Source: Ottawa Business Journal

The Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks (CENGN) highlighted its successes in its annual report released Monday.

The Ottawa-based centre’s CEO, Ritch Dusome, said those successes include growing the consortium to include 12 members and a “multitude of partners.”

“We have engaged with over 350 SME (small-, medium-sized enterprises) nationally, we have brought in over 25 students and trained them in SDN (software defined networking) and we have developed CENGN’s Common Platform (CCP),” Mr. Dusome wrote in the report.

According to the report, the CCP is “at the core” of its operations, and will house many of its projects as well as its testing and lab services.

Mr. Dusome said the CCP is a “critical component” to the first five commercialization projects now underway.

Those projects include partnerships with Ottawa-based CENX and Corsa Technologies.

CENX is partnering with CENGN member Telus on a network functions virtualization (NFV) service orchestration for assured cloud connectivity project. The company’s marketing director, Marie Fiala Timlin said the project will “really shake things up in terms of the infrastructure in the telecom network.”

NFV takes traditional proprietary hardware, said Ms. Timlin, and puts it onto general purpose hardware cutting capital and operational expenditures for service providers.

Ms. Timlin said she loves how CENGN is taking an active project management role in the early stages of the CENX/Telus partnership.

“The project has been defined and we’re working through the details to make sure the requirements for both parties are met,” she said.

With the goal of commercializing CENX’s solution, the idea is Telus would be able to roll it across its network first, said Ms. Timlin, and CENX would have a proven solution that can then be offered to other customers.

Corsa CEO Bruce Gregory said his company had been involved in discussions about CENGN dating back to when the idea was just evolving.

“It seems to me that Corsa, being one of the pioneers of the software defined networking technology, we should be able to do some really neat stuff and present that to the world,” he said.

Corsa Technology will team with BTI Systems on software-defined networking (SDN) dynamic bandwidth on demand.

“We got together with the folks at BTI and started looking at a number of different applications that we can do … and the on demand application that we’re talking about was a pretty clear one that demonstrates advanced technology,” Mr. Gregory said.

Mr. Gregory said there was already a friendly relationship between the two companies, so that good synergy made it “pretty easy” to agree on a partnership.

Their project will see existing technology from BTI and Corsa integrated at CENGN, with the hopes of a launching at a major conference in Germany in the fall.

In addition to its commercialization projects, training is another key part of CENGN’s mandate as the move from hardware to software-defined networks makes a whole new skill set necessary for companies and their workforce.

Two training sessions were held this year, a SDN fundamentals session designed to “address decision makers of a software designed networking strategy”, and a bootcamp which

covered the “critical skills needed to deploy and SDN-based solution,” according to the report.

CENGN offered the sessions in conjunction with its partner, Inocybe, and the first CENGN-branded training on SDN fundamentals is coming this fall. There are other training sessions coming that will cover topics including data centre architecture and the DevOps environment.

Citing its international web presence and more than 1,000 followers on social media, the report said CENGN is “well on its way to becoming a recognized brand around the world.”

“I am confident that we have everything in place to increase our membership and become an internationally recognized centre of excellence where researchers, startups and small- and medium-sized enterprises and multi-national enterprises can come together to commercialize technology and build Canada’s position as a leader in the communications sector,” CENGN board of directors chair Mike Scott wrote in the report.