Adtran WallADTRAN today announced Mosaic, a new access architecture based on software defined networking – and in an interview, ADTRAN Associate Vice President of Carrier Strategies Robert Conger described the sorts of moves that manufacturers must make in order to transition their offerings to SDN. “The end goal is to get to a user-driven network,” said Conger about ADTRAN Mosaic.

ADTRAN Mosaic underlies the company’s next-generation access equipment, including NG-PON2 and offerings that are currently undergoing carrier trials. Mosaic elements include a cloud platform, an operations system and programmable network elements.

As Conger explained, the idea behind SDN is to “disaggregate software and hardware.” Instead of building hardware managed by built-in proprietary software, SDN uses a separate standards-based controller to manage hardware. That approach can dramatically reduce the time required to deploy a new type of device in an operator’s network because those responsible for managing the equipment do not require special training on how to do that.

“Controllers through extraction let someone who knows nothing about VDSL program [equipment] using an abstracted interface,” Conger said.

ADTRAN Mosaic will support a “modular app-based collection of tools that can plug into the [SDN] controller,” he explained. That approach, he said, is much like what we see with mobile devices that use the iOS operating system, thereby giving users the ability to download apps to run on the mobile devices.

Not all network operators are ready to move to SDN at this point in time, but if not they may want to position themselves to make that move in the future, Conger said. For those operators, Conger noted that ADTRAN Mosaic can be deployed with a bundled controller and applications that essentially act as a traditional element management system.

Other manufacturers that have been migrating toward an SDN approach include JuniperCyanCalix and others.