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Oct 16 2019

Open initiatives coming together are a driving force in software-defined access

Open source initiatives, with their free-spirit origins and DIY attitude, are all the rage in the telco industry in 2019. But as these open initiatives attract bigger crowds, they are realizing that they need to find partnerships and, dare I say it, look towards standardization to claim a more mature proposition that works for the wider telecommunications ecosystem. Standardization creates the glue that will enable open initiatives to integrate into service providers’ networks and thereby unleash their full potential.

The recent joint announcement from the Broadband Forum (BBF) and Open Networking Foundation (ONF) is, for me, a proof-point of the coming-of-age of the software-defined access landscape. BBF and ONF have decided to work together because they recognize that they can better advance their individual initiatives by collectively advancing their common purpose. The collaboration acknowledges that interoperability is key for the two complimentary approaches, and this is where the rubber really hits the road: it’s like an engine manufacturer and a tire manufacturer acknowledging the shared goal of making driving performant, safe and efficient.

To the relief of many, the open source projects OB-BAA (Open Broadband- Broadband Access Abstraction) and VOLTHA (Virtual Optical Line Termination Hardware Abstraction) dovetail naturally. And it’s not because their names both include the term abstraction. In essence, both projects use open APIs and fit in the same SDN/NFV paradigm, but they do not abstract the same thing. VOLTHA abstract low-level silicon, while OB-BAA sits on top to control and manage any type of SDN-enabled access nodes, whether it is an integrated chassis or disaggregated pod. The collaboration represents an effective and efficient path for operators to leverage the innovations and benefits of both initiatives, while ensuring interoperability and maximum reliability when creating software-defined access platforms.

The collaboration between the BBF and ONF is a sure sign of a growing maturity. I believe this is really exciting, not least because we’ve been championing investment, development and standardization of open initiatives for a good while now. We firmly believe that the biggest benefits of software-defined access lie in open software architectures that eliminate the complexity of proprietary technologies and enable vendors to renew their focus on true value-based product development.

Other examples of comparable partnerships are between ONAP and 3GPP for 5G services or ONAP and BBF for Broadband Services.

The Broadband World Forum 2019 is an excellent opportunity to witness how we continue the journey to create the next generation of broadband networks. Join us at the BBF booth to see how Nokia Altiplano plays an integral role in controlling OLTs and ONTs from various vendors and integrates seamlessly with open-source ONAP and OB-BAA projects.

Share your thoughts on this topic by joining the Twitter discussion with @nokia and @nokianetworks using #BBF #ONF #SDN

About Filip de Greve

As product marketing manager at Nokia, Filip focuses on new market strategies for innovative copper and fiber based access solutions. He holds a Ph.D. in telecomm and has over 10 years experience in the ICT & telecom industry with broad expertise in hardware, software and services. He loves road cycling and thrives on thinking outside the box to explore new ideas and concepts.

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