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September 30, 2020
The Telecom Infra Project (TIP) is pleased to announce the launch of 'Solution Groups'. This is a new type of Project Group within TIP. It aims to codify open, disaggregated, interoperable network elements, including TIP-incubated technology across all network layers, into a broad range of end-to-end solutions for specific deployment cases that can be used by operators and other connectivity stakeholders.
Since 2016, TIP has been driving the development of new open, disaggregated technologies across all areas of the network supply chain. TIP-incubated technologies have now been deployed in commercial environments in various scenarios across the world. As a natural evolution of the ecosystem, TIP will now, through its Solution Groups, integrate these components into end-to-end solutions. This will enable supplier diversity across the network, increase automation opportunities, and potentially deliver new business models.
The launch of Solution Groups responds to market needs for network solutions and business models targeting specific commercial deployment scenarios - for example increasing capacity of connectivity in cities or installing connectivity in rural areas for the first time. As field trials of different TIP-incubated technologies have progressed, many of our members have identified the need to target specific challenging business cases for connectivity through the integration of open, disaggregated and interoperable network components. Another important element is working in collaboration with a broader ecosystem of partners that can deliver some of the capacities to make that possible - for example, private enterprises or municipalities and System Integrators. TIP will communicate and promote the outputs for broader adoption of these template solutions so that connectivity partners around the world can work together in these new ways.
By introducing these new Project Groups and expanding their scope from individual network point solutions to end-to-end network solutions, the TIP community is incorporating additional value layers to its project lifecycle:
Open, interoperable, disaggregated network components: In some Project Groups, TIP members develop individual network elements responding to specific technical requirements. The main outputs of this are validated products and suppliers.
Open, interoperable, disaggregated network layers: Other TIP Project Groups also work to build end-to-end configurations for a single network layer (e.g. the RAN, or the Wi-Fi access network). These will typically be based on validated individual network elements. In this case the process will include integration and interoperability testing of the different elements, and the main outputs will be a set of validated end-to-end configurations, along with guidelines for their deployment and operation.
Open, interoperable, disaggregated network end-to-end solutions: Finally, through the Solution Groups, we will be able to deliver end-to-end solutions for the whole network. In this case, the process will include the integration and interoperability testing of different elements across different network layers, and also the exploration of potential business models for commercialization of these solutions. As such, the outputs will include a set of validated end-to-end network solutions and guidelines for their deployment and operation, complemented with business model insights and recommendations, including Systems Integrators for go-to-market.
TIP has outputs at all levels of integration, from network elements to full end-to-end network solutions
David Hutton, Chief Engineer of TIP, said: "With our newly formed Solution Groups, TIP will incorporate additional components to its value proposition, including the validation of interoperability between different network elements, across the whole network, and insights and recommendations about the business model needed for commercialization of those solutions. This approach leverages all the work that TIP has been doing in building and validating open, disaggregated and interoperable network elements, which will now be integrated into end-to-end solutions addressing specific commercial needs."
Michael Guerin, Programme Lead of Smart Docklands, Dublin City Council: "Joining TIP has enabled us to fast-track our open and collaborative approach to telecoms in Dublin City. We believe such an approach is essential in order to create fair and equitable access to city assets for network equipment. As a city with a population of over 1 million people, we want to ensure fast connectivity is a possibility for all citizens. As a home to many of the biggest tech companies in the world, it is imperative we improve and densify our networks to improve our economic competitiveness. Co-chairing the Connected City Infrastructure Solution Group will allow us to work with TIP members in an open & collaborative way and address the business case for street level 4G / 5G cellular and Wi-Fi in a dense urban environment."
Teresa Gomes de Almeida, CEO of Internet Para Todos (IpT): "Building and validating a diverse range of end-to-end network solutions requires collaboration across the whole telecoms ecosystem, including operators - like IpT, and technology suppliers, but also partners like systems integrators, private enterprises, and public institutions. We are very excited to be involved in this new TIP initiative and look forward to seeing Solution Groups' end-to-end requirements being used by a broad range of connectivity stakeholders in a number of environments, right across the world."
