After decades of commercial bombing in the telecommunications business, it is estimated that you already know how telecom operators for your smart phone to provide mobile networks. All of the telecom operators have built their own wireless networks and claiming that their data centers, fiber optic lines, base station antennas, etc., can provide faster, more stable, or less expensive network services than other homes The This has always been a war, a telecommunications between the hardware war.
But there is a new trend in this week's MWC 2017, a trend to improve this business model: encourage telecom operators to build shared infrastructure. Similar to China's Tower Company, by sharing the telecommunications infrastructure, to avoid duplication of construction, reduce costs, thereby speeding up network construction, and reduce communication charges.
The project spans many businesses and projects. But in Barcelona, the main driver of the sport is not a telecom operator, but a social networking company: Facebook. Monday (February 27), the US Internet giant announced that it would work with Air Tel Uganda, a subsidiary of Airtel, an Indian telecom operator, Airtel Uganda and BCS Group (broadband service provider), to lay out about 480 km of fiber optic transmission in northwestern Uganda Network, is expected to serve 3 million people. Facebook is open to the project and hopes that other interested operators will be able to join the program and share the fiber network.
Facebook hopes that this project will serve as a model to attract other telecom operators in the same area without networking using the same method faster and more efficient deployment of fiber optic networks. "If operators are able to come together and take full advantage of the shared infrastructure, there will be greater flexibility, lower cost, and faster marketability." "Said Jay Parikh, vice president of engineering for Facebook. Of course, the end will be more people can use Facebook, in Lei Feng network view, perhaps this is the ultimate pursuit of Facebook.
At the same time, South Korea's largest telecom operator SK Telecom also announced that it will work with other companies to design software and hardware, so that telecom operators can more easily share the base station antenna and radio waves. While there are already other companies looking at the similar design of the Unbundled RAN architecture, the SK project represents a further attempt. Of course, this also thanks Facebook.
Delphi launched a project called Telecom Infrastructure Project (hereinafter referred to as TIP) in February 2016, hoping that through this project, telecom operators, infrastructure providers, system integrators And other technology companies together to jointly develop new technologies, the establishment and deployment of shared telecommunications networks. By encouraging the major carriers to share the wireless access network architecture, so that everyone can share the same network. Facebook hopes to catalyze the broader market, which means that more people in the region will benefit from it.
Open source and share the power
In fact, the culture of sharing began with the rise of open source software, because many technology companies, especially Google and Facebook Internet giants, began to share their free source code. By sharing valuable software, these companies want to get free help from outside developers to help them improve.
Now, the same trend has also expanded to the hardware industry. In 2011, Facebook opened the source to support its huge business of computer servers, network equipment, and data center design. In addition, Facebook also encourages other companies to do the same. OpenCmpute Project, an independent nonprofit project, hopes that it will simplify the hardware development process and reduce development costs, and this project has been a great success. Today, Facebook hopes to push the same idea in the telecom market through the TIP project.
Although TIP is only one year old, but Facebook said that the current TIP has attracted more than 450 companies, in addition to SK such telecom operators, as well as Nokia telecommunications infrastructure equipment manufacturers, and even Microsoft Internet giant. Instead of bundled wireless access network architecture is only one of TIP's many projects, they will build and share new wireless antennas and other hardware to help drive modern communications networks. In the long run, more people can access the network, will allow Facebook to get more users.
But Facebook's attempt in Uganda has a different meaning. In addition to providing engineering funds and expert guidance for the new fiber network, the project is also a practice for Facebook that wants to share the results of this experiment with other members of the TIP and show them the possibilities of this model. "We want to understand the dynamic process of the business, and what are the pre-planning and technical barriers, and then apply what we've learned to other projects in the TIP." Parikh said that if the project was successful, other operators would have the incentive to work together to develop similar projects. & Rdquo;
Hinder and future
However, this shared project faces a variety of obstacles. As the local government will receive fiber revenues through fiber licenses and related taxes, it is likely to prevent those carriers from sharing the infrastructure in the way of Facebook. And even if it is shared, the cost of large-scale laying of fiber-optic networks is still high. Some people think that through satellite, unmanned aerial vehicles and high-altitude balloon technology to expand the Internet service more meaningful. At present, Google and Facebook have been in the development of related technologies, to do such an attempt.
"(Through) satellites (providing network services) will be much faster, and can be a one-time for the entire region to provide (network) services. "Says Tom Makau, an independent analyst who is closely concerned with the African telecom market," you do not need to build a lot of infrastructure on the ground. & Rdquo;
And telecom operators in the United States and Europe are likely to object to this model because they have built up a variety of businesses around their own infrastructure. If everyone shares the infrastructure, they have to find other advantages that distinguish themselves from their competitors. They will have to change the original business model, more focused on software rather than hardware facilities. "Every market has a difference," said Parikh.
Facebook, along with many other companies, has driven the Internet in a variety of ways, such as unmanned unmanned aerial vehicles and hot air balloon programs. In addition, from the new fiber network, to the wide area antenna, to the city's wireless network system, these technologies can play a role in helping developing countries to improve the penetration of the Internet. And the idea behind these technologies can be shared by Facebook to support the spread of TIP.
However, the power to push TIP is to open source, this approach is more powerful than any kind of hardware. After changing the software market and data center, open source and aimed at the field of telecommunications. When competition becomes co-operative, the Internet will grow faster than ever before.