home About Us Podcast Episode 27

The Critical Lowdown Podcast Episode 27

From Disaggregation to Deployment - OpenWiFi in Action

As the industry leans more towards open networking , an intriguing ecosystem of hardware manufacturers and software providers is emerging. Virtual routers and software solutions, specifically tailored for service providers, are carving out their space. Coupled with this is the significance of BNG and CGNAT networks in handling traffic grooming and aggregation, pivotal functions in today's increasingly complex networks.

Subscribe to The Critical Lowdown from EPS Global wherever you get your podcasts:

Craig Schaefer

Craig Schaefer
Vice President, Channel Sales, IP Infusion

Tom Mitchell

Tom Mitchell
VP of Strategy and Business Development, netElastic Systems

Alan Fagan

Alan Fagan
Director Sales, North America, EPS Global

If you have any questions about or need advice or tech support for your upcoming project, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Or check out our Service Provider Solutions here.

Transcript of Podcast

Alan: Hi, I'm Alan Fagan from EPS Global. We're a value-added distributor with a focus on Open Networking, and we partner with the best hardware manufacturers and software providers in that space. I'm happy today to be joined by two of those partners for WISPAPALOOZA in Las Vegas. I have Craig Schaefer from IP Infusion, and Tom Mitchell from NetElastic. So guys, if you want to do a little introduction of yourselves and IP Infusion and netElastic Systems.

Craig: My name is Craig Schaefer, I'm the Vice President of Channels and Distribution at IP Infusion. We're thrilled to be here at the EPS Global booth, one of our most valuable and strategic partners throughout the world, and of course NetElastic as well. I lead the partner organization, and IP Infusion is all about disaggregation and Open Networking, and naturally, this partnership and the extended partnership, the ecosystem, makes a lot of sense for us, so we're thrilled to be here.

Tom: My name is Tom Mitchell, I'm with NetElastic Systems, and were are also a partner of EPS Global. We make virtual routers and software solutions for Service Providers almost exclusively. We make BNG networks, CGNAT networks, things along those lines, and we're pleased to be here as well today to share what we can do and how we can make the community better.

Alan: Great. So tell me a little bit about how the relationship between NetElastic and IP Infusion began.

Craig: We have an engineering firm that we both do a lot of work with, IP Architechs, and they're a great firm.

Tom: That's right. They put together a strategic plan for a couple of different customers because they looked at the network and they looked at the requirements of the Service Provider and they built a tiered network that allowed them to put various technologies into various points in the network. They introduced us together and we began working on that project and we've done now a couple of projects along those same lines.

Craig: IP Architechs is the glue amongst the three of our companies. So they're a great partner as well. And I think it's the synergy between what IP Infusion does and what NetElastic does is there just by virtue of openness and Open Networking. And we're a little bit more on the network infrastructure, routing and switching, but you guys are right there, complimentary, and it makes a lot of sense for customers.


Alan: And what are the key benefits of that collaboration, would you say?

Tom: Our expertise and special capabilities lie primarily in the front side of the network, where we interface with the access networks. Here, we handle incoming traffic, aggregate it, groom it, and provide services such as matting. However, our capabilities are not as strong when it comes to the core of the network, where more advanced technologies are utilized. I'll let you discuss those further.

Craig: Certainly, the handoff from a network infrastructure perspective is crucial, whether we're dealing with aggregation, core, or even peering. These are all significant opportunities for us. For customers, there's always a capital expenditure value proposition associated with open and disaggregated systems. This is definitely one of the key value statements.

Alan: At EPS Global, we've observed over the years that the easier we make solution implementation for our customers, the better it is for all parties involved. Collaborations are beneficial as they eliminate the need for customers to source various components from different places, including hardware. This collaborative approach is truly enabling the advancement of Open Networking.

Tom: I agree. For instance, at NetElastic, we focus on software. However, EPS Global takes our software and integrates it into a comprehensive solution that customers can use. On our own, we can't really create a consumable product.

Craig: That's right. Providing services that we cannot accomplish individually is crucial. From a marketing standpoint, we've noticed that interest in the market is often driven by these ecosystem collaborations. For instance, if we were to host a webinar or event solely by EPS and IP Infusion, we would have a certain level of attendance. However, when we collaborate and host an event together, we see a significant increase in response. This indicates that the market is interested in this type of collaboration, which is why it makes sense for us to continue doing so.

Tom: There's also a great deal of comfort at the Service Provider level to know that this is an integrated solution. They don't have to worry about, "gosh, do these things work together? I don't want to be the first one to try it".

Alan: We previously discussed the role of IP Architects as consultants in this market. Their ability to direct clients to a service that can effectively execute tasks is crucial. Can you provide any examples of how customers have benefited from this collaboration?

Tom: One of our customers, a company named Amplex, has successfully deployed both technologies to service their customer base. They provide essential services such as CGNet. Acquiring an IP address is costly today, but it's a necessity. As they expand, they need to provide more. They can either purchase them on the open market or use a tool that offers them an advantage. They have chosen to use our technologies for these advantages. Craig, are they an ISP?

Craig: Yes, they're an ISP in the Dayton, Ohio area, and yes, they've re-architected their network with IP Infusion and NetElastic.

