Software-centric and cloud-enabled network technologies are driving a transformational shift in the telecommunications industry. The telco business model has come under pressure and operators are on a journey to transform. There is a desire to have more agile and automated operations and grow revenues beyond best-effort connectivity, and this ambition was the central theme at the Network X conference: “Building networks for the Telco-to-Techco transformation”.
Automation is not yet at the level that operators desire to master the increasing complexity of their telecom solutions. There is still more attention needed to automate all the things that can be automated. To get the best from automation, operators want to be able to customize it to fit the unique needs of their network, their operations, and their business plans. Once automation does this for them, operators can turn that into better end-to-end services for their customers and a competitive advantage for themselves.
For this to happen, future Techcos must choose automation tools that are truly open and encourage innovation and co-creation of value. That requires an open API that gives complete control and visibility, and easy access to data for operators to leverage AI/ML to make data-driven decisions. A cloud-native solution with open-source components means operators automatically keep pace with evolutions in the IT world and can leverage best practices.
Cloud-native openness has been at the heart of the Nokia Altiplano SDN controller from the outset, and we’ve been taking advantage of our presence at Network X to demonstrate its prowess and announce some significant updates.
First up, we’ve announced some new applications. These applications are running on top of our controller platform and make use of the open APIs and our application framework. For this, we invested in a SDK, virtual lab, and our developer portal so that others could fast-track software development and proactively integrate OSS applications with Nokia solutions. There’s a whole host of ways to automatically provision, adjust, troubleshoot and assure a network service, using automation and intent-based networking. The openness behind Altiplano keeps integration efforts minimal, speeds up innovation cycles, and puts operators firmly in control of both their network and their future.
Independent developers are creating value-added automation applications and one of those companies is Condor Technologies who have built a Wholesale Network Portal as an API and WebUI to enhance bitstream fiber access and to simplify wholesale operational models for broadband wholesalers and neutral hosts. We’ve also just launched four new Nokia-developed applications, that you can find on the Altiplano Marketplace, where operators can easily try, buy and deploy them.
This contributes to another important aspect in the ethos of becoming a Techco and how infrastructure and services are becoming increasingly disaggregated. We just announced the launch of the Altiplano Open Access solution, which adds capabilities to improve wholesale operations and offers self-service subscriber management for tenants (e.g. ISPs). The new Network Wholesale Portal complements existing capabilities that support Fixed Access Network Sharing (FANS) and L2/L3 bitstream services. The customizable degree of control allows better visibility, control and autonomy for tenants. It lowers the operational costs related to sharing OLT, ONU and outside plant and simplifies interactions to handle service requests. Again, openness is key: using an open platform with open APIs eases the integration with back-end systems and reduces costly OSS/BSS development for both wholesalers and tenants.
We’re also working on an exciting new network slicing solution for Altiplano that we showcased at Network X. Slicing is a way for operators to improve the efficiency and, indeed, the monetization of their networks. It’s unique in that it works end-to-end, creating virtual private networks that are optimized across the Wi-Fi, access and IP network. With this level of control, operators can use their fiber network for anything: cloud gaming, remote working, Industry 4.0 or the limitless possibilities of the Metaverse. An obvious, in-demand use case, is homeworking. An employer can pay an ISP to guarantee a flawless connection for business-critical applications to employees at home. Or an avid gamer might want to purchase a better SLA only when they’re playing certain games; this B2C transaction can be enabled from within the game itself, with the gaming provider having a B2B service contract with the ISP.
Openness, as its name suggests, unlocks so many opportunities. It’s the key to a wealth of new opportunities for broadband network owners and operators. With the latest developments for Nokia Altiplano, we’re opening up openness for everyone.
Filip De Greve is Product Marketing Director for the Fixed Networks division at Nokia. In that role, he is focused on the go-to-market for innovative fixed access broadband solutions. Filip has over 20 years of experience in the telecommunications industry and held various roles on provider and supplier side providing leadership in executing projects, technical consultancy and customer delivery. He holds a Ph.D. in the Telecommunications and Information Technology from the University of Ghent, Belgium.