Industry standards are gradually improved, and SD-WAN could be the core competitiveness of the 5G era

"From the perspective of SD-WAN. China Telecom believes it is a new type of network application; from the perspective of network applications, China Telecom hopes that applications will be widely developed and the industry will develop healthily. “ QIU Zhuquan (邱竹泉) said.


In recent years, a new type of infrastructure ("new infrastructure") based on information networks has become an important driving force for the transformation of the digital economy and the realization of the "fourth industrial revolution". In response to the diverse network connection needs of enterprises and the pursuit of cost-effectiveness, the concept of SD-WAN (Software Defined Wide Area Network) was formally proposed in 2014 and quickly became popular within three years after the proposal. Now, SD-WAN has been widely recognized by operators and mainstream network equipment manufacturers, and has become the most important option for enterprise networking.

Recently, Gartner released the 2020 Magic Quadrant for WAN Infrastructure Report, showing the strength of enterprises in the SD-WAN field. Although there are many companies participating in the SD-WAN race track and it is very crowded, product architecture innovation, application architecture innovation, and basic and functional innovation continue to bring better solutions and experience to users.

SD-WAN and 5G joint hands together to help "new infrastructure”

Now that 5G has entered the formal commercial stage, mobile network operators and Internet providers that provide 5G connections may use SD-WAN to replace most of the hardware infrastructure. With the acceleration of China's 5G construction, the vertical industry application of 5G has also become an issue of great concern to the industry, and the development of 5G vertical industry applications requires network changes, and related technologies such as SD-WAN will play a very critical role.

"With the development and maturity of technology, SD-WAN will become an important support for the construction of new information infrastructure.” WEN Jian, deputy secretary general of the China Institute of Communications, introduced the evolution direction of SD-WAN from four aspects. First of all, with the advent of the 5G era, the combination of SD-WAN and 5G will become an important development direction. The faster speeds, wider connections, and lower latency brought by 5G will greatly promote the industrial control applications and interactive applications. SD-WAN can use 5G to accelerate the implementation of private lines, private networks and industrial applications. At the same time, 5G's network slicing capability can support differentiated services. Combined with SD-WAN, it can help enterprises to sort out the business layer and application layer, and create more refined and efficient network slicing.

Secondly, SD-WAN, as an emerging wide area network business form, is based on software-defined technology flexibly to build network connections, which can connect cloud networks and FMC (Fixed Mobile Convergence). It is an important weapon for the implementation of 5G and cloud network integration.

Thirdly, SD-WAN can combine enterprise networks and industrial extranets to form an application mode of intelligent production and networked collaboration, which greatly promotes the interconnection of equipment and the collaboration of the entire industry chain, and strongly promotes the development of the industrial Internet.

Finally, SD-WAN can realize interconnection between data centers and interconnection between data centers and branches with lower cost, efficient, and secure network, as well as promoting on-demand resource scheduling and flexible deployment of upper-level business services.

It is worth noting that SD-WAN was originally proposed to solve the problem of application experience. With the rapid development of 5G, its three major characteristics of large bandwidth, low latency, and massive connections make it possible for 5G links to become the primary link choice for enterprise uplinks. A good application experience can be achieved through SD-WAN.

The combination of 5G and SD-WAN can ensure a good experience of the 5G link through strategies such as routing, optimization, and security. A lot of efforts have been made in audio and video optimization, transmission optimization, anti-packet optimization, and application routing, in order to ensure that the combination of 5G links and SD-WAN can give customers a better experience.

Industry standards are gradually improved

Compared with traditional solutions, SD-WAN provides enterprises with cost-effective wide area network services. It has advantages in cost, performance, and availability, and its return on investment is very clear. At present, the development momentum of SD-WAN is strong. SD-WAN technology is inseparable from enterprise cloud, operator cloud network integration, and multi-cloud collaboration.