Dimitris Mavrakis, Senior Research Director of ABI Research: "Open networks have now reached a critical mass and several decision makers – including operator CTOs – are assessing the integration, end to end, interoperability as well as commercial issues. TIP's new solution groups are a great addition to existing TIP activities to address system, rather than individual component concerns. These solution groups will be vital to drive the next wave of evolution for the large-scale commercial deployment of TIP's incubated technologies."
The first Solution Groups that TIP has launched are:
Network as a Service (NaaS) including Everis, Facebook, IpT, MTN, Orange, Telefonica, Vodacom
Mobile Data Offload including ThinkSmarter, Dublin City Council, Sligo County Council, Facebook, DenseAir, Shoelace Wireless
Connected City Infrastructure including Dublin City Council (Smart Docklands), Connect Research, DenseAir, Facebook, Schreder and local mobile operators.
Open Automation including MTN, Vodafone, Telecom Argentina, Entel, Facebook, Atrinet, GigaMonster, Frinx
Network as a Service (NaaS)
The challenge: Network economics in underserved rural / peri-urban areas with the traditional technologies and approaches are often not attractive for operators and other investors.
The solution: This Project Group will make use of open disaggregated network technologies and shared physical infrastructure to improve network economics. It will also define new business models to exploit this shared infrastructure, supported by TIP's "test & validate" approach.
Mobile Data Offload
The challenge: Investment in network capacity to address the growing demand for data is often not economically viable with traditional network technologies and current industry business models.
The solution: The Project Group will build, test and deploy carrier-grade managed open Wi-Fi networks, partnering with cities and operators. Through the use of software on open disaggregated network elements, it will be possible to optimize the management of access network capacity through the combination of Wi-Fi6 and 4G or 5G access networks. It will also define new business models for these networks, aligned with all stakeholders' business objectives.
Connected City Infrastructure
The challenge: Improving connectivity is a key priority for many municipalities around the globe as it is the fundamental building block to unlock both near-term and long-term digital strategies for the cities. While municipalities are dependent upon Telcos and Infrastructure Providers to improve the quality of cellular and connectivity services in urban hot spots for citizens - there are three main economic & operational challenges to deploying LTE/5G-NR small cells and other connectivity services in urban environments: 1) breaking commercial deadlock between Council, Telcos and Infrastructure Partners in provision and operation of small cell solutions at scale in target city locations; 2) the need to expand a narrow supplier landscape to drive future tenders and 3) cost of recovery on provision of city assets.
The solution: This Project Group aims to develop a configuration with cost-efficient new and retro-fitted street asset solutions that host network equipment, as well as validating interoperability with different access & backhaul technologies. As well as providing deployment & operational guidelines, the group will also define and publish new [self-sustainable] business models for provision or operation by operators and providing citizen services driven by viable revenue streams. The vision is to be able to share and promote the commercial and technical blueprint outputs with wider audiences including other City Authorities, Operators, Infrastructure Providers, Governments and Investors to deploy & scale Connected City Infrastructure.
This group will build upon the vendor and technology-agnostic modular street asset, demonstrating the key principles to integrate communications equipment into a street asset.
The challenge: Improve user experience, operator agility and the operational economics associated with the planning, deployment and assurance of the end to end network services that network operators sell to their customers.
The solution: Focusing on the automation of high impact, network service use cases is critical for improving user experience, service provider operational agility and efficiency. Designing and developing the requirements, architectures and workflows necessary to automate the end to end life-cycle management of network service use cases as reusable building blocks is also key. Through this Group, members will collaborate with existing TIP Project Groups and / or other third parties to incorporate existing artifacts (processes, workflows, automation blocks, APIs, data models, etc.) so as to maximize the reuse of industry standards and approaches. They will validate automation designs through direct engagement with and implementation in TIP Community Lab PlugFests and Service Provider trials. Finally, a library of network service use cases and automation building block blueprints will be published for use by the TIP membership.
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