Alan: What are the key trends in networking that are driving demand for NetElastic and IP Infusion products?

Craig: One of the prevailing trends in networking is a shift towards disaggregation. This trend is gaining momentum in the market, with interest ranging from Tier-1's to Tier-5's. The focus is on building networks in the most economical and cost-effective way possible.

Our company has a viable strategy to achieve this. We are banking on the trend of disaggregation, and the growth curve has been promising.

Alan: And I think you're seeing evidence of that?

Craig: Absolutely.

Alan: Anything to add to that Tom?

Tom: We observe a trend in the market that is likely influenced by merchant silicon and Broadcom technologies. Intel technologies, multi-core CPUs, and the accelerators accompanying new Intel platforms significantly enhance the market. They make disaggregated networks more sensible compared to the complex architectures of legacy systems that rely on outdated silicon. Now, we can provide routing solutions that previously cost a million dollars at a fraction of the price. This is a key trend we've noticed.

Alan: What about the macro trends, such as the requirement for broadband access to be universally available? It's no longer a luxury, but a utility akin to electricity. How does your collaboration address this trend?

Craig: The democratization of broadband is a trend that is here to stay. There is significant investment being directed towards rural areas. When it comes to reaching these more rural markets, there is a distinct need to maximize the return on investment. This is where our joint solutions become particularly relevant.

Alan: We've observed that some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are opting for white box solutions due to the reasons you mentioned, Craig, and also because of availability issues. The lead time crunch we've experienced over the past few years can be mitigated by using these solutions. We've had concrete examples where we've been able to set up networks in weeks or months instead of the years quoted by incumbent vendors.

Do you have any customer success stories? You mentioned Amplex earlier. Are there any other examples?

Tom: Netelastic has successfully deployed hundreds of networks worldwide, including approximately 70 in North America. Our extensive experience with customers implementing these technologies spans various use cases. Overall, the growth has been robust.

Alan: It's a mature technology, right? We're not looking for people to be guinea pigs for this.

Craig: Indeed, even though disaggregation is a relatively new and revolutionary concept, the problems it solves are quite traditional. This is supported by smart people in IP Architechs and EPS Global.

Alan: What would you say are the key challenges that customers face when they want to deploy a solution from IP Infusion and NetElastic?

Craig: We aim to simplify the process as much as possible. One of the initial challenges with disaggregation was figuring out how to manage hardware and software, and finding a company like EPS Global to assemble it. To address this, we've created pre-bundled solutions to tackle the procurement challenge. While newcomers to disaggregation might initially perceive this as a barrier, we believe that doing business with us and EPS Global will prove it to be less daunting than expected.

Alan:We've discussed creating bundles with netElastic, as there seems to be a common misconception that more choices are always better. However, in reality, this isn't always the case. Many customers we've spoken to find it overwhelming when presented with an AVL and a multitude of options. They don't want to sift through hundreds of 10G switches and other options. It's simply too confusing.

By collaborating, we can simplify this process, which would be beneficial. For customers considering implementing a Netelastic and IP Infusion solution, what advice would you offer?

Craig: It's crucial to choose the right partner for implementing solutions alongside your team. This isn't just lip service because we're sitting here in the EPS Global booth. The reality is that you guys do a great job. So, EPS Global would be a solid choice and a good starting point.

Tom: Do your homework in advance. Make sure you understand what you're looking at, and then leverage people like George Say, Director of Technical Sales at EPS Global, who can come to the table and either give you a bundle or craft a solution that really fits your unique needs.

Alan: I agree, and I believe this is a crucial message. No one should feel like they have to navigate this alone. We're here to assist. Our Director of Technical Sales, George, is highly knowledgeable in this area.

Additionally, our colleagues at IP Architechs can help determine the best solution for your problem. There's no need to reinvent the wheel when help is readily available. What excites you most about the future of the partnership between NetElastic and IP Infusion?

Craig: Continued growth is our main focus. The market has shown receptivity and we see nothing but potential. We're securing deals from large incumbents and providing significant value to our customers, which is truly exciting.

Alan: And I think a shout out to WISPA is deserved, right? I mean, I've been blown away the last couple of days by this show. The attendance numbers, the engagement levels, and the conversations have all been outstanding. I truly believe that collectively, we are greater than the sum of our parts. When we interact with these individuals, they understand that they have reliable partners here with practical solutions.

Glossary of Terms

  • Open Networking: A method of designing and managing networks that is flexible, customizable, and less reliant on proprietary systems.
  • Disaggregation: The process of separating the network's various functions and services into individual components that can be managed and configured independently.
  • CGNAT Networks: Carrier-Grade Network Address Translation, a type of network that provides an IP address to customers.
  • White Box Solutions: Networking solutions that are based on open hardware, often combined with open-source software.
  • Merchant Silicon: A type of high-performance, mass-produced silicon that is used in networking hardware.
  • AVL: Approved Vendor List, a list of pre-qualified suppliers that a company has agreed meets its quality standards.
  • WISPA: The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association, an organization that represents the interests of fixed wireless internet service providers.


Need Help?

We have local language and currency support in each of our 28 locations, ensuring you always have access to friendly customer support to deliver your hardware solutions regardless of your location.