Software Defined Networking: Next Step in Networking Evolution

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A Network Engineer’s perspective

As more and more people get online, so does the number of devices including network nodes, servers and end user devices. This means that a tremendous amount of strain is being put on those responsible for monitoring and managing larger networks. The process of deploying new sites and managing all devices independently has proven to be difficult to scale up. The amount of traffic being generated by the end user has also increased in quantity and the demand for top quality service is expected at every instant.

MTN Software Defined Networking is a solution to revolutionize how we monitor, maintain and manage our networks. It is a physical separation of the network control plane from the forwarding data plane, and therefore enabling the control plane to manage multiple devices. This is meant to address the decentralized and static nature of traditional networks that made them complex. The modern network needs to be much more flexible and easier to deploy and troubleshoot. Thanks to SDN, the network is now intelligent and centrally controlled using software applications. Network engineers can now manage their networks from a holistic and consistent perspective regardless of the underlying network technology.


The real purpose of Software Defined Networking is to decouple the networking logic from the physical devices to a place where it can be more directly controlled and managed to suit the dynamics of variable workloads. This means that the data plane can be altered and tailored when necessary not only based on the destination but on the most efficient path to the destination. Such capabilities allow network engineers to build data flows based on security policies, rather than the traditional way of adapting the policies to fit in the unaltered data plane. Automation of network processes is simple, highly secure and scalable. By building programmable networks, we eliminate manual configuration of network devices across campuses and Wide Area Networks. Zero touch provisioning becomes a reality as network nodes pick configurations from pre-configured templates delivered from the control plane.

Deploying MTN SDN in your business environment allows you to:

Simplify operations – The entire network is transformed to a single unified environment for design, provisioning, monitoring and troubleshooting. This allows for automated design and deployments through zero touch provisioning creating an integrated network with user and application information in one place.

Improved deployment speeds of new IT services – MTN SDN allows for easy adoption of new services such as IoT to improve efficiency by easily creating new networks with no impact to existing operations. Policy development and deployment is also greatly simplified.

Minimize security breaches – MTN SDN allows you to easily and dynamically expand and contract the exposure levels of the network through reliable segmentation without disrupting data flows. As networks get larger and more complex, having virtual barriers that are easily managed is essential to keeping the network secure.

Improve service levels – Due to the intelligent nature of Software Defined Networks, detection and resolution of problems is faster and more efficient. A simplified holistic view of users, the network and applications is provided by the control plane which includes proactive monitoring and guided remediation of problems. This greatly reduces the number of help desk calls and the mean time to repair.

As the Internet continues to evolve and our networks continue to grow, the underlying networking infrastructure needs to adapt to the changes. There is a need for dynamic networks that can adapt based on the everchanging needs of the users. Software Defined Networking eliminates the complexity that existed in monitoring and managing traditional networks and allows for maximum choice and control while maintaining flexibility with a cloud first architecture to connect any user, to any application across any network infrastructure.

MTN Business Kenya is a Cisco partner- Premier Certified.


For a one on one meeting on MTN SDN, e-mail our MTN Business Kenya team on yello.ke@mtn.com.

Insights by: Kenneth Odera, Service Delivery Engineer

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