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Facebook, Nokia, Intel form Telecom Infra Project

Facebook, Intel and Nokia have formed the Telecom Infra Project to help speed up the scaling of telecom networks to support the growing demand for video, virtual reality and other online services.

Using principles similar to the Open Compute Project started by Facebook, members will develop open components and designs to facilitate network expansion across vendors and in areas otherwise less economically viable.

Facebook, Intel and Nokia have pledged to contribute an initial suite of reference designs, while other members such as operators Deutsche Telekom and SK Telecom will help define and deploy the technology as it fits their needs.

TIP members will work together to contribute designs in three areas — access, backhaul, and core and management — applying the Open Compute Project models of openness and disaggregation as methods of spurring innovation.

Component pieces will be unbundled, affording operators more flexibility in building networks. This will result in significant gains in cost and operational efficiency for both rural and urban deployments, according to the announcement by Facebook’s Global Head of Engineering and Infrastructure Jay Parikh.

In the near term, TIP’s work will focus primarily on disaggregating the hardware and software layers in the traditional network stack and recombining those elements in ways that enable significant efficiency gains in urban and rural deployments, SK Telecom announced. TIP will also collaborate on the acceleration of technologies like 5G and the development of new technologies that will pave the way for better connectivity and richer services. SK, which joined the Open Compute Project in January, plans to contribute to TIP its 5G enabling technologies/services and network solutions based on virtualization technologies like SDN and NFV.

To illustrate the advantages of testing new approaches to connectivity, Facebook, in collaboration with Globe Telecom, recently launched a pilot deployment based on TIP principles to connect a small village in the Philippines that previously did not have mobile coverage. In addition, UK operator EE is planning to work as part of TIP to pilot community-run 4G coverage that can withstand the challenges of the remote environment of the Scottish Highlands to connect unconnected communities.

Nokia said its planned contributions to TIP include publishing an open specification for the operability interface associated with the radio access run time environment, which traditionally is vendor specific. This open interface will allow development of new radio products for new market segments, allowing operators to “mix and match” between vendors within a given system.

The open interface will also enable innovation for faster and simpler cell site or node implementations that can be built and deployed by third parties, supporting coverage expansion where traditional deployments would not be economically feasible. In order to further encourage third-party participation, Nokia will provide a program to cross-check compatibility with the open interface.

Pending successful creation of the required TIP Project Groups, Nokia aims to provide an open base station hardware platform, and a reference design and hardware specification of it. The initial specifications are targeted to be available in the first half of 2016, and to be enhanced gradually. Nokia will provide components, modules or a reference platform, as well as complete base stations, to parties that want to build TIP access points.

Nokia intends to participate in several TIP Project Groups in order to provide operator-friendly solutions and increased vendor choices. The contributions of TIP Project Groups are expected to result in the dramatic reduction of overhead associated with providing mobile coverage by simplifying network build-outs.

It will be possible for operators, enterprises and other vertical players to build faster and simpler mobile broadband spot coverage in rural, suburban, enterprise, and urban environments compared to using traditional mobile network implementation models.

Source: mobile world

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