Telecom Infra is a project between Facebook and the traditional carriers such as BT to explore new ways of using DWDM technology outside of rigid vendor controlled environments. The device itself is a muxponder with grey interfaces on one side and line side interfaces on the other. You can read more about ‘The Telecom Infra Project’ here.

It is widely held that the hyper-scale data centre operators have led the way in the adoption of this type of white box technology and that the telcos are starting to become interested in this topic, albeit with reservations. For example a specific area of interest to the telco is metro type applications, where reach is under 100km reach. Source: NGON Conference, Nice 2017.

There is more to disaggregation than just the open source hardware, it is also about software and having a standard API (Application Programming Interface) such as yang so that the network can be managed appropriately. These trends also feed into some of the other big topics in the future of telecoms such as SDN (Software defined networking) which we think in the end is really about multi-vendor interoperability. The argument for SDN really comes into its own in relation to the advent of 5G in the mobile/wireless network and so we can see that all of these big telco topics are interrelated.


So what does all this actually mean?

It means that telcos can benefit from disaggregation because it can deliver the following benefits: reduce CAPEX, reduce OPEX and allow more flexible programming of the network. It also means that telcos want to explore the benefits of open port technology such as transceivers provided by TXO, as well as purchasing refurbished hardware from reputable vendors. Whereas several years ago they might have been anxious to step outside of vendor defined arrangements, now the concept of doing this is becoming mainstream and vendors will certify compatible transceivers and refurbished hardware.

Of course the key point in all of this is not that we should have a “race to the bottom” in order to find the cheapest possible price for commoditised hardware. On the contrary, carriers still value carrier grade products and need great service. Therefore we think carriers should be thinking about a quality compatible, not necessarily the cheapest that comes without service or support. That’s where we come in.