In order to promote the healthy development of the SD-WAN industry and assist the deployment of SD-WAN technology in multiple industries, the CCSA TC610 (SNAI Promotion Committee, the original SDN Industry Alliance) SDN integration and interoperability test team was officially launched SD-WAN series standards with CAICT. At the same time, the three major operators and equipment manufacturers are also actively involved, helping the SD-WAN industry standard keep improving. ZHAO Huiling, full-time member of the Standing Committee of the Science and Technology Committee of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and leader of the Information and Communication Network Technology Expert Group, said that the SD-WAN series of standards are already completed. From the overall technology to the related equipment, to the cloud access, model, interface, including the requirements of the controller, etc, all of these have been standardized.

The formulation of standards means the implementation of technology. According to LIU Yunjie, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and director of Jiangsu Future Network Innovation Research Institute, the current development of China’s Internet is entering the real economy from the consumer sector. It is necessary to solve the real economy’s problems. It is the development of the Industrial Internet. At present, the whole country is stepping up efforts to develop the Industrial Internet. ZHAO Huiling also stated that SD-WAN can support the unified access of multi-protocol IT and OT equipment in the field of industrial Internet, and supports flexible networking of equipment. Therefore, SD-WAN can also play its advantages in the field of industrial Internet.

At present, hundreds of SD-WAN companies at home and abroad are providing equipment, software and solutions. Vertical industries with distributed branch sites such as retail, manufacturing, financial services, and healthcare are the first industries to use SD-WAN. Industries can use this technology to establish connections on the Internet, thereby reducing the cost of dedicated line access and improving network security and reliability.

SD-WAN helps multi-cloud collaboration

The typical feature of SD-WAN is to "cloudize" network control capabilities through software, support application-aware network capabilities opening, and help companies quickly go to the cloud. With the trend of enterprises going to the cloud, the network is gradually becoming service-oriented, and the cloud and the network need to be more and more closely coordinated.

At present, SD-WAN is booming. It provides enterprises with cost-effective and highly flexible wide area network services. Cloud-network integration and multi-cloud collaboration are inseparable from SD-WAN. ZHAO Huiling said that SD-WAN is evolving from the optimization of the wide area network to the integration of "network + cloud" and the integration of "network + application". SD-WAN services for public cloud applications provide cloud access for users to go to the cloud. Value-added services are mainly cloud-side services, which is "network + cloud". There is also the integration of "cross-network + multi-cloud + application". This multi-cloud coordination is also inseparable from SD-WAN technology.

Telecom operators in China have already seen the importance of SD-WAN for future network services. The Gartner report predicts that by 2023, enterprise spending on cloud services will grow to US$405 billion. At the same time, in order to improve agility and enhance support for cloud applications, 90% of enterprises will adopt SD-WAN.

Taking China Telecom's practice in the SD-WAN field as an example, China Telecom's current positioning is multi-cloud collaboration, cloud-network integration, exclusive customization, and security compliance. According to QIU Zhuquan (邱竹泉), technical director of China Telecom’s International Cloud Computing Operations Center, there are three main scenarios for China Telecom’s SD-WAN. One is the interconnection of enterprise sites, the second is the branches goingn to cloud, and the third one is the convergent access to the Internet of Vehicles.

Based on these scenarios, China Telecom has deployed line resources based on China Telecom’s CN2 bottom layer globally, built a new business plane, deployed security service centers around the world, and deployed comprehensive service capabilities on secure nodes, which is equivalent to providing cloud Unified and integrated management of online security, cloud delivery, and border security. These nodes provide seamless connections with China Telecom's self-owned overseas nodes, third-party nodes, and third-party SaaS partners. The entire network is constructed based on SDN, and SRV6 capabilities are also reserved.

Therefore, China Telecom has the following advantages when doing SD-WAN services and businesses: First, it provides global cloud network flexible deployment capabilities, large-scale deployment in global cloud POP resource nodes, and customized services on demand; Second, it supports one-point global access and realizes global high-speed interconnection, including high-speed interconnection with overseas mainstream public clouds; third, it can provide customers with end-to-end, one-stop comprehensive services; fourth, in cross-border scenarios, it has rich experience in security compliance.

"From the perspective of SD-WAN. China Telecom believes it is a new type of network application; from the perspective of network applications, China Telecom hopes that applications will be widely developed and the industry will develop healthily. “ QIU Zhuquan (邱竹泉) said.

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