In the space of 4 short years the ONF and TIP, along with hardware partners like Edgecore Networks, have altered the service provider hardware industry in aeternum. Their end-to-end, open networking solutions are going to take a large chunk out of a projected 5-year, $490 billion bonanza that traditional vendors like Cisco and Huawei had locked in. Network disaggregation, the pillar of hyperscale datacentres, is now a reality for service providers who are willing to embrace SDN and open hardware to achieve their goals.
AT&T, Deutsche Telecom, Verizon, Telefonica, NTT and many more Tier 1’s have already embraced open networking with both arms and are well on their journey in disaggregating their extensive networks. Now, with the hardware and software maturing, it is the turn of 2nd and 3rd tier ISP’s, and all forms of service providers, to reap the benefits of the solid foundations that have been laid by the backbone providers. I look at some of the end-to-end solutions now as we have previously covered the hardware here.
Open Networking Foundation (ONF)
The ONF began work in this sector in 2016 with the advent of their CORD (Central Office Rearchitected as a Datacenter) platform. As the projects within the platform multiplied the scope of the platform also increased to include, mobile, edge cloud, and an assortment of SDN projects like P4, and Stratum. 2019 saw the first reference designs for their SEBA, COMAC and Trellis projects and 2020 has seen their rollouts in the production networks of Comcast, T-Mobile, Turk Telecom, Deutsche Telecom, and more. I will now have a closer look at SEBA.
Software Enabled Broadband Access – This does what it says on the tin. Providing residential and enterprise broadband using bare metal OLT’s, bare metal switches and aggregation routers, bare metal servers, vBNG’s and a multitude of virtualized access technologies at the edge of the carrier network, including PON, G.Fast, and eventually DOCSIS and more. SEBA supports both residential access and wireless backhaul and is optimized such that traffic can run ‘fastpath’ straight through to the backbone without requiring VNF processing on a server.
This particular project uses bare metal hardware and open source software to provide broadband access. While this may be something a tier 1 can work with, as it has the in-house technical resources, smaller providers need a more complete commercial option. We now have a myriad of options for the switching, routing, OLT and BNG software from companies like IP Infusion, Altran, NetElastic, Adtran, et al. On the hardware side we have the usual vendors like Edgecore Networks, Lanner, Supermicro, Celestica and a new microplug solution from a company called TiBiT Communications which should be interesting in this area. For more information on residential broadband solutions please contact me.
Telecom Infra Project (TIP)
TIP was formed in 2016 around the same time as the CORD platform began within the ONF. The two organisations are closely linked which helps their membership avoid doubling up on project types. There are three distinct areas within TIP:
Access – Projects include, CrowdCell, Open Cellular, Wi-Fi, and Open RAN. RAN accounts for roughly 40% of the telco spend and the aim of the Open RAN project is to create vendor neutral disaggregation of the RAN at the hardware and software levels.
Core and Service – Projects include, Edge Application Developer which is creating open APIs and SDKs, End-to-End Network Slicing which is deployed over fixed and mobile operator networks, and Open Core Network who’s aim is to develop an open, cloud-native, and converged core all running on bare metal.
Transport – Projects include, mmWave Networks, Non-Terrestrial Connectivity Solutions, Open Optical & Packet Transport and Wireless Backhaul. One of the furthest along projects, with sections of it in the production networks of AT&T, is the OOPT which I will now look at.
Open Optical & Packet Transport Group – This project is an engineering-focused effort led by major operators like Vodafone, NTT, Facebook and Telefónica, hardware vendors like Edgecore Networks and research institutions. It concentrates on different parts of the Transport network architecture, including optical transponders, line systems, IP access devices, open APIs and network simulation and planning tools.
The hardware used in this end-to-end solution is now all commercially available so please feel free to browse the OCP’s marketplace, the TIP Exchange, or indeed our own dedicated service providers solutions pages at www.epsglobal.com. The software side has seen huge growth in the past year with offerings from IP Infusion, Volta Networks, RTBrick, Kaloom, Exaware, ADVA, Infinera and more. Again, for more information on what solutions within this project could benefit your network please contact me.
Both solutions I have covered, SEBA, and OOPT, are just a snapshot of the work these organisations are doing to reduce CAPEX and the vendor lock-in nature of the service provider world. How much of the $490 billion on offer the world of open networking can prize from the cold dead hands of the traditional vendor is anyone’s guess but it will not be insignificant.
That is all for this month folks. For more information on these products and services related to Open Networking come check out our website at www.epsglobal.com or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Slán go fóill,