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Network nirvana? It’s all about openness

Nokia’s president of Fixed Networks: Embracing openness is key to unlocking new business cases and enabling the gigabit era.

In tomorrow’s ultra-connected world everyone and everything will require their own gigabitto support both new ultra-broadband services, Nokia’s president of Fixed Networks said today.

Speaking during a keynote conference session at Broadband World Forum and building on his ‘Power of And’ message, Federico Guillén told the packed auditorium that openness will bea key piece of the foundation to making this happen, with open solutions, open architectures and open data being critical to achieve the lowest cost per-home connectivity and accelerate time-to-market for gigabit services.

“I spoke last year about the ‘power of and’ and this absolutely still applies – operators need to combine fixed and wireless technologies to deliver a gig to every home; they need to leverage meshed Wi-Fi to bring that gig service into the home; and they need to combine the networkandthe cloud to manage the complexity,” said Guillén. “What they also need is openness across all these pillars. Openness is not only about doing things differently by using analytics and automation or embracing DevOps and co-development; but it is also about doing new and different things: enabling new business cases, diversifying strategies and creating new customer engagement and business models.”

However, Guillénwarned, the risk of openness is that it remains very abstract. Acknowledging this, Guillénwent on to offer two specific use cases where openness either unlocks new business cases for operators or allows them to move faster and save costs.

The first example given was network slicing, which Guillén said unlocks a range of new scenarios and benefits. Operators can partition their network in different slices, with each slice allowing full control over the resources in that slice. Slices can be assigned to different divisions within an operator or even to different operators.

“By converging different services and divisions that would traditionally build different networks –for example residential broadband, business services, and mobile transport – on a single infrastructure, operators can not only reduce TCO but also enter new markets and expand their business, for example, by addressing enterprises or other verticals,” continued Guillén. “Network slicing also has a key role to play in accelerating 5G, transforming your fiber access network into ready-made mobile transport. In addition, multiple operators can reduce risk and cost by co-investing in a single network roll-out.”

The second example Guillénoffered is the age-old interop challenge for GPON – which he said can be solved simply and elegantly with a driver-like approach based on openness and virtualization. With this “driver” approach – inspired by PC peripherals – operators can introduce new Optical Network Terminals (ONTs) in their network in days or weeks, rather than months.

Guillénconcluded that openness can help address network and industry challenges as complexity increases, and average industry expertise decreases, as baby-boomer expertsretire, and the industry turns to new players to build networks.

“Put simply, we have to build smarter networks based on automation andartificial intelligence,” he added. “We need to get to network nirvana – a frictionless, modular and programmable network, where everything is simple and happens ‘automagically’ at the touch of a button.”

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