Superb Article on What’s Wrong with Communications Industry by Steve Saunders, co-founder of Light Reading

Here’s the url for Steve Saunder’s spot on the money article:

The only add on I have to Steve’s  exquisite post is that the lack of standards is pervasive throughout the WAN space:

  1. SD WANs are a single vendor solution  – no UNI or NNI specified or being worked on by an accredited standards body.
  2. NFV: No standards for exposed interfaces, APIs (NFV orchestrator (NFVO) to/from virtual appliances), no backward compatibility between virtual appliances and physical appliances, no standard for network management or fault isolation/repair, etc.
  3. Every major Cloud Service Provider (CSP) has their own defacto standards/specs and APIs, e.g. Amazon, Google, MSFT, etc
  4. Every major CSP has their own connectivity solution(s) from customer premises network to their point of presence (PoP);  and their own method for realizing a virtual private cloud (VPC)
  5. Every CSP and network service provider has their own definition and implementation of SDN, including one or more southbound API (s) to/from Control Plane to data plane.  That southbound API was supposed to be ONLY OpenFlow according to the ONF.  The Northbound API was never standardized and there are many  options.  Many SDNs use an overlay network and virtualization of network functions while others do not.  Equipment and software built for one provider’s SDN won’t operate on another’s as the specs are different and usually proprietary.
  6. Far too many LPWANs for IoT:  Sigfox (by company with same name), LoRa WAN,  Weightless SIG (unidirectional Weightless-N, bidirectional Weightless-P and Weightless-W), NB-IoT, LTE Cat M1, many other proprietary versions like RPMA (from Ingenu).
  7. The message sets between “things”/IoT devices  and the cloud controller have not been standardized.  Neither is the functions of an “IoT Platform” which has become a wild west menagerie of incompatible platforms from hundreds of vendors.
  8. Every so called “5G” deployment planned before IMT 2020 has been completed (end of 2020) is proprietary.  The only thing in common seems to be use of 3GPP release 15 “5G New Radio” which is not a standard.   That implies mobile 5G will have severe roaming problems when moving from one 5G carrier to another.


And the list goes on and on and on……………………………………….

Without agreed upon standards, the upshot is that the big cloud players (Google, Amazon, FB, Microsoft, Tencent, Alibaba, Baidu, etc) will dominate communications in the future (I think they already dominate all of IT!!)

Also, the rise of open source hardware organizations (OCP, TIP, ONF, etc) along with Taiwan/China ODMs have profoundly changed the communications industry.  With so many open source white boxes and bare metal switches available, there is little or no value add for vendor specific network equipment other than possibly higher performance (e.g. throughput).

One thought on “Superb Article on What’s Wrong with Communications Industry by Steve Saunders, co-founder of Light Reading

  1. Telecommunication companies must reinvent themselves in the digital age:

    Telecommunication companies must evolve to respond to economic, technological and demographic changes, says Mohamed Madkour, Vice President, GWNM at Huawei Technologies.

    “It’s about how telcos can find the most efficient, profitable, development paths so that they can get to the point of business sustainability,” he says.

    This includes overcoming a fear of change, balancing the short-term returns and long-term goals, finding the right partners and talent, and focusing on their ability to provide valuable connectivity, Madkour says.

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