As telecom networks evolve in order to meet greater content demand, CCN architecture could prove an important model
Telecommunication networks are quickly evolving from primarily carrying voice-based traffic using copper wires to internet protocol-powered fiber networks tasked with transmitting video content. While this migration has been happening over decades, it has seen a significant ramp up over the past several years as consumers increasingly look to streaming-video platforms.
To help support such a move, telecom networks are leaning heavily on web-based solutions to garner greater efficiencies and performance. One such move is toward content-centric networking, which is an internet architecture designed to handle communications and distribution in support of new services.
According to PARC, which is a division of Xerox and began the initial project looking at CCN in 2007 under the guise of the Palo Alto Research Center: “CCN directly routes and delivers named pieces of content at the packet level of the network, enabling automatic and application-neutral caching in memory wherever it’s located in the network. The result? Efficient and effective delivery of content wherever and whenever it is needed. Since the architecture enables these caching effects as an automatic side effect of packet delivery, memory can be used without building expensive application-level caching services.”
The PARC CCN effort itself was built off work done by computer scientist Van Jacobson, who laid out some of the initial thoughts in his “A new way to look at networking” presentation at Google in 2006.
PARC in 2012 launched the Emerging Networks Consortium, which it said would work to advance the development of the next-generation internet based on CCN. That work is focused on enabling networks initially designed for end-to-end communications to evolve in support of a “distributed network for multimedia sharing.” Founding members included Alcatel-Lucent, BT, France Telecom-Orange, Huawei, Mach, Panasonic and Samsung.
For those telecom operators, the move toward CCN is seen as a way to combat over-the-top competitors that are increasingly taking advantage of telecom hardware to offer services competing with the companies that deployed those telecom networks as well as avoid the stigma of being just dumb pipes. Arjun Nandal, head of solution design at Mach, told European Communications shortly after the formation of ENC that “CCN is a natural way for operators to evolve their business models through value-added services and move away from dumb pipes.”
However, some established telecom operators were more cautious on the potential benefits of CCN, with BT and France-Telecom Orange both looking at a 2020 time frame for any real adoption of CCN.
“Since then our ideas have converged – it’s now evolution not revolution,” said Keith Blythe, head of future consumer applications and services at BT, in the EC article. “However, lots of questions remain, particularly over costs and whether it will work in practice, so it’s too early to call at present.”
With the mobile telecom space looking to revolutionize network architecture under the guide of “5G” technology along a similar timeline, CCN looks to be a possible path that can be taken in order to deal with network congestion issues and in turn garner greater network and operational efficiencies.