SDN Software Defined Networking – is the Holy Grail of 21st century telecommunications. This is a concept that enables the physical layer of a device (physical interfaces, ASIC systems, NPU) to become only the executive part of the “network brain”, namely, the controller. In the case of SDN solutions, it is the active layer of the controller and holds applications that define the functionalities of every machine and, at the same time, the entire network it manages.
In practice, this means a revolution in telecommunications. In the network of the future, having a hardware platform will still be necessary – but it will be the software developers that will provide devices with real value. Owing to SDN technology, such independent software developers as EXATEL will take up the challenge of creating original devices and will be able to create solutions of the highest global level. SDNbox and SDNcore are hard evidence of this. They are solutions that we are developing with the second largest fibre-optic network in Poland in mind – and this is just the beginning.
SDN will change more than just telecommunications. It will also impact our life and the entire economy. It will enable us to fully implement 5G technology. This, in turn, will allow us to handle the growing volume of traffic associated with the Internet of Things (IoT) traffic, industrial automation and autonomous vehicles. SDN will also open up new areas for business. Let us image, for example, tourism with Augmented Reality technologies. All this requires efficient data exchange within digital reality – the building blocks of which are optical fibres – And they will soon be managed by the SDN technology.
There are 2 key solutions within the SDN Technology framework:
What is SDNbox?
SDNbox is the first, fully Polish solution – programmable hardware platform for a telecommunications network that is based on widely available network components and interfaces, and which contains built-in selected network functions (router, switch, encryptor, probe, firewall, anti-DDoS, Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC)). The SDNbox platform will enable telecommunications operators and other business clients to develop their own flexible, secure and highly-efficient infrastructure within the operator’s network aggregation layer, as well as inside the customer network interface.
Why do we need SDNbox?
The device we are developing will enable reaching long-term market objectives – such as introducing new products to the portfolio of data transit services and improving cost-effectiveness of telecommunications services provided by EXATEL. This will translate to a better position among telecommunications operators. As part of the external diffusion effect, it will also enable development of the market for the suppliers of device components and for software solutions for the SDNbox. Moreover, it will create new jobs in the enterprise and affiliates.
What is SDNcore?
SDNcore will be a high-performance and scalable software-defined platform for aggregating network traffic. It is a device being developed with the operators of telecommunications networks in mind. It will be constructed according to the SDN (Software Defined Networking) philosophy. The device will operate at key points of any transport network – the aggregation and backbone layers, and will cooperate with other such devices, such as the SDNbox being constructed by EXATEL.
Why do we need SDNcore?
The basic reason behind developing SDNcore is to manage the transit network and the services we provide therein in a faster and more effective manner. The SDNcore device will also enable the provision of telecommunications services to clients demanding large bandwidths – even up to 100Gb/s. In the long run, developing SDNcore will allow us to replace conventional equipment with SDN-based devices. This – combined with the use of SDNbox appliances – opens up the road to constructing a homogeneous network, the development of which we will be able to fully manage.
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Work on the SDN projects
Deputy Director of the Project Management Office
At EXATEL, I play at home and work for my retirement. Working in a Polish-capital enterprise is a privilege. This changes the perspective – we are able to develop innovation, invent patents, improve relationships with universities and local initiatives with local government partners, take care of secure infrastructure and the security of the network and its users, as well as create corporate social responsibility – and all this remains in our country. For our company, being focused on profit is just one of its development vectors and this creates our unique value. For me – as a scientist – EXATEL and its problems mean constant inspiration that enables me to fulfil myself as an engineer.
Senior SDN Solutions Architect
During my junior year at the university, I came upon the FPGA technology that changed my approach towards the development of telecommunications devices in Poland. Until then I was convinced that the most interesting thing that I could do was to explore the solutions offered by Cisco. With time, I realized that by using other widely available technologies, we could develop domestic solutions in Poland. I found a space to pursue my own ambitions at EXATEL, and the SDNbox project perfectly fits my individual professional objectives. I am now designing a Polish operator-class Openflow switch from scratch – which is a demanding and responsible task, but an extremely satisfying one.
Chief Software Developer in SDN Development Team
What I value in the work of an engineer/software developer is the opportunity for continuous development. Not falling into routing, being faced with new challenges and overcoming them – this sounds like a cliché, but it’s important to me. In working on the SDNbox project, I do not merely look for simple solutions. I look for the best ones. It’s not that I can find everything on Stack Overflow. Sometimes I find nothing or very little. The problem I am faced with is mine to solve. We are not developing another CRUD for invoicing. We stand a chance to have positive impact upon the Polish market of telecommunications operators, and our SDNbox can be the first SDN controller created in Poland.
Research and Development Project Manager
Working on R&D projects is really rewarding. It is a job like no other. It is not another database, another form, another repetitive device, another customer service system. In this job we are working on technologies that only a handful of people in the world had the opportunity to see in action. Here, we are constantly learning new things. It also involves constant surprises. Unusual work you usually run into unusual problems. Those problems also require out-of-the-box solutions. And that is what we like!
Frequently asked questions_
Are SDNbox and SDNcore the only R&D projects?
No, we have been dealing with research and development projects for years. Initially, in 2014-2017, we were a member of the international RAPID5G consortium. As part of this project, in July 2017 in Warsaw, we conducted the first European tests of 5G technology in public space. We are also developing cybersecurity services. An example here is our proprietary anti-DDoS TAMA. And that's still not all.