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A reality check for SDN in progress towards 5G network virtualisation

What exactly is SDN, where has it come from and is anyone actually applying it to mobile telecoms networks in practice? This event is part of the nationwide 5G week and supported by UK5G.

Software Defined Networking (SDN) is frequently highlighted as a key enabler to crucial 5G concepts like network slicing or network elasticity and programmability.  It is claimed that SDN will provide a more open, flexible and efficient way of using network resources which will deliver benefits including:

  • Less over dimensioning of equipment and related cost efficiencies
  • Added network resilience with the ability to adapt to issues in the network and re-direct traffic flows
  • Requirements for more open interfaces and hence more choice of vendors for network equipment
  • More customisable services to fit the needs of particular user groups rather than a one size fits all network

But what exactly is SDN, where has it come from and is anyone actually applying it to mobile telecoms networks in practice? 

As a technology, SDN has been around since the emergence of the OpenFlow protocol in 2008 and is already offered in data centres by large vendors like Cisco and VMWare.  However, while this technology is applied in datacentres and fixed networks already, how widely has it been deployed in mobile networks in practice? 

This event will open with a brief primer on SDN to explain what it is and where it has come from.  There will then be two presentations exploring the use of SDN in commercial telecoms networks and the road towards its usage in wireless networks (and more specifically, virtualised 5G networks).  We will hear from an organisation who have actively been deploying SDN to understand their experience of this technology in reality and the path that a telco might need to take to embrace SDN as a key component of its infrastructure, architecture and services.  Our second speaker will highlight the barriers to SDN deployments in wireless telecoms networks and key obstacles that need to be overcome if SDN is to become a key component of the ideal of 5G fully virtualised networks.

The event will include an opportunity for attendees to network virtually via the Remo platform.

This event is supported by UK5G as part of the 5G Week.

5G Week - Driving the Business Case
This week of activities will provide value for all the involved organisations and generally push forward the 5G ecosystem. The creation of a 5G Week gives a focal point for industry and media as the 5G Programme proceeds and also for 2020 company marketing programmes.

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