Light Reading

Will Carriers Step Up to Open Challenge?

Carol Wilson

Telecom service providers are being asked in multiple ways to put their money where their mouths are when it comes to supporting open source software and technology in the move to virtualization.

The most obvious move those willing to embrace openness will make is joining the new open source project -- called Open Platform for NFV, or OPN -- that a number of telecom operators associated with the ETSI Network Functions Virtualization Industry Specification Group are setting up with the Linux Foundation , already home to OpenDaylight . (See Is Open Source the New De Facto Standard?)

At Light Reading's Big Telecom Event this week, multiple industry sources were talking about the OPN effort -- including Marc Cohn, senior director of market development at Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN) and an active player in both the Open Networking Foundation and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) NFV ISG, and Phil Robb, director of Networking Solutions for the Linux Foundation and technical liaison to OpenDaylight.

The idea is straightforward: use open source software to accelerate the pace at which an Open NFV platform can be developed and deployed. Some of the building blocks needed to build such a platform are available today, and others can be developed through cooperation in an open source process to fill in gaps, and do the integration and testing required to ensure carrier grade service performance.

Cohn said Monday that telecom network operators are being asked -- and many are willing -- to help fund the open source effort and to actively participate in a way similar to the way major vendors (Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Juniper Group Inc. , HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), and more) have stepped up to support OpenDaylight. That support has enabled the very rapid development of an open source-based SDN controller. (See OpenDaylight Unveils Open-Source SDN Controller.)

Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF), NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM), Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), and BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) are among the companies reportedly involved in the effort, which they hope to have funded and operational this summer.

The OPN group will combine carriers' expertise in networking technology with the Linux Foundation's experience in running successful open source projects.

"This would be a base for users and vendors to make products for NFV technology," Robb said in an interview at BTE. The software will fill gaps in available NFV capabilities.

The group will work on components including cloud orchestration and the cloud stack, along with an SDN controller -- possibly OpenDaylight -- to manage network paths, Robb said.

One potential obstacle: The OpenStack Foundation is moving forward on its own open source NFV reference implementation, and the OPN developers will need to decide what relationship, if any, they should have with that project.

Speaking separately, Neela Jacques, executive director of OpenDaylight, said service providers also need to vote with their dollars to support open source, and hold their vendors to promises of keeping NFV and SDN technologies "open."

"NFV could still go in a couple of directions," he said. "It could become like 'cloud' -- the term is essentially meaningless because anyone can use it as they choose to. Or telecom operators could choose to put key questions in their RFPs, and be specific."

They can use those RFPs to require truly open application programming interfaces (APIs) and use of OpenDaylight and OpenStack technologies at the core of vendor solutions.

Without asking pointed questions and holding vendors to back up their promises of openness with action, service providers could find themselves much more locked in than they want, and the "open" NFV process could still be derailed.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading and Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/23/2014 | 9:23:24 AM
Re: Two Camps
I suspect service providers just yet don't see any immenent need to invest in open resources at this time. It's probably a wait and see game, let other spend the time and money to innovate, and then when it seems time to join up, go in when the investment challenge might not be as steep.
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/20/2014 | 10:04:39 PM
Two Camps
I would expect this to get a bit fractious over time. Sure, we're going to see the debate for the open side of things in this realm. But I am going to speculate that there will be companies that will want to control a product and thus keep it proprietary. 

We'll likely see the same issues as we have with cloud-based technologies. Some are open, many aren't. I anticpate the same developments in this space as well. 
From The Founder
Steve Saunders provides an overview of white box networking and introduces a new "slim line" version of the OSI 7-layer model.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Between the CEOs
Centec on Ethernet Switching

11|26|15   |   09:58   |   (0) comments

Centec CEO James Sun talks to Steve Saunders about Ethernet switching and the white box revolution.
LRTV Custom TV
Delivering Service Agility in the Virtualization Era

11|25|15   |   5.41   |   (0) comments

Interview with Massimo Fatato, WW OSS Business Lead, Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
Wagner’s Ring
How Might Open Source Fail?

