StarHub has started transforming its existing core and access networks to open, cloud-based networks using software-defined networking (SDN) technology.
This forms part of StarHub’s aim to enhance its network operational capabilities, enabling the company to better respond to its corporate customers’ business needs as well as to support Singapore’s Smart Nation initiatives.
This came after StarHub recently finalised the design of its SDN environment and identified various strategic partners, including Cisco and Huawei who will be involved in the development of StarHub’s SDN ecosystem.
Said Mock Pak Lum, Chief Technology Officer, StarHub: “Our enterprise business has been growing steadily in the past few years, and is expected to become our second largest revenue contributor in the near future. To accelerate our growth, among other things we need to enhance the efficiency of our network with SDN, to improve our ability to deliver bandwidth dynamically and rapidly offer customisable solutions to our corporate customers, helping them realise productivity, flexibility and innovation benefits.”
Emerging technologies like cloud computing, Internet of Things, and big data analytics as well as emerging trends like over-the-top providers offering content directly to end-users and people’s increasing demand for mobility and more bandwidth, are all contributing to the explosive data traffic growth.
SDN is today a major topic of attention and interest in the telecoms industry as telecom operators, facing tremendous data traffic increase, require a more efficient way to plan and manage their networks, as well as to create and deliver services in a rapid, flexible and innovative way, as promised by SDN.
A telecom network is made up of many network elements, such as routers, firewalls, hubs, servers and switches, that are controlled by proprietary software. To coordinate these elements to work together to create a new service is a complex operation. Applying SDN technology will enable telecom operators like StarHub to use a central standard execution software or application to control all of its network devices to flexibly deliver a wide range of real-time services or easily collaborate with multiple partners or vendors. Eventually, all these will allow telecom providers to operate their business more efficiently.
“Consumer and business users are becoming increasingly more mobile, as are the cloud-based services, applications and content they wish to consume. SDNs are dynamic, manageable, cost-effective and adaptable, enabling operators to have a centralised view of the entire network. This leads to more effective control of how the network responds to application needs and offers secure, reliable and consistent experiences to their users on any device in any location. Cisco is excited to work with StarHub in designing and testing StarHub’s SDN architecture as StarHub transforms through innovation in Singapore,” said Thiam Guan Ang, Managing Director for Cisco in Singapore and Brunei.
StarHub and Huawei have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to build a multi-vendor SDN network. Beyond network efficiency, the SDN architecture will also lay the foundation for future API interface-based application development. Gai Gang, President of Huawei Carrier IP Product Line, said: “SDN is starting a virtual, automatic and intelligent open network revolution. The architecture will allow different providers to work together in open collaboration and innovation which will contribute significantly into developing a vibrant local ICT ecosystem. We have cooperated with customers across the world in innovation to build dynamic and intelligent SDN networks.”
StarHub aims to complete SDN transformation for its core and access networks in two years.