SD-WAN FEATURED ARTICLE
128 Technology Talks FSE, 5G, Service Providers & More
Digital transformation is a widespread undertaking. Service providers are riding a wave of evolution, and, pandemic aside, are on the precipice of an automation-driven, cloud-powered, 5G, WFH world, where innovation is enabling the ability to extend edge capability and empower a new generation of products and services.
128 Technology (News - Alert) recently unveiled the Flexible Service Edge (FSE), a transformative tool for service providers to accelerate time-to-revenue with new higher-value services, augmenting existing connectivity services. I had the opportunity to speak with SD-WAN Expo veteran, Vice President, Product Management 128 Technology Ritesh Mukherjee to talk shop, service providers and digital vision for today and tomorrow.
Maurice Nagle: How has 128 Technology been impacted from the pandemic? Has it Shifted product focus, or staying the course?
Ritesh Mukherjee: The pandemic has driven organizations to digitize their operations and support remote workforces. The surge in online traffic has also resulted in organizations looking for new ways manage bandwidth. Both of these trends have led to an increase in consumption and usage of tunnel-free networking solutions from 128 Technology. There has been an increase in sales and deployment activity during this time. Organizations can quickly deploy and avail themselves of the benefits of superior performance, scale, and breakthrough economics that comes from removing tunnels and using 128 Technology solutions. The product roadmap has largely stayed on course. 128 Technology accelerated and delivered remote work solutions with the 128 Connect.
MN: Digital transformation is not optional, please explain how 128 Technology is supporting service providers.
RM: For a while 128 Technology’s tagline has been to Reinvent the Digital Future. Service providers can embrace digital transformation by embracing tunnel-free networking solutions from 128 Technology. There are two ways in which they can do this:
- Transform and differentiate services that they offer to enterprises. Our tunnel-free solution simplifies the network, lowers bandwidth usage, and improves scale. This leads to superior end user experience and ultimately opportunity for revenue growth by offering differentiated offering over competitors.
- Prepare their own network for the future by utilizing tunnel-free solution that deliver exceptional benefits for MEC, 5G, IoT, and cloud. The solution is location independent, supports mobility inherently, automated service discovery, and fast failovers which are necessary for supporting modern applications.
Service providers such as CMC Networks, Freebit, Momentum (News - Alert) Telecom, Sejong Telecom, Softbank, Sony Biz Networks, Tokai Communications, and many others are already seeing the benefits of these digital transformations.
MN: Are there unique challenges to delivering managed services today versus six months ago? Please explain.
RM: Despite economic uncertainty during the pandemic, most managed service providers continue to demonstrate healthy business and opportunity due to digitization of all areas of business in an organization. Some challenges to delivering a managed service and ability to turn them into opportunities include:
- We have seen an acceleration in security projects as well as cloud migrations. Managed service offerings that include these in their offerings will flourish while those with lack of expertise in these areas will need to quickly ramp up or will lose customer confidence.
- Worldwide work from home guidelines have dramatically amplified the need for VoIP, Collaboration, business continuity, and resiliency solutions. Traditional standalone IT managed services that do not offer these will face adoption challenges.
- Digitization has also led organizations to prepare for the future and support remote management. Any solution today needs to have 5G, IoT, and cloud in their offering or roadmap. Remote management and zero-touch provisioning is essential for any managed service offering during these times.
Managed Services can perform the essential task of helping their clients stay in business during these times. Managed Services embracing the challenges will be able to convert them into opportunities and emerge even stronger.
MN: What does 5G mean to 128 Technology, what opportunities and obstacles lay ahead?
RM: The wireline transport infrastructure must evolve to avoid becoming the bottleneck for 5G. The network must become pervasive, adaptive, automated, and highly optimized. Traditional atomistic networks cannot meet the needs of 5G. Tunnel-free routing from 128 Technology is a great fit for 5G. The latency, scale, performance, and vision expected for 5G cannot be met by repurposing three decades old tunneling technologies. Aggregating flows and redirecting traffic impede 5G. Tunnel-free solutions from 128 Technology can facilitate automated discovery of MEC nodes close to the user, seamless failover without hair pining traffic for high speed mobility, and segmentation of IoT traffic without ossification to enable differentiated services. 128 Technology is partnering with wireless vendors and public cloud providers to enable 5G.
MN: Where does SASE fit in 128 Technology’s plans? Why is the convergence of network and security crucial?
RM: 128 Technology has always believed in the SASE model even before the term was coined. 128 Technology recognized that security must be fully integrated into the network. 128 Technology Session Smart™ routers have built-in security capabilities that are an inherent part of the architecture. In addition, service-based routing ensures that sessions are delivered based on identity and context to relevant parties based on real-time policies. Advanced security functions can be delivered when required by service chaining cloud components. This ensures that a modern cloud-centric digital business can provide secure access to users and devices anywhere.
The convergence of network and security is paramount. Security must be baked into the product and not bolted on at a later stage. Some of the reasons for this are:
- User data is everywhere today. It is in public and private clouds, user devices, and in transit. There are more than a few locations to protect.
- Hackers have gotten smarter. Most hacks occur from within the network. Older mechanisms do not handle these situations.
- There is no perimeter. With remote work, BYOD, and cloud we cannot rely on firewalls in a few locations.
Security cannot be an after thought or a separate department adding devices and locks later on or separately. It must be part of every network device.
MN: Can you offer any insight into what we can expect in the months to come from 128 Technology?
RM: 128 Technology is constantly working on innovations that break the age-old status quo of legacy networking. Some of the features that are going to be made generally available in the recent future include:
- Predictive traffic and analytics utilizing past network data, artificial intelligence, and big data processing to enable 128T routers to guide traffic innovatively similar to WAZE and Google (News - Alert) Maps.
- Automated discovery of MEC nodes based on SLAs and session continuity across high speed mobility events without redirection or interruption for 5G.
- Embedded lightweight client utilizing high speed cryptography for IoT.
- Automated application categorization for any application utilizing Internet data powered by Alexa, an Amazon company.
- Ability to connect L2 sites over any transport with L3 failover capabilities.
These innovations along with other features will enable organizations to truly convert the network into an innovation engine supporting and enabling their businesses.
We are just scratching the surface of the cloud, and as service providers can better harness the capabilities of digital transformation to deliver this brave new world, 128 Technology innovation is supporting every step.
Edited by Maurice Nagle