11|24|15   |     |   (10) comments

Open source, SDN, and NFV are looking inevitable – but performance, standards proliferation and regulatory capture could derail the movement.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Lifecycle Orchestration – a Fresh Vision for Telco

11|23|15   |   6.40   |   (0) comments

Simon Osborne, CTO Comptel, and Heavy Reading's Caroline Chappell reveal the business impacts of new SDN and NFV, and what the term service orchestration actually means. Together they define Lifecycle Service Orchestration and how the virtualized future will look for telecoms operators.
Between the CEOs
Cisco's Virtual Role in Saudi

11|20|15   |   12:15   |   (2) comments

Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders talks with Zayan Sadek, Regional Manager at Cisco Systems, about the competitive communications services market and advance of virtualization in Saudi Arabia.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Leads With Kubernetes for Cloud PaaS

11|19|15   |   08:26   |   (0) comments

Huawei is looking to Kubernetes as a key tool for building robust open source technologies for customers and partners, said Ying Xiong, chief architect of cloud platform at Huawei, in an interview with Light Reading West Coast Bureau Chief Mitch Wagner at the recent Kubecon conference.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
WiC in London: The Highlight Reel

11|19|15   |   5:33   |   (1) comment

NetCracker's Mervat El Dabae headlines an inspiring morning in London with help from leading women from Vodafone, TalkTalk, Hyperoptics and Ciena.
LRTV Documentaries
Why Saudi's So Hot for New Tech

11|19|15   |   05:07   |   (0) comments

Light Reading's Steve Saunders reports from Saudi Arabia, a hyper-competitive market desperate to embrace the next generation of communications technologies and services.
LRTV Custom TV
Why Data Models Deliver More Value Than Information Models

11|19|15   |   5.08   |   (0) comments

Stefan Vallin argues that more automation is needed to manage end-to-end services and the hybrid networks they run on, and that data models are key to achieving this.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
SDN Management & Orchestration in the WAN

11|17|15   |   7.20   |   (0) comments

Carol Wilson and Packet Design CTO Cengiz Alaettinoglu discuss CSPs' SDN service delivery and assurance requirements. Learn about a modular approach to building automated control, orchestration and management functions for the WAN that are policy- and analytics-driven.
LRTV Custom TV
Flash Networks: Optimizing for Radio Spectral Efficiency

11|17|15   |   3:34   |   (0) comments

Today most optimization vendors only focus on optimizing voice or data. Ofer Gottfried, Flash Networks' CTO, shows how improving data throughput and maximizing spectral efficiency reduces capital and operating expenses while also providing a platform for user engagement.
LRTV Custom TV
Making Pay-TV User Experiences Millennial-Friendly

11|16|15   |   6:42   |   (0) comments

The unique challenge of reaching and engaging Millennials is driving pay-TV video experience transformation that can include higher quality UIs, viewing of multiple content streams at once and seamless transitions between handheld devices and the television.
Allot MobileTrends Report H2/2015 reveals how daily online behavior can be used to discover smarter ways to profile customers and propose valuable, real-time offers to them.
Hot Topics
Samsung to Sell Wireless Networking Unit?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/23/2015
Samsung: No Sale of Wireless Unit
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/25/2015
How Might Open Source Fail?
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 11/24/2015
Sprint to Get $1.2B From New Leasing Venture
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/23/2015
Networking Shines in HP's Gloomy Final Earnings
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 11/25/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
December 15, 2015
Virtualizing Cable Services
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Centec CEO James Sun talks to Steve Saunders about Ethernet switching and the white box revolution.
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders talks with Zayan Sadek, Regional Manager at Cisco Systems, about the competitive communications services market and advance of virtualization in Saudi Arabia.
Cats with Phones
Can't Find the Phone on Thanksgiving? Click Here
Check under the cat! (hint: bottom right)
Live Digital Audio

Broadband speeds are ramping up across Europe as the continent, at its own pace, follows North America towards a gigabit society. But there are many steps to take on the road to gigabit broadband availability and a number of technology options that can meet the various requirements of Europe’s high-speed fixed broadband network operators. During this radio show we will look at some of the catalysts for broadband network investments and examine the menu of technology options on offer, including vectoring and for copper plant evolution and the various deployment possibilities for FTTH/B.