Light Reading
A new Industry Specifications Group has been created to identify the communications network architecture of the future.

Carriers Collaborate on Network of the Future

Ray Le Maistre
10/23/2012
50%
50%

DARMSTADT, Germany -- SDN & OpenFlow World Congress -- Thirteen major communications service providers have joined forces to create a new carrier-led Industry Specifications Group under the auspices of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) to tackle the challenges of building future networks that take advantage of virtualization technologies.

The aim is to get the telecom and IT sector working together to identify a "new network production environment based on virtualization technology" to help lower costs and boost efficiencies.

But while ETSI is providing the new body with a home – it approved the new group Tuesday morning -- this is a not a standards group and it's not a regional initiative, but a global body looking to communicate the shared requirements of the world's telcos. And it's growing day by day.

The group is focused on Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), as Light Reading revealed Monday. (See Tier 1 Carriers Tackle Telco SDN.)

At that point there were 10 operators involved -- now there are 13. They are (in alphabetical order):

Deutsche Telekom network architect Uwe Michel officially introduced the group here Tuesday, noting that interest from the carrier community was strong. "If this event had been a few days later we would have been talking about 15 or 16 carriers," he noted.

So what are these operators looking for?

Well, the new network will not be built from a large number of different elements with separate functionality, but rather a collection of high volume servers, storage elements, Ethernet switches and IT systems able to run applications from independent developers, Michel explained.

"There are a lot of potential benefits for operators," not only in terms of cutting costs but also in revamping operations. "Some of you will like that idea, others not," he added, addressing a room of carriers and vendors. (I think we know which ones will like it the most....)

But there's a long way to go before networks can be redesigned. "There are many challenges, not just benefits," noted the DT man. "We have to have five-nines reliability, security," and the ability to automate a network that comprises hundreds of virtual machines. "So we want the telecom and IT industries to combine their competencies in a collaborative joint effort on network requirements," stated Michel, noting that he should be careful not to say the group was engaging in "standards work."

To get the ball rolling the group's initial members, who are set to meet here in Darmstadt to discuss progress, have already co-authored a white paper on Network Functions Virtualization and now they're looking for further contributors. "It's not just open to ETSI members -- anyone who wants to sign up can do so," and the first official meeting of the group will be held in January 2013.

So can this group achieve its aims?

Infonetics Research Inc. principal analyst Michael Howard says that although many in the comms sector might sigh at the creation of yet another industry body, the good news is that this is not a marketing group. "This group has a lot of the biggest carriers in the world -- collectively they command a lot of the world's capex. That's a lot of buying power. And others will join. Ultimately I think this will speed up a process that would have happened anyway."

Howard also notes that this group is about broad network virtualization and not just software defined networking (SDN), which is "just one branch of the virtualization tree."

The Infonetics man also provided some insight into why ETSI is the home for this group. He said he had spoken with Don Clarke, network innovation strategy manager at BT, one of the key individuals in the NFV group, about the role of ETSI: Clarke explained that ETSI is a legal entity that already had a process for the creation of new industry working groups. "It was a shell waiting to be used," noted Howard.

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Is your network built on 'The Old IP,' or are you part of 'The New IP' revolution?
LRTV Documentaries
A Cultural Shift for an OTT World

9|26|14   |   01:41   |   (3) comments


Telcos need to embrace a new approach to partnerships if they are to generate extra revenues quickly and give customers what they want.
LRTV Documentaries
New Skills Needed as Telecom, IT Collide

9|26|14   |   4:07   |   (1) comment


As telecom and IT collide, new technologies are emerging, new skills are needed and new opportunities for women are arising.
UBB Forum News
Do IP Networks Need An Overhaul?

9|25|14   |   02:01   |   (0) comments


As traffic levels ramp, do IP networks need new technologies and topologies?
LRTV Documentaries
Sprint Wields Its Influence in the Valley

9|25|14   |   3:09   |   (10) comments


Anne-Louise Kardas, Sprint's connection to startups in the Valley, explains how telcos can be innovative and find new opportunities with partners.
LRTV Documentaries
SDN, NFV & The Future of XO's Network

9|25|14   |   3:47   |   (0) comments


XO Communications COO Don MacNeil explains how cloud, SDN and NFV are altering its network requirements as well as changing data centers of the future.
UBB Forum News
The OTT Conundrum

9|24|14   |   01:39   |   (0) comments


What is holding back prosperous partnerships between telcos and the OTT players?
LRTV Documentaries
Putting Broadband to Work

9|24|14   |   01:26   |   (0) comments


High-speed broadband network rollout is key to telco strategies, but it's what happens after the network is built that counts.
Light Reedy
Light Reading's Women in Telecom Recap

9|24|14   |   0:55   |   (4) comments


Our first Women in Telecom breakfast was a huge success, and we hope you'll join us in London for the next event on November 6.
UBB Forum News
Monetizing Ultra-Broadband

9|24|14   |   01:43   |   (2) comments


Ultra-broadband networks need to be built, with fiber-to-the-premises the ultimate goal, but they need to be monetized, too.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Sales Director of INIT on Plug & Play Switch Devices

9|19|14   |   3:21   |   (0) comments


INIT Italy uses both the Huawei S5700 and S7700 series switches for the campus LAN environment. Sales Director Andrea Curti says their company chose these Huawei devices over others because of their performance, flexible scalability and plug-and-play features.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Saudi Arabia Upgrades Vocational Training System

9|19|14   |   3:31   |   (0) comments


The Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) has 100,000 students, 150 government-owned institutions and oversees 1000 private institutes. The CIO of TVTC explains that Huawei devices have allowed them to manage multiple datacenters using just one software program, scientifically tracking the progress of students and teachers, saving them millions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Media Solutions Are Here to Stay

9|19|14   |   4:35   |   (0) comments


The current media revolution requires rapid upgrades in technology. New formats (HD, 3D, 4K etc.) and the subsequent explosion of file sizes demand sophisticated network and storage architecture. Social media and the multiple distribution channels require a robust asset management system. Gartner analyst Venecia Liu speaks about the current technological trends in ...
Upcoming Live Events
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
Half of the world's population will be connected to the Internet by 2017, but not just by smartphones and desktops.
Hot Topics
Facebook Pokes Around LTE Direct
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/25/2014
Sprint Wields Its Influence in the Valley
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/25/2014
US Ignite Cultivates Gigabit Apps
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 9/25/2014
Comcast Turns Off Streampix
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 9/26/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed