Telkom is investing in future technology based on software-defined networks (SDN), which allows for the creation of a framework to support more data-intensive applications like big data and virtualization.
“Telkom has enjoyed the benefits of copper over the last 30 years. It has served us well. We are currently investing in technology that will power Telkom for the next 30 years,” Sipho Maseko, Telkom CEO said.
Telkom’s capital investments totalled R7.8 billion in the year to end-March 2020, with capital expenditure in the mobile business up 22.1% to R3.7 billion.
The company said the accelerated investment in the packet-optical transport network, amongst other things, will future-proof its core network.
“This is the foundation for software-defined networks and network function virtualisation capability,” said Maseko.
Over the past few years, Telkom has balanced evolving technologies, revenue pools and skills.
“We saw the technological shift from legacy technologies to fibre, LTE/LTE-A, and our revenues evolved from legacy fixed revenue to new revenue streams,” he continues. “In line with this technology shift, the business is aligning its skills base with the latest technological advancements.”
What is software-defined networking (SDN)?
SDN is an approach to networking that uses software-based controllers or application programming interfaces (APIs) to direct traffic on the network and communicate with the underlying hardware infrastructure.
This is different from traditional networks, which use dedicated hardware devices (routers and switches) to control network traffic. SDN can create and control a virtual network or control a traditional hardware network with software.
While network virtualization enables the ability to segment different virtual networks within one physical network or connect devices on different physical networks into one virtual network, software-defined networking enables a new way of controlling the routing of data packets through a centralized server.
Virtualization adoption is being driven by big data and SDN provides the means to manage virtual machines and big data network traffic.
SDN provides a variety of benefits over traditional networking, including:
- Increased control with greater speed and flexibility: Instead of manually programming multiple vendor-specific hardware devices, developers can control the flow of traffic over a network simply by programming an open standard software-based controller. Networking administrators also have more flexibility in choosing networking equipment, since they can choose an open source protocol to communicate with any number of hardware devices through a central controller.
- Customizable network infrastructure: With a software-defined network, administrators can configure network services and allocate virtual resources to change the network infrastructure in real-time through one centralized location. This allows network administrators to optimize the flow of data through the network, prioritizing applications that require more availability.
- Robust security: A software-defined network allows visibility into the entire network, providing a more holistic view of security threats. With the proliferation of smart devices that connect to the internet, SDN offers clear advantages over traditional networking. Developers can create separate zones for devices that require different levels of security, or immediately quarantine compromised devices so that they cannot infect the rest of the network.