, with a keen interest in orchestration, automation and interoperability.

SIG Champions

Julie Bradford - Managing Consultant, Real Wireless

Julie has worked in the wireless industry for over 15 years.  At Real Wireless, she is a thought leader in 5G business case analysis including understanding 5G use cases, quantifying (in financial terms) the operational and socio-economic benefits of 5G services and understanding network dimensioning and cost implications under 5G virtualised networks.

She has most recently led Real Wireless’ techno-economic analysis on the EC Horizon 2020 5G-MoNArch project.  Inspired by the project’s smart sea port testbed constructed by HPA, Nokia and DT in the Port of Hamburg, this analysis included quantifying the operational benefits of 5G to port authorities and other port users and the cost implications of delivering these industrial grade wireless services from existing mobile infrastructure via network slicing supported via the virtualised 5G-MoNArch network architecture.

Previously, Julie was Communications Engineer at QinetiQ UK, consultant at PA Consulting UK, and Senior Systems Engineer for Airvana UK. 

Mark England - Associate Director, Cambridge Consultants

Mark England has spent three decades architecting, designing, and implementing a wide variety of wired and wireless communications products, services, systems and protocols; from short range point to point systems to those which operate on a global scale. Mark joined Cambridge Consultants in 2000, and for the past 17 years he has been providing leading edge design, development and consultancy services to wide range of clients.

Andrew Palmer - Consulting Director, CGI

Andrew has more than 31 years of experience in IT, Telecoms and TV and Media, having worked in various roles for IBM, AT&T, Ericsson, Motorola and Arris. Andrew's present role is to leverage existing CGI capabilities that match the needs of our clients in the Telecoms sector, as well as building new capabilities that will support the emerging and changing needs of our client base. Andrew has proven experience in developing and delivering complex SI and Services solutions that meet both business and technology needs.

Andrew has co-authored "UK Telecoms For Dummies", an essential guide to the complicated UK Telecoms sector as well as articles for publications such as the Cambridge Wireless Journal including "How do we build the new world of 5g?". He frequently speaks at conferences and provides media commentary on industry topics like 5G, IoT and Smart Cities, as well as being a member of the Digital Policy Alliance’s Smart Society Working Group, techUK Spectrum Policy Forum and the Cambridge Wireless Virtual Networks Special Interest Group.

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Justin Paul - Director of Marketing, Zeetta Networks

He has over twenty years’ experience in technology marketing in the telcoms and software industries. 

Prior to joining Zeetta Networks he worked for Huawei Technologies in NFV/SDN Marketing and Amdocs where he led the launch of their NFV Portfolio which now forms a major part of the ONAP (Open Network Automation Platform).  During his career he has been responsible for the launch and go-to-market for a number of leading-edge technologies including 3G, IPTV, LTE, NFV and 5G. 

A TED-trained conference speaker he has presented at a number of major international conferences including Layer 123 SDN and Openflow Congress, LTE Asia and SCTE.  A CIM qualified marketeer he runs a Bristol-based Digital Marketing knowledge-sharing group.  

Event Location

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Location info

Marks and Clerk, 15 Fetter Lane, London, EC4A 1BW

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