ONAP is changing the fabric of telecoms – here’s how

To say that the telecom sector has undergone dramatic transformation in recent years would be a gross understatement. Designed for voice services, telecom networks have had to keep pace with the capacity needs of ever more data-hungry applications. At the same time, operators have faced intense competitive pressure. This has come not only from other service providers but also from cloud players entering the fray with more agile business models and cut-rate services. In response, networks have evolved from the monolithic, specialized structures of old to adopting low-cost, off-the-shelf cloud infrastructure solutions, while moving intelligence and functionality into software. This […]  More >>

Code Never Lies

With telecom networks becoming increasingly virtualized, we deal less and less with ‘boxes’ and spend more of our time looking at code. In theory, this should make introducing a new service or network function much easier. As the saying goes, code never lies. It either works or it doesn’t. And when it doesn’t, you fix it. In practice, it’s not quite as straightforward, and industry take-up of network virtualization has been hampered as a consequence. The answer, I believe, lies in adopting an open source approach. Ending the pain of VNF onboarding Even though you now don’t have hordes of […]  More >>

How ONAP will transform the dynamics of the telecom marketplace

Today, the Linux Foundation announced that it would merge two concurrent projects, Open Source ECOMP and OPEN-O. Both aim to create a standardized management and automation platform for NFV/SDN networks. The new project will be called Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP). Creating common ground for innovation Combining two open-source initiatives targeting the same outcome seems like a no-brainer. But what concrete benefits will this bring to the telecoms sector? And how else might a standardised, open-source NFV/SDN automation platform affect our industry? The fact that there are numerous open source projects trying to solve the issue of orchestration and automation […]  More >>

Why it makes sense to open-source ECOMP

From its inception, AT&T’s ECOMP platform for NFV automation has attracted attention because the project has been led by a service provider rather than a vendor or a standardization body. The recent decision to convert ECOMP to an open source project and irrevocably hand the majority of its code to the Linux Foundation has put it back in the spotlight. Well-established in the IT world, the open source model remains something of an alien concept in telecoms. You could say that its ethos of free licensing, open collaboration and fast-paced development is diametrically opposed to our industry, which is built […]  More >>

Elementary, my dear Watson

Early VoLTE rollouts presented a number of challenges for service providers, including VoLTE call drops due to timeout. This particular issue appeared to be IMS related, but the Core/IMS team could not identify its root cause. IMS had just been deployed, so the inability to pinpoint exactly where the issue lay was attributed to lack of knowledge. The mystery was solved after considering data from the radio access network (RAN). It then became evident that the VoLTE call timeout was a RAN issue, caused by noncontiguous radio coverage when users moved between cells. To resolve the matter, the RAN and […]  More >>
End in mind

Start with the end in mind

The need to better manage how end users experience network performance It is rush hour on a rainy Wednesday morning. The metro station is heaving with commuters. The departure board shows the next train leaving at 08.09, but it is already 08.16. No, time travel has not been invented yet. The train is late, and the board has not been updated with the expected time of train departure. The reason for the delay is unknown. It could be a signaling failure, a train fault, leaves on the line, or even track congestion.Whichever the reason, the commuters’ experience of the metro […]  More >>

Confused by 5G news headlines? Why you are not alone

Do you like abstract paintings? Such paintings are inherently open to interpretation. Different people perceive different things, and most uninitiated observers may just see a ‘messy’ picture. But there is logic and design behind – at least some – abstract paintings. This is the case with 5G too. Following vague news and misleading announcements, 5G currently resembles an abstract painting. But the ambiguous or ‘messy’ 5G picture can become clearer if we look into 5 key areas of confusion. The trials blur The tsunami of news about 5G trials has mainly focused on the 5G new radio (NR). With standardization […]  More >>

What 5G is about: an alternative view

How much do you know about 5G? Have you been following the relentless flow of 5G news? If you were to choose 5 words to describe 5G, which ones would you pick? It would be interesting to see what you think 5G is about. But what if we were to ask those who have absolutely no knowledge of 5G and would play such a word game without any preconception, just for fun? As discussed with 2 friends who needed to entertain a group of primary school children at a party, the following game could potentially be exciting: Use a one-page […]  More >>

Network Testing Challenges: NFV and SDN

Compressing testing cycles and improving service quality – no longer mutually exclusive Network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) are enabling technologies to increase the flexibility and speed to deploy new services at a fraction of the cost of physical networks. Looking ahead to 5G and the proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) use cases, virtualization and dynamic service chaining will become essential for managing the scale and customization that will be required to connect 25B objects the industry is anticipating. In a recent report from Coleman-Parkes Research for Amdocs, about half of the 80 service providers surveyed view […]  More >>
VoLTE path

VoLTE: No easy path – but worth it

It might not be as hard work as trekking across the Andes, but while there is no easy path to rolling out Voice over LTE (VoLTE), the rewards can be amazing. Careful preparation is essential and by planning well and optimizing the network for a VoLTE launch, service providers can provide the ultimate user experience in voice services. But failure to plan a VoLTE launch properly and prepare the network to be ‘VoLTE ready’, will result in poor service quality and a bad customer experience. Customers will have high expectations for the new digital voice service after many years of […]  More >>