Is Network Disaggregation the Next Big Thing in the telecom Industry?
If you ask the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) enthusiasts – the answer is Yes with many disclamations’ marks. The TIP – a nonprofit organization made of mixture of leading operators, vendors and consultants, has taken a huge task of disaggregating the network. The target is to get all of its members to agree on set of network elements that will be located in the different parts of the network and form together a real open network. So projects like DCSG (Disaggregated Cell Site Gateway) or Cassini are now defined and open for vendors to make them real working products.
So, the ideal open disaggregated network according to TIP is combination of the defined network elements from access to core, including data centers, and across network technology domains (Mobile, PON, Satellite etc.. ). To make an economical sense and to avoid any vendor lock-in, the network elements are separated to hardware based element coming from one vendor and Network Operation Software (NOS) running over this device coming from another vendor. The more vendors take part in a single network – the more open and economic it becomes, very good news for the operators.
But the next thing comes to mind is – can this mixture of disaggregated network elements coming from different vendors really becomes a unified network that can operationally provide services? So, TIP is coming again with set of network interfaces that are communicating between the network elements, as well as management interfaces for upper layer Northbound systems such as OSS and BSS. In the transport part (OOPT group in TIP), there are advanced solutions under MUST and CANDI sub-groups and the Open RAN is not far behind. But these solutions are focusing on different portions of the network and not yet on the overall end-to-end network view. From the Northbound systems’ point of view – this is not good enough. These systems need to get full network provision and control – they are looking for a single unified Network as a Service (NaaS) interface that allows them to communicate with all of the network elements – no matter from which vendor and where they are located in the network. It is becoming even more complex when there is a need to provision a service between two end points of the network.
Disaggregated networks need single Management and Automation layer with single NaaS Open API that can communicate with any vendor’s network element.
For the Northbound systems, the requirement is simple – the NaaS Open API should be able to allow upper layer systems, OSS or BSS to use simple intent-based commands to manage the network. As for the Southbound – this is a bit trickier, as there is rich set of protocols to manage and automate the disaggregated network elements and end-to-end services. There are several must-have features for that management and automation layer:
- Vendor agnostic – ability to communicate with all the elements regardless of the vendors
- Discovery – ability to automatically discover all information about and from each of the elements in the network
- Inventory – making sure that any network changes are reflected to the upper layers and use correctly in fulfilment and assurance processes
- Configuration – allow the upper layers to manage and control all of the elements
- Service Provisioning – allows to set services across multi-vendor elements between any two points in the network
- Performance monitoring – ensures that the network elements and services meet their SLA
- Real time alerts – make sure that any faulty condition in the network is captured and handled
- ZTP (Zero Touch Provisioning) – allows error free element replacements and network expansion
So the obvious question is – is there such a solution out there? The answer is NetCAE by Atrinet. It has what it takes to be the ideal network management and automation with NaaS Open APIs – keeping the network disaggregated and open for any network element and services.Press Contact: