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KVH's New SDN-enabled Ethernet Service: etherXEN

7 May 2014 / Abel Tong

“We would accomplish many more things if we did not think of them as impossible.” - Vince Lombardi

If you listen to the pundits and incumbent hardware vendors, they will tell you that SDN and it’s use in the network is years away, because “the network is too complex to virtualize or orchestrate.” KVH has proven otherwise.

Today, KVH launched etherXEN, a next-generation Ethernet services that is on-demand and dynamic, fast and scalable (from 1Mbps to 100Gbps), and cheaper - 30% less expensive than the competition. These are precisely the kind of highly scalable, on-demand services required by today’s dynamic cloud and data center applications. So, by offering “more for less,” etherXEN put KVH in a position to differentiate and take market share.

So how is KVH doing this? KVH is transforming their network. Leveraging their existing fiber infrastructure, this pan-region service provider and data center operator is applying state-of-the-art 100G Ethernet and packet-optical technology. But, the key could very well be KVH’s application of carrier SDN, which is being utilized to unify and orchestrate the network, streamlines operations, and serve as the platform to rapidly launch new services — such as etherXEN.

The application of SDN in KVH’s case starts with service automation. Today, it can take an operator 18 months to develop and launch a new service and it can take 60+ days to provision a new circuit for a customer.

Automation allows KVH to change and improve the customer experience. By automating back-office processes and the provisioning of the network, KVH can turn-up services in days compared to their competition. They’ve utilized SDN for service orchestration across their multi-domain, multi-layer and multi-vendor network. And the operational efficiency they’ve gained, translates into saving for their customers.

KVH’s etherXEN service can be used to interconnect business locations or to provide private networking directly into Amazon Web Services (AWS). The flexibility of SDN lets customers burst traffic or change guaranteed bandwidth on-demand. SDN-based traffic engineering enables high-reliability by delivering services with sub-50ms protection switching. For KVH, SDN-enabled service agility is something that’s available to their customers today, not a far-off future vision.

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