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Nokia has claimed that networks must be 'smarter' in order to cope with the acceleration in IoT deployment and machine communications that is being projected over the next number of years. Nokia's head of sales for IP and Optical Networks in the MENA region, Naveed Kashif, declared that in order to meet the challenge posed by the exponential rise in connected devices networks just can't be bigger, they must be smarter. Telecom Review managed to secure an exclusive interview with Nokia's head of sales for ION to discuss the company's recent announcements, the interplay between cloud and networks and some of the new technological solutions it is set to introduce to market.

Nokia made a big announcement in June with the launch of its FP4 IP network processor silicon. Can you outline to us what the benefits of this product are?
Nokia announced new silicon innovation that will power the biggest and smartest routers the industry has seen. The Nokia FP4 IP network processor silicon raises the bar for the industry and fuels new options for service providers and web-scale operators building the world's biggest IP networks. Powered by the FP4 chipset, we also introduced significant additions to our IP routing portfolio that include the highest density routers in the industry (7750 SR-s series) as well as the biggest router the world has ever seen (7950 XRS-XC).

Unlike others, Nokia delivers industry-leading scale without compromising on capabilities to ensure that modern networks are not only big enough, but also far safer, smarter and dramatically more adaptable. Our advanced FP4 silicon provides not just the highest capacity, but also deep visibility and fine-grained control to gain valuable insight and enable precise action to enhance the customer experience and secure the network while maximizing network efficiency. In addition, FP4 is a highly extensible network processing engine that makes possible the addition of new capabilities via software upgrades to meet operators' current and future needs. It gives our customers the confidence to know that they have a platform on which they can innovate and adapt to change without fork-lift upgrades. It gives much needed longevity to their network investments and drives higher ROI.As network operators adopt big-data analytics and software-driven automation to move to an insight-driven automated networking operations model for managing their modern IP network, a high-performance adaptive network foundation is critical. Leveraging FP4-powered routers, Deepfield IP network analytics and our Network Services Platform Carrier SDN offering, Nokia offers best-in-class end-to-end solutions to enable this important transition for our customers.

What was the market situation that led you to develop this innovation?
Runaway growth in traffic is no secret. As users, we want more, and our expectations keep rising as our networked experiences continue to get richer. On top of that, there is a new wave of IoT and machine communications that provide an even bigger avalanche of connections. We can easily expect hundreds of times the number of networked endpoints, together serving to improve the productivity, safety and overall quality of our lives with smart homes, smart grids, smart cities and smart industry. But with richer experiences and more pervasive networks comes greater threat. The security perimeter expands dramatically as well as exposing more vulnerability and DDoS attack vectors. To meet the challenge, networks of the future can't just be bigger. They must also be smarter. They must be extremely efficient and easy to operate. They must be able to adapt to changes in traffic patterns and embrace new applications and business models. In a world where all services are cloud services, the interplay of networks and clouds is fundamental. As content is placed and moved, as applications instantiate wherever needed and move as required, the network must adjust. The new model is one of insight-driven automated operations as networks scale beyond bounds. Nokia is addressing all of these concerns, delivering exactly the products and technologies that intercept this opportunity and pave the way for the new model for modern IP networks.

How does this new technology help your customers meet their business goals?
This announcement aligns with our customers' goals and expectations. Service providers and web-scale operators need to provide compelling end user experiences, sustain and increase their revenues, and keep up with the relentless upsurge in traffic growth - all while reducing network implementation costs. This calls for a new approach to IP network design and implementation. Modern IP networks must be far more scalable, adaptable and secure.

We are addressing our customers' needs in several key ways:

  • Our new innovations and routing platform enhancements support leaps in density, the industry's first answer to terabit connectivity and very high port fan-in without compromising on capabilities. They help our customers reduce footprint, increase revenues and deliver predictable quality of experience (QoE) while minimizing operational cost and complexity.
  • Network automation and operational simplification are crucial for modern IP networks. We combine flow-level telemetry (model-driven and push-based), big data analytics and software-defined networking (SDN) control to provide an insight-driven, automated operations model that is fully aligned with our customers' cloud-based deployment models.
  • We deliver key capabilities that reinvent the way volumetric DDoS security threats are mitigated. We enable a network-integrated approach to DDoS threat mitigation by leveraging the high-performance enhanced packet inspection and control capabilities of our FP4 silicon.
  • By combining our FP4-based routing platforms with our Service Router Operating System (SR OS), we offer maximum longevity for both hardware and software elements. Nokia FP silicon has consistently delivered system lifecycles that are significantly longer than those delivered by the rest of the industry. This lifecycle lasts through our customers' investment cycle, often up to a decade, providing service providers and webscale operators with unprecedented economic benefits and investment protection. 

Given the drive towards network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-based systems, why does silicon still matter?
The primary goal of NFV and software-centric systems is to improve agility and offer greater flexibility relative to the deployment of network functions and related services. NFV leverages standard high-volume IT servers to run network functions in software. Routing platforms have a control plane and a data-plane component. The x86-based servers deployed for NFV have demonstrated the ability to scale control plane-centric functions. However, these platforms do not support massive IP packet forwarding (data-plane) performance. This performance is critical to high-capacity aggregation, edge, core and backbone routing applications within datacenter and wide area networks. Routing silicon is designed to support the high capacity forwarding requirements of modern IP networks, while offering additional capabilities that are essential for service provider, web-scale and enterprise IP networks. These capabilities include hardware assist for IP/MPLS and segment routing functions. NFV will continue to complement existing specialized IP routing platforms within modern IP networks. It will support control plane-intensive functions and functions that benefit from distributed deployment models in a cost effective way.

What are the trends related to end user devices and IP traffic growth?
Data from Nokia Bell Labs reveals several key trends relating to devices and IP traffic:

  • Worldwide, the number of internet of things (IoT) devices will grow from 12B in 2017 to 46B in 2020, and to 99B in 2025
  • Global IP traffic will increase to ~3.96 ZB per year by 2022
  • Wireless traffic will experience 7.5x growth from 2017-2022
  • WiFi will become nearly ubiquitous, growing 7.3x to account for 65 percent all traffic between 2017 and 2022
  • Internet video consumption will grow 2.21x from 2017-2022 and account for 65 percent of all internet demand by 2022, and 3D/4K/UHD will experience 4.79x growth from 2017-2022
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