Todays’ broadband service providers face a number of challenges – increasing competition from a variety of operator types; the need to offer faster speeds as well as getting these services to market as fast as possible. Unfortunately, many existing access systems are tied to complex operations and business support systems (OSS/BSS) in which each application is tightly coupled with its respective hardware (such as PON, DSL, Gfast, etc.). This results in a lengthy integration cycle (12-18 months) each time a new technology and/or service is introduced.
In today’s hyper-competitive environment this is simply unacceptable.
As such, operators are looking for solutions that move away from complex, proprietary interfaces towards fully programmable open application programming interfaces (APIs) that enable multivendor SDN control and orchestration. This offers service providers end-to-end control and the ability to program their own network applications and services and perhaps most importantly – in a much more accelerated time frame, often in a few months and even as quickly as a few weeks.
A first step towards achieving this accelerated implementation is by the adoption of virtualization technologies.
A key element of virtualization is to decouple the software from the hardware layers through hardware abstraction, and adopting an open source framework that uses SDN for automation and programmability. By abstracting the hardware from the software platform, the same OS runs on every system regardless of the underlying hardware.
The hardware abstraction layer (HAL) hides the differences in the various access technologies, yet isolates the new capabilities such that the upper layer applications can take advantage of them. This architecture significantly simplifies the process of integrating new services and capabilities into a back-office system, because the differences are managed very low in the architecture. For example, implementation that was performed for GPON can be fully leveraged as an operator upgrades their network to XGS-PON or NG-PON2.
This capability allows a service provider to rapidly adopt and deploy new technologies faster through the reuse of existing MOPs and capitalize on the benefits of simple and consistent software operations regardless of the physical infrastructure layer
The goal is to “integrate once, deploy often”.
Calix is helping a number of operators to achieve accelerated deployments that leverage the principals of virtualization through its AXOS platform.
For example, GLDS, which provides OSS/BSS services for over 800 independent broadband operators – adopted the AXOS platform in 2017 to help service providers accelerate the deployment of next generation broadband services without the burden of significant custom IT and development costs. By leveraging fully programmable open APIs and common service data models, GLDS is enabling multivendor integration across systems, technologies, network partners and open source solutions. This will allow Calix customers to rapidly adopt new AXOS systems supporting any PON and any PHY, well ahead of their competition.
Instead of the usual 18-24 month integration process for new technologies, GLDS was able to achieve integration of the AXOS Gfast systems in four months. By further leveraging the capabilities achieved in the initial integration and taking advantage of template-based service provisioning and common data model objects, integration of NG-PON 2 was achieved in four weeks.
This is only one example of how virtualization technologies provide the infrastructure that facilitates speed of change and presents providers with the capabilities to rapidly launch new services and introduce new business models.
Furthermore, this example illustrates how a flexible and open approach enables service providers to select best-in-class solutions from multiple providers to simplify deployment models and accelerate new revenue generating services across their entire network.