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Facebook’s telco infra ‘re-imagining’ is coming along nicely


via Flickr © ·JERRYANG·(CC BY-ND 2.0)

  • Juniper joins Telecom Infra(structure) Project
  • Support for open standards and collaboration at the infrastructure layers gathers speed

Juniper Networks has just announced that it’s joined the Telecom Infra(structure) Project (TIP) led by Facebook, SK Telecom and Deutsche Telekom (and bolstered by an increasing number of technology companies) which aims to spur an open approach to the way networks are built and managed, with lots of open code and API sharing all attached to an agreed architecture and applied to both mobile and fixed networks. One of the group’s favourite slogans is that it intends to ‘re-imagine’ the traditional approach to telecoms infrastructure.

It all sounds very disruptive for traditional networking companies and so it will be, but it’s remarkable how quickly the idea has snowballed from the announcement of the initiative  early this year.

In addition to Juniper, the group has now welcomed in Telefonica and Vodafone, the  Axiata Group Berhad/Axiata Digital, Acacia, ADVA, Bluestream, Broadcom, Coriant, Deloitte,  MTN Group, Indosat and Lumentum.

As Facebook executives admit, the idea was to do a follow-on from Facebook’s Open Compute Project which has already established an open approach and architecture for the data centre (a prime concern for Facebook, for instance, since it spends billions on cloud servers and their ongoing management).

The Telecom Infra Project aims to complete the job by promoting an open, and increasingly commoditised approach to ongoing expansion and change on the physical network itself, thus lowering the data centre-to-user connectivity costs - a boon to both developed and developing markets. The vision is of an ecosystem of  interoperable components and agile network architectures.

The TIP, then, is ‘reimagining’ and opening up  the lower layers of the stack in the same way that NFV and SDN are both ‘reimagining’ the software-driven upper layers - by making their development one big open, interoperable, share-fest.

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