Cloudifying Networks: How Ribbon is Scripting the Language of Cloud Innovations


When it comes to network cloudification – network software, plays a critical role in harnessing the power of cloud and Ribbon has been a pioneer in this space having its roots deeply entrenched in VoIP and IP-network switching, interconnection, interworking, and overall infrastructure technology.

Patrick Joggerst, CMO and EVP Business Development, Ribbon Communications speaks with Zia Askari from about the evolution of cloud and how it is helping operators, CSPs minimize their OpEx and CapEx.

Cloud is playing an important role towards ensuring that operators and CSPs minimize their OpEx and CapEx. What are some of the trends in this space that are defining the evolution of cloud?

With the virtualization of network functions and the operations of software-defined enterprise and business communications platforms, cloud sits in the center of the next revolution of connected business. While it has been changing the game for consumer communications including Over-the-Top (OTT) messaging applications for a while, the cloud is only now starting to have a big impact on the economics of connectivity for businesses.

Cloud Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is one manifestation of this; another is the mass exodus of contact centers from traditional MPLS and VPN physical networking to secure cloud networking which supports multichannel communications. Key to the cloud working – including applications which are based on APIs calling into third party services – is security.

Patrick Joggerst

How can CSPs and Operators future-proof their network by taking a software-driven approach?

The most immediate cost savings for CSPs and operators is in the cost of monitoring and managing networks, which goes down dramatically given the productivity gains of point and click network management. Another huge cost savings comes from rolling out new services via the web and mobile apps: software-defined and software-driven networking approaches reduce the time it takes to provision a service to a subscriber from days or weeks to seconds or minutes. Self-service through the web gives more control to the buyer, reducing technical and support costs overall.

Less obvious benefits come from the transparency and control software brings to networking. Software, whether using AI or not, can detect and prevent trouble from happening, and can pinpoint where trouble may be coming from, including attacks or attempted attacks on network infrastructure and applications.

What are the big challenges that lie ahead while cloudifying networks?

Cultural change and mindset was a challenge when the “compute” world moved to cloud at the turn of the century. Lack of trust, lack of understanding, lack of technical skills all held back progress, until companies like salesforce were so successful that there could be no more arguing about whether or not cloud would work.

Cloud was proven to work brilliantly in the compute world, and communications served over the cloud could be an even bigger business transformation. It’s important to do cloud communications right – that means quality software, transmission networking, security, hosting, redundancy, and more. Cloud isn’t about simply making the switch, but making the switch the right way.

Is network security still a challenge while embracing cloud infrastructure?

Network security challenges are exploding as the attack surface grows. Billions of dollars are being invested in more robust security solutions – which are also software, and adaptable to cloud or even cloud-native. With cybercriminals attacking every entry point into networks (including, for example, voice and video “ports”) diligence is key. Understanding and addressing the threats as part of the strategy to move to cloud is both smart and necessary. Having a strong security posture baked into cloud communications networking is critical to successfully leveraging the cloud.

What is the role of Ribbon while engaging with its customers towards driving their cloud strategy?

Ribbon has been a pioneer in network software for decades. Starting with a DNA in the VoIP and IP-network switching, interconnection, interworking, and overall infrastructure technology worlds, we have continually worked to deliver the solutions that best position our customers for success in the marketplace. We’ve gone into the applications layer and built applications that support very high quality, secure voice, video and messaging applications.

Many of these are services embedded into business applications, websites, mobile apps, and more – so one need only touch a button to start a conversation. Our role is always to empower our customers and we’re doing it by delivering cloud-based services they can easily brand and roll out to their own customers. These services can be delivered over SIP-based networks which we support with our SBCs, thus ensuring quality of service, security and a great deal of agility.

Please discuss some case studies where Ribbon is playing a key role of cloud enabler?

Ribbon has rolled out dozens of cloud-based communications platforms to managed service providers, and to CSPs and operators around the world. An end-to-end solution was rolled out, for example, for the City of Los Angeles’ public library system, bringing Unified Communications via the cloud to their employees.

We are also working with Microsoft to improve their cloud-delivered voice, video and messaging capabilities, and recently announced a deal with Verizon which selected our Session Border Controller Software edition (SBC SWe) to offer as a service (SBCaaS) through Verizon’s Virtual Network Services (VNS). The ability to quickly deploy and dynamically scale SBC functionality is enabling Verizon’s enterprise customers to cost-effectively protect their networks from attacks while providing a high-quality communications experience.

How do you look at the future possibilities in this space? Please share any possible innovations that Ribbon is driving in this space?

Ribbon never stops innovating! We are working with partners and open source organizations like Red Hat and the Linux Foundation to make cloud communications services even easier to implement and more flexible for our customers. We are developing software on every layer of the network stack, from the physical networks, now made more operationally efficient with software, to cloud-native cloud communications platforms like Kandy.

Stay tuned for more as we continue to enhance our offer with additional Kandy wrappers, industry-vertical developed solutions, and much more. As a bigger company, now that Sonus and GENBAND have been completely integrated as a business and technologies, we have the means to work even closer with our customers and partners to create and roll out the cloud communications solutions of the future. In fact we’re already doing it.