Open Source in Telecom


What is open source?

• In the early 2000s open source was given impetus by the Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) training, which focused on deploying the Linux platform for enterprise computing.
• OSDL merged with the Free Standards Group in 2007 to form the Linux Foundation.

Open source in Telecom

• The traditional telecom universe has a history of using hardware and software systems that are proprietary to a particular vendor, although in some cases they are focused on the use of similar technology standards - such as GSM, TDMA and CDMA - ensuring that operators can deploy solutions from different vendors and have them work across the network.
• This multi-vendor approach allowed telecom operators to open up the source code for some of their network operations to some extent, though not to the degree usually related to open source software.
• The telecommunications universe has most recently begun to have a more computational view of the open source space, highlighted by the carrier and provider’s growing plans for deployment plans using cloud, NFV and SDN technologies.
• This is being helped by an ecosystem that is rapidly maturing around open source telecom platforms.
• Operators are also on board with the new wave of vendors that the open source world is bringing to market.
• This ability to reach the traditional vendor model was echoed by several operators, who cited the chance to bring in new players and better platforms for their operations.

Growing support for open source

• One of the major challenges for the growth of open source support for the telecommunications space is through various organizations seeking to strengthen the use of open source or build platforms based on open source specifications.
• These efforts are seen as beneficial to operators and vendors who want to take advantage of open source platforms.
• The ETSI Open Source MANO initiative has released its OSM Release One stack.
• The work also flourished under the umbrella of the Linux Foundation, with a highly praised work through OPNFV and OpenDaylight.
• In general, telecom operators seem to welcome the help of open source organizations, noting their ability to provide a level of stability assurance for platforms.

Open Source Challenges

• Operators have for years denounced the dreaded vendor blockade scenario that trapped them with a declining community of equipment vendors.
• But these vendors are extremely familiar with the needs of telecom operators and have created a level of trust with network operations teams in terms of comfort with deployments of equipment.
• The new world of free software and source code is bringing the “fast failure” web-based mentality, which is similar to the application model, in which software can be updated only after it is released.
• This may be a good model for “Angry Birds,” but it’s a different story for carriers dealing with specific, expensive service level agreements.

Supplier Challenges

• The move towards open source has had a somewhat disruptive impact on the supplier community, with established telecommunications providers now having to share the attention - and budgets - of the operators with new entrants.
• One of the most cited challenges for established vendors is the elimination of previous business models, which came with the move toward open source platforms.
• Established vendors are taking the challenge, with all the big names having joined several industry groups open source and implemented open source platforms to some extent in their operations.
• Established suppliers may also have some consolation in the history they have with telecom operators.

telecomHall Initiative

• To participate in the telecom open source ecosystem, and to extend this concept to the “last mile” works, enters telecomHall, with the initiative to develop an open source multi-vendor and multi-domain network management tool as well as establish best practices and procedures.