Since the emergence of globalization, maritime activities have dramatically increased and become diversified. In fact, maritime traffic has been busier than ever, contributed by diverse maritime activities, such as shipping cargos, fishing boats, coastal patrols and even leisure cruise ships traveling across multiple seas. Therefore, the demand for secure and resilient communications has been urged for the connectivity and security for both crews and passengers. In fact, the next-generation network system must integrate all the protocols, including satellite, VSAT, terrestrial, telephone, microwave, radio frequency and 4G/LTE, to establish communications aboard, as well as between land and sea.

Since the introduction of the cloud technology, there is a rapidly growing number of enterprises and government organizations adopting cloud-first approach, in which business applications are run and delivered on the cloud. As they launch more and more Apps and expand their operations, the WAN will play a key factor in this cloud-first competition.

The accelerating roll-outs of SDN and NFV architectures by service providers have raised the discussion that the end of MPLS service will soon come to an end. Indeed, enterprises that have deployed SD-WAN and other NFV services have enjoyed the benefits of software-configurable bandwidth and traffic segmentation. However, when QoS and service assurance are taken into consideration, it seems software-defined network architecture and virtualized infrastructures have not reached its maturity form yet, unless some VNF performance monitoring measures are deployed.

The increasing use of cloud and the continuous demand for bandwidth have driven enterprises to seek more flexible and simpler WAN solutions, which means the conventional WAN architecture relying on MPLS to rout traffic data between branch offices and data center will be history, just a matter of time. However, enterprises are reluctant to replace existing hardware infrastructure overnight. Thus, Hybrid WAN and then SD-WAN have emerged.

Cable MSOs (multiple-system operators) are going to challenge telecom’s long market dominance in enterprise services, with the new power by SD-WAN (Software-defined WAN). Cable providers are benefited with the SDN technology enabling them to serve large, multi-site corporations. With SD-WAN, cable MSOs can leverage their existing coaxial connectors with Gigabit Internet speeds enabled by adopting DOCSIS 3.1 technology, thus they do not have to rely on fiber alone. In other words, SD-WAN allow cable services to offer more flexible and affordable services and connectivity for multi-site enterprises than the currently employed MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) services to integrate all the cloud applications, such as VoIP, ADC and VPN, among distributed branches.

As pointed out by Gartner report in 2016, more than 30% of advanced cyber threats, such as DDoS, data breach, and ransomware, will aim at the most vulnerable edge networks of SME or remote business branches, where IT managements are more concerned with budget, service flexibility and manageability. To build up sustainable measures against latest emerging cyber threats, they need a flexible, on-demand, and software-defined security to achieve total zone defense for their networks. With the trends of NFV and vCPE network virtualization infrastructures, SMEs and branch offices shall employ x86 open compute vCPE platforms and SD-Security to simplify their edge security operations and deliver service agility while maintaining OPEX efficiency and elasticity.

Network Function Virtualization (NFV) is a new network architecture concept that uses IT virtualization technologies to decouple network functions, such as router, firewall, network address transition (NAT), and domain name service (DNS), from proprietary hardware appliances so that they can run as software on general purpose network platform. NFV aims to help telecom service providers obtain operation agility, OPEX efficiency and scale-on-demand network services.

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