Flexible MAC Architecture in the Cloud: Architectures for a Virtual World (2021)

By Douglas Johnson & Jeremy Thompson, Vecima Networks, Inc.

Over the last few years, and accelerated by COVID-19, the approach to corporate IT has fundamentally changed and companies are undergoing significant shifts in IT strategy and culture. The illusion of a "private, secure" network run by undersized IT teams has been shattered and companies are left grappling with the complexity and security of large, remote, organically grown networks.

Cloud as-a-service operators offer a reprieve: augment your team with our offerings. Their teams manage the day-to-day complexity and security of the services in a cost-effective way while your IT teams focus more on value-added services specific to the business. In some domains, that value-add is as simple as on-prem tech support. In other domains, the value-add can be a significant network unto itself.

The latter domain is our focus: MSOs operate significantly complex networks and domain specific applications. MSO teams have specialized technical skills and experiences which allow operators to provide scalable and robust Internet connectivity to their end-users. Cloud offerings can augment existing investments by reducing time to deploy new services and enabling existing teams to focus on domain specific problems and solutions.

In this paper we look at a Flexible MAC Architecture (FMA) deployment following these principles. Some of the network is domain specific and managed by specialized in-house teams which are then augmented by resources and teams provided by 3rd party Cloud offerings. We examine the viability of a hybrid approach to FMA deployment through design, constraints, security, and costs using a prototype deployment.

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