Author: TIP News
Open, disaggregated, multi-vendor networks create large opportunities for global connectivity, as enablers for innovation, supply chain diversity and better economics, that expand the access to high quality connectivity across the world.
To make these technologies a reality, the industry is changing the way network equipment is built, tested and procured. As network solutions are no longer vertically integrated by a single supplier, but made by combining different disaggregated components, an integration process is needed to ensure that the resulting network functions can satisfy the different connectivity use cases. This typically involves rigorous testing of the solutions before they are deployed in the field. Until now, that testing had to be performed in isolation, by each service provider or by each supplier, consuming a considerable amount of time and valuable resources.
The Telecom Infra Project is helping the industry solve this problem, becoming the vehicle for service providers, technology suppliers and system integrators to work together in building, testing and validating robust open network solutions. Collaboration through TIP reduces the total testing workload for each company, and makes it possible for all of them to focus on the tests that are more specific to their particular business needs. As a result, TIP helps accelerate the development and deployment of these solutions for actual connectivity use cases.
As a key component of this effort, TIP created TIP Exchange in November 2019. TIP Exchange is a centralized marketplace where validated network products and solutions, resulting from previous work on integration testing and validation, are published. After testing, products and solutions are given Badges that show their level of maturity against specific technical requirements identified by TIP operator participants, through the different project groups. For operators and service providers, this reduces time to market and simplifies the procurement of open, multi-vendor network products. For technology suppliers, it is a powerful way to increase visibility for their solutions, and address a global market that creates economies of scale and incentives for innovation.
We have seen tremendous growth for TIP Exchange since its launch. TIP Exchange now hosts solutions from more than 50 suppliers, with over 100 TIP-qualified offerings. TIP Exchange continues to grow with new offerings, allowing TIP participants to showcase their products and solutions so that service providers can quickly evaluate their applicability to specific connectivity challenges. We are continuing this momentum in 2021 as we expand our focus from individual products, including their hardware and software components, to integrated network layers, and end-to-end network solutions.
TIP participant companies can request to have their products listed on TIP Exchange by participating in qualified testing activities within TIP’s project groups. To showcase their compliance to the project group’s requirements, products and solutions of TIP participant companies are awarded TIP Badges based on test results and on the type of testing performed. Badges signify the level of maturity and commercial readiness of the products. TIP Badges provide value and credibility to the products listed, giving service providers a base to facilitate and simplify their procurement processes, and offering suppliers a vehicle to show the compliance of their products to technical requirements directly linked to actual demand from service providers.
As the next step for TIP Exchange, we are excited to introduce an update of our Badges. The new Badges will directly match the different types of products validated through TIP’s test & validation framework, from isolated network components to end-to-end solutions, and the different types of testing activities, from trials at suppliers’ own labs to rigorous validation at TIP Community Labs or approved third party labs. The badging process will now also be supported by the new Test & Validation Committee, which will review testing activities across all project groups, to ensure consistent badging criteria.
After the streamlining of our OpenRAN project group and the launch of our solution groups last year, and with the recent update of our Badges, TIP continues innovating and accelerating the validation of integrated network layers and end-to-end connectivity solutions, that we will list in TIP Exchange. This will facilitate and catalyze the expansion of open, disaggregated network technologies. A first example of this is the TIP Exchange Total Site Solution, which is focused on providing efficient connectivity for ultra-rural communities. These solutions are typically very complex and expensive, but thanks to TIP’s TSS, Service Providers can now access a fully tested and TIP-qualified site solution that meets demanding real-life scenarios with improved economics. All of the TIP-approved products that form the solutions are now listed on the TIP Exchange Marketplace, and also featured on a dedicated TIP Exchange Total Site Solution page.
We are excited to see how TIP Exchange keeps bringing together the ecosystem to drive new connectivity solutions to market, and look forward to continue working with the participants in our community to grow it even further in 2021 and beyond. Visit the TIP Exchange marketplace to view current listings.