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September 29, 2017 by Alan DiCicco

Software Defined Access Takes Many Forms

If you think you must adopt a CORD or Cloud CO architecture to achieve Software Defined Access (SDA), think again. That sounds strange, given how I keep talking about CORD and Cloud CO architectures as though they are inevitable and foregone conclusions in our quest for next generation access networks.

Software Defined Access is more than a single reference architecture or collection of APIs. Simply put, SDA is a ‘software-first network architecture that connects the subscriber to the data center edge.’ It includes the subscriber’s Wi-Fi experience, the outside plant, and the data center inspired intelligent optical systems of the next generation central office. What binds it all together are the software platforms like AXOS upon which services are delivered. These software platforms build upon the principles of SDN and virtualization and allow service providers to compete to win with subscriber insight, faster time to revenue, and the highest return on investment. 

Service providers are taking many paths on their journey to Software Defined Access, and that is just fine. Adoption of SDN and NFV solutions in the access network will be evolutionary for most service providers, and there is no single implementation that works for all. Importantly, architectural steps taken today will pay big dividends for many, many years.

Each service provider will choose to adopt SDA in a form that maximizes the value of their investment. This fundamental truth is worth recalling because it drives critical thinking when we contemplate taking the first step. What problem are we trying to solve? Which process can we automate that will have the biggest benefit? Which investments in software-first solutions will generate new revenue?

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Join me and Evan Parker, product leader for SDN solutions, at the 2017 Calix ConneXions. On Monday afternoon (Oct 30), we will be discussing the many forms that SDA will take. We want to hear about your path to a software future.