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Using SDN to boost Unified Communications

How can SDN enhance Unified Communications and at the same time improve customer experience?

Enterprises are demanding more rapid deployment of business services requiring operators to deploy and enable services -in new ways, leveraging new technologies. Today Network infrastructure is undergoing a major change, to deliver the promise of a more agile and dynamic communications.

Historically, as enterprises added new demands to the network, operators would add new equipment into their infrastructure to enable new protocols and applications. This has led to a proliferation of technologies and more complex processes to respond to customer requests.

To make any changes toa network typically involves multiple site visits to provide additional capacity, new routes and even support for these new protocols and applications.

Software Defined Networking (SDN) is a means by which network equipment can be managed remotely to add users, modify parameters to make the network behave differently and control performance.

With Software Defined Networking, site visits and the need for additional hardware will be greatly reduced. Network operators, from their operations centres, can use tools to automate and orchestrate changes to their infrastructure, providing speed and agility to their enterprise customers. Customers, in turn, are able to view and control elements of their business network through self service.

SDN spins up Unified Communications users fast

This agility, will enable businesses to change their structure and organisation more readily. As employees are recruited, services can be switched on faster than before. With Unified Communications, (UC) users have access to not just voice, but video, conferencing tools and document sharing. 

Not all users are equal

The network needs to be able to provide a range of different operational parameters. It needs to provide the best access type across internet, MPLS and mobile to meet specific business needs. <do we know what these are?>. Some enterprises may ask for varying levels of network performance based upon users and applications. They may have standard configurations for different job roles, including deskbound admin staff, mobile users and power users.

SDN enables operators to provide the support for the applications used within each of these roles, when it is needed.

What are the benefits of SDN for Unified Communications;

  1. Better performance from delay sensitive applications such as video conferencing due to the network devices adapting to deliver the best experience possible
  2. More suited architecture to accesses cloud based apps such as Cloud based Unified Communications
  3. Application awareness enables the network to adapt real-time to changes in user behaviour, such as increasing bandwidth
  4. Quickly deploy new sites or branches by using connectivity that is more rapidly provisioned such as an Ethernet or 4G
  5. Application performance visibility helps to maximise customer experience.

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Delivering quality

With increased deployments of UC, demand for bandwidth will become more unpredictable, ad hoc conferences, the use of video all put extra traffic demands on the network, and also needs to make sure that there are no blips in the video and audio conferences. SDN will enable operators for deliver Quality of Service (QoS) support for all these current and future business communications.

For more on Unified Communications see here

For more on Vodafone's SDN see here

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