Consumers rely on access networks for uninterrupted internet connectivity all day, every day. They rely on a steady, consistent connection to check email, download documents, stream videos and music, and a whole host of other activities. Interruptions in the access network mean interruptions for the consumer. Access networks connect the consumer to the network, but these networks are highly complex. They require multiple technologies coming together to provide connectivity, which means there are multiple points for complications when upgrades are needed. Software-Defined Access leverages virtualization technology to improve access networks by increasing factors such as automation and network programming, which reduces costs while providing a better experience for the consumer.
A typical access network is complex with various challenges. Often referred to as the “last mile connection” for internet service, access networks consist of access nodes, residential gateways, and an outside plant that connects them. These networks require several access nodes that are often widely distributed, making them complex. They are also often difficult to manage due to the lack of central control over the network. This means that configuration management is distributed, leading to issues such as limited programmability, a lack of visibility over user privileges, and compromised security.
Software-Defined Access stems from Software Defined Networking. It improves upon the usual access network to provide users with faster and more secure access across all devices within the network. Applications can access the network at faster speeds while still maintaining strong security. Unlike a typical access network, Software Defined Access Networks utilize software components and a central controller software to control all the various elements across an entire network. The controller brings the different layers together into a more unified, cohesive system that leverages cloud platforms.
Instead of a widely distributed network, Software Defined Access creates a single network fabric for all devices. This promotes easier IT integration, allows all policies to be applied to the network at once, and provides a full picture of the network. The controller is able to monitor the network flow, identify problems, and address any issues more efficiently. This makes networks easier to program, which in turn makes them more efficient and cost-effective.
Software-Defined Access Networks offer numerous benefits, including the following:
Ultimately, Software Defined Access creates a more efficient network. This saves on time, resources, and capital while providing consumers with a better experience overall.