An Update from TIP Summit 2017

Today, the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) community gathered for the second annual TIP Summit to discuss progress on project groups, hear from TIP board members and industry voices, and share new ideas to shape the future of the telecom industry.

Founded in 2016, TIP is an engineering-focused initiative driven by operators, suppliers, developers, integrators, and startups to disaggregate the traditional network deployment approach. The collective aim of our community is to collaborate on new technologies, examine new business approaches, and spur new investments into the telecom space.

The TIP community is now stronger than ever, with more than 500 member companies working together towards a common goal. At this time last year, we kicked off the 2016 TIP Summit with 300 members from across the industry. As we head into 2018, we’re committed to growing and strengthening our unique community. Thank you to everyone who has joined us and contributed so far.

In addition to our community growth, we’re excited to announce four new members of the TIP board:

  • Howard Watson, CEO of BT Technology, Service & Operations. Howard has extensive expertise in the strategic development, leadership and delivery of Network, IT, business transformation and post-merger integration.
  • David Del Val Latorre, Director of Product Innovation at Telefónica. David has been involved in setting up nine different technology companies over the course of his career and holds sixteen patents in Europe, the United States and Japan.
  • Santiago Tenorio, Head of Network Strategy and Architecture at Vodafone. Santiago has twenty-two years of experience overseeing Vodafone’s networks.
  • Aaron Bernstein, Director of Connectivity Ecosystem Programs at Facebook. Aaron has led Facebook teams responsible for global device, silicon, and infrastructure partnerships, mobile partner programs, and mobile partner-led products and integrations.

We’d also like to thank SK Telecom for their participation on the board as a founding member of TIP and are looking forward to their continued participation.

At today’s summit, we also announced a number of new TIP initiatives, project groups and progress on ongoing projects.

OpenCellular
Bringing connectivity to remote parts of the world is expensive and challenging. The TIP OpenCellular Project Group promotes cost effective and sustainable base station solutions for rural areas using an open-source platform. Last year at the inaugural TIP Summit, we announced the LTE variant with Cavium software as part of the OpenCellular platform. Today leading operators — Telefonica, MTN, and others — are in the process of evaluating OpenCellular LTE via lab and field trials and charting their path for scaled deployments covering areas that are unconnected and underserved. Vodafone and Facebook will also work together during 2018 to evaluate how OpenCellular can be used to deliver low cost rural coverage in Africa.

TIP, in partnership with Facebook, also launched the TIP OpenCellular Community Grant program. The goal of the program is to activate the global community of connectivity experts working in educational institutions, research labs, non-profits, NGOs, early stage start-ups and community-based operators to develop new hardware and software features and capabilities. We expect the program to promote more community-led deployments in rural areas, first-responder situations and to empower and transfer knowledge to connect the world.

In some cases, rural cellular deployments cannot be achieved without power infrastructure alongside. We are unveiling an open-source power solution, OpenCellular-Power, for rural connectivity that includes an open design and software specifications for base station power systems.

Artificial Intelligence and Applied Machine Learning Project Group
Deutsche Telekom and Telefonica will co-chair a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Applied Machine Learning (ML) project group. The AI/ML group will apply artificial intelligence and machine learning to network planning, operations and customer behavior identification to optimize service experience and increase automation.

mmWave Networks Project Group
After announcing the mmWave Networks TIP project group with Deutsche Telekom at Mobile World Congress Americas this September, we’re thrilled to welcome more than 200 members to the project group, including operators, chipset providers, backhaul network vendors, system integrators and test/measurement companies. We’re especially excited about Deutsche Telekom’s completion of a mmWave Networks focused TIP Community Lab in Berlin, Germany and look forward to the progress we will make in this area over the next year.

Open Optical Packet Transport (OOPT)
Voyager, an open transponder contribution from Facebook, continues to build momentum worldwide. Today, we are excited to announce that TIM Brasil and Internexa are trialing Voyager in Latin America, as are Orange in Africa, and Telia Carrier in Europe. Vodafone is also planning to undertake field testing of Voyager in Europe next year. Cumulus, one of the industry leaders in unlocking vertical network stacks, is today announcing support for Cumulus Linux on Voyager. In addition, Edgecore Networks, a subsidiary of industry-leading open networking ODM Accton Technology, is contributing their packet transponder hardware design to TIP.

Within the OOPT project group, the Physical Simulation Environment (PSE) working group has been creating the first open source industry-wide effort to develop a multi-vendor tool for optical network planning. Operators will no longer have to depend on their suppliers to plan routes and network capacity, but will have a vendor-neutral way to lay out their requirements and simulate the conditions that they’d have in the network.

We encourage you to visit this blog post to read about other updates from the project group.

OpenRAN Project Group
Vodafone and Intel will co-chair a new project group aimed at reducing the costs associated with building mobile networks and enabling easier market entry for smaller vendors. The project will focus on implementation of RAN solutions that can be deployed on General Purpose Processing Platforms thus enabling a sustainable development stream.

E2E Network Slicing Project Group
BT will chair a new project group focused on Network Slicing as it applies to new and upcoming network architectures. This project will identify end-to-end use cases that can be researched, developed and demonstrated to help meet some of the key challenges in the next generation network slicing arena. Further, the project group will build on its identified use cases to drive opportunities for trial and deployment at scale, to benefit operators in real-world scenarios.

vRAN Fronthaul Project Group
Since its inception earlier this year, the vRAN Fronthaul project group has shown great momentum charting the milestones for real network deployments. The group co-chairs and participating members are currently driving four operator-sponsored use cases, with support from BT, Bharti Airtel, TIM, and CableLabs. We are very excited to announce the opening of two separate TIP Community Labs that will be focused on vRAN projects showcasing various fronthaul technologies. The Community Lab in India will be hosted by Bharti Airtel and the Community Lab in the US will be hosted by CableLabs. We encourage you to visit this blog post to read about other updates from the project group.

Solutions Integration Project Group
We are pleased to announce that the Solutions Integration project group has successfully completed the Type-1 4G Unbundling project in the TIP Community Lab. The 4G Unbundled project developed an open RAN architecture for multi-vendor interoperability achieved by partitioning LTE eNodeB into functional components and using open APIs. By unbundling the current supply model of 4G radio access networks, this solution reduces the cost of operation, resulting in more scalable and cost effective networks to support next generation services and 5G migration. The first draft of the open APIs will be contributed at the conclusion of TIP Summit.

Edge Compute Project Group
The Edge Compute project group has been working to identify use cases and implementations that amplify mobile, terrestrial, IoT and next generation service deployments, enhancing the experience for users and providing new revenue by applying functions and services at the edge of the network. The project group enabled their first use case based on ‘caching at the edge,’ which implements an open architecture concept for delivering internet content over broadband with caching mechanisms at the network edge to optimize network resource utilization, resulting in a better customer experience.

Thank you to everyone who attended this year’s Summit. I’m thrilled with the progress the TIP community is making to transform the telecom infrastructure industry. We know that working together and leveraging a diverse range of approaches from across the industry will lead to the greatest success and we have already seen enormous progress on many of our initiatives. On behalf of TIP, we are excited to collaborate on these efforts over the years ahead.