Software Defined Network (SDN) represents the most significant change in communications in the past ten years. We have continued increasing network speed, trying to provide higher availability, employing data networks not only for data. While the availability has increased, users' usage patterns and expectations have changed as well, and now we require connectivity nearly everywhere. However, we have overlooked something on our path to connectivity, and the original data communication definitions are no longer able to keep up. It is important how quickly we are able to call network elements into action (including services provided by these elements), and how quickly we are able to react to dynamic changes associated with today's user mobility. Traditional administration methods either fail or are unjustifiably expensive.

Majority of SDN manufacturers claim that they have been quick enough long since. However, customers need a more significant change. They need to get rid of their dependency on specific products, and to separate physical devices from their services. Network functions are transferred to the control layer – the controller; the function of user devices is limited to rule-based (instruction-based) frame delivery. A special term has been established for such customer devices: "White switch", a switch with standard OpenFlow software. It is clear that such an SDN solution explicitly eliminates dependency on hardware manufacturers, speeding up selection and deployment of new network elements significantly.


Cutting data network operating costs is not the only benefit of SDN. The network is made available to new applications via its defined open interface above the control layer. Where we have been pegged down by collaboration abilities of individual network elements, now we have SDN with its ability to solve everything by means of its central "brain" – the controller. It opens up a new path to previously unthinkable applications, or applications economically unjustifiable. At the same time, it opens up a new economic model with applications over SDN.

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Distributed Network Functions – uCPE

In connection with SDN there are discussions about applications that are offered by this open network architecture. There is a new application interface that offers access to applications without regional boundaries while network functions are virtualized. The term Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) is often mentioned in this context – it means functions that are in fact independent of SDN, while NFV can utilize the open nature of the SDN interface to the maximum. We need to deliver applications (network functions) to the customer dynamically, based on customer’s current needs. Majority of such virtualized functions will remain in the data center, being allocated to customers dynamically. But there are also functions that we would wish to virtualize, and these must be implemented at the customer. We need an open platform for terminal devices that would allow us to allocate network functions dynamically as needed, thus we need distributed NFV.

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Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) is a specific subsection of the Software-Defined Networking (SDN) technology, applied to WAN networks. These are most often used for interconnecting enterprise networks, regional and global branches and data centers, including private and public clouds.

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