Just when the telecommunications industry and its customers were progressing on their digital transformation journeys, the global COVID-19 pandemic increased the pressure on telecommunications carriers and other network service providers (NSPs) to deliver more services faster, everywhere. Luckily, these two driving forces complement each other. By leveraging software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) infrastructures, NSPs and major telcos, as part of the NSP ecosystem, gain the ability to deliver access to traditional telco services (e.g., MPLS networks) and a whole new set of virtual network services (e.g., SD-WAN, virtual cloud routing). And with programmable software delivery, they can place these services where customers need them the most in less time and at less cost.
Prior to leveraging programmable SDN or virtual network functions (VNF) devices, NSPs were making huge CAPEX investments in networking hardware to deliver their services either regionally or globally. This required a great deal of “on the ground resources” to deploy and provision network hardware, limiting reach and lengthening time to market. It also restricted the type of services NSPs could offer their customers due to any delays or high cost of ownership associated with getting physical networking equipment into a country, such as during the pandemic. SDN and VNF give network service providers the agility and flexibility to deliver a whole new set of services to their customers regionally and globally.
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“As-a-service” model means maximum flexibility
SDN and VNF devices give traditional telco carriers and NSPs the ability to offer their users a wide array of “as-a-service” networking solutions via a programmable service model. By leveraging application programming interfaces (APIs) for Equinix Fabric™ software-defined interconnection and Network Edge virtual networking services, NSPs can automate the deployment, provisioning and consumption of their capabilities for their customers faster, easier and with less errors.
They can also include new, more competitive, flexible OPEX-based service delivery models for their users in more geographic locations, such as PoP-as-a-service, Infrastructure-as-a-service, and Network-as-a-service. PoP-as-a-service allows NSPs to deploy network access virtually to different models of edge computing. With Network-as-a-Service, end users can choose VNF devices from leading NFV infrastructure providers, including programmable access to 5G networks, SD-WANs, cloud routing, security, bandwidth on demand and network management. Finally, telcos can activate entire hybrid multicloud infrastructures on demand for enterprise customers using Infrastructure-as-a-Service and leveraging direct and secure connections with cloud service providers (CSPs). Network service providers can allow end users to mix and match any of these services via software, and most of them can be provisioned in minutes because they do not require networking hardware.
As the world’s digital infrastructure company, Equinix enables NSPs to establish global PoPs close to end users at the edge via high-speed, low-latency software-defined interconnection using Equinix Fabric, so their customers can consume network services on-demand. End users can also leverage those network services to access dense CSP/SaaS ecosystems, as well as their other digital infrastructure on Platform Equinix. At the same time, telco customers can deploy VNF devices via Network Edge in minutes, without purchasing additional hardware, from leading providers such as Cisco, Juniper Networks, Fortinet, Palo Alto Networks/CloudGenix, and Versa Networks.
Equinix Fabric and Network Edge Reference Architecture
Joining the Equinix globally interconnected ecosystem via Equinix Fabric gives NSPs access to a whole new audience of potential customers and geographic regions for rapid market expansion — more than 10,000 businesses worldwide on Platform Equinix.
Enterprise users can leverage Network Edge to deploy VNF devices in 15 Network Edge locations worldwide, three in EMEA. Our newest Network Edge location launched June 1, 2021 in Madrid, adding a fourth European location.
Platform Equinix provides a better experience for telcos and their end users
NSPs can better support their customers’ digital transformation journeys, giving them more flexibility, agility, better application performance and access to a host of different telecommunications and network services on Platform Equinix. Imagine a multinational enterprise customer who wants a network service in three times zones to connect to their choice of cloud providers as soon as possible. Installing and configuring three new network connections could take months with networking hardware.
On Platform Equinix, that network service and cloud access can be delivered virtually, on-demand in minutes via the Equinix Fabric Customer Portal dashboard. Customers can connect to their telco or NSP of choice and immediately adapt its services digitally in real time — changing either bandwidth speed/capacity or location. Imagine how long it would take to physically move a connection from Singapore to Sydney if you had to ship physical routers to the new location. And, with the billing process integrated into the deployment, the quote-to-bill cycle is considerably shortened for telcos and other service providers, saving both time and employee effort/hours.
Using Equinix virtual networking services has other advantages for end users. Moving the network location to a data center that is closer to the customer means better application performance. End customers who are accessing their NSP through the Equinix Fabric get an additional benefit of flexible access to Equinix’s interconnected digital and business ecosystems. This gives them the option to choose the best-in-class service provider for their business requirements and budget. NSPs can use the power of the vendor-neutral Equinix platform as a selling point for their customers who are looking to directly and securely connect to a variety of services (edge computing, internet, cloud, SaaS, etc.).
Learn more about deploying NSP services at software speed via Equinix Fabric.
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