LATAM meets network capacity demand with virtual platforms

DetailsJuan Fernandez Gonzalez | 12 June 2015

Even though over-the-top services and online video platforms are increasing pressure on networks' capacity in Latin America, networks may be more ready than initially thought thanks to old fibre.

Digitalisation of traditional cable operators, new actors such as Netflix -which was almost non-existent five years ago-, and upcoming players are increasing the capacity demands of both final users, operators and content distributors. Yet old fibre networks can be adapted to meet future needs with software and programmable techniques.

According to Ciena's chief technology officer (CTO) for Latin America and the Caribbean, Hector Silva, while there are different solutions on the operator-final user side, for operators there is almost only one: fibre cable. "Fibre has no competitor when it comes to build the network between content centres", said Silva in an interview with Rapid TV News En Español. "The question is more how to maximise the current networks, because it's very difficult to imagine how to constantly build up new networks to meet the rocketing demand".

In order to take the most out of the current fibre networks, some of which were built over 20 years ago, Ciena is working on virtual solutions which deliver a faster, more efficient and more flexible service for every operator, including broadcasters and video players. The networks virtualisation is possible both through advanced software, which is currently able to replace many devices, and programmable platforms, like SDN (software defined networks).

"Latin America's main challenge in the future is improve both quality and capacity of the fibre networks to support the increasing data traffic covering long distances", pointed Silva. "But virtual solutions are there to compensate the networks' weaknesses, and there are way more affordable".