October 20, 2017 by Alan DiCicco

Software Defined Access Goes Home


Your subscribers expect ubiquitous and instant access to content and won't be satisfied with waiting for new versions of their devices and services. While data center services and consumer electronics have evolved rapidly to meet the needs of these savvy consumers, the access network has remained in a quagmire of dumb-pipe thinking.

Open source communities, industry groups, and access equipment suppliers (all but one!) continue to dumb down the access network, intentionally reducing it to static pipes (i.e., VLANs) that are decoupled from everything of interest to the subscriber. As a result, many service providers are forced to build and operate access networks that are operationally and architecturally rigid, costly to maintain, and not aligned with consumers' applications and expectations.

I’ve made this argument before, and so you know that I’m a big advocate of intelligent software-first access network designs that save time, money, and make it easy to deploy new services. In a phrase: Software Defined Access built upon the AXOS software platform.

What about access networks that extend into the home? Service providers are often held accountable for the subscriber’s broadband experience all the way to the many devices sprinkled around their house. The in-home Wi-Fi network is a critical component of the broadband experience and thus an opportunity for service providers to win the battle against the OTT application providers while increasing revenue through managed Wi-Fi services. If you haven’t already, check out the latest news on Calix Mesh-Enhanced Carrier Class Wi-Fi.

Let’s take my argument one step further. We agree that the Software Defined Access network needs to be intelligent and customer-oriented. It needs to make life easy for service providers by using a platform that has modular software decoupled from the physical layer, is easily extended, and directly programmable through standards-driven APIs. And we also agree that the access network extends into the home and over the mesh Wi-Fi network. Therefore, it must be true that SDA extends all the way to the consumer’s end devices, and that the in-home network requires a software-first design.

I hope you’re coming to 2017 Calix ConneXions because we’ll be talking about how Software Defined Access is revolutionizing the access network at the core’s edge and all the way to the consumer's favorite Internet-connected devices. See you there.