TIM Brazil and Vodafone announced last month at Mobile World Congress the companies with whom they will conduct lab and field trials of the Telecom Infra Project’s Disaggregated Cell Site Gateway (DCSG). The two carriers, after requests for information (RFIs) issued last year alongside Telefónica, say they will work with Alpha Networks, Delta Networks, and Edgecore Networks on the hardware side and ADVA, IPInfusion, and Volta Networks on the software end. Telefónica has not yet announced plans for potential further work with the DCSG, but a TIP blog last month said the carrier was committed to DCSG trials as well.
As its name implies, the DCSG effort aims to create an open and disaggregated cell site gateway platform within TIP’s Open Optical & Packet Transport (OOPT) project group. Vodafone, TIM Brazil, Telefónica, and Orange sponsored the effort, which led to the release of RFIs from the first three operators. Meanwhile, open hardware vendors quickly announced a first-generation DCSG, dubbed the Odyssey (see “Infinera adopts Telecom Infra Project Disaggregated Cell Site Gateway”; at MWC, Infinera showed off the capabilities of its Converged Network Operating System with an Odyssey platform provided by Edgecore Networks). The operators evaluated the responses to the RFI based on the following criteria (as listed by Vodafone):
- openness to work in a disaggregated network environment
- platform architecture based on commercial off-the-shelf components, ability to support third-party software, and compliance with various time synchronization requirements
- software compliance with the routing capabilities required for traffic backhaul
- product readiness and availability.
Vodafone says it plans to move to lab and field trials of Odyssey-DCSG technology “over the coming months.” TIM Brazil says it plans similar activities within a similar timeframe.
"We had a very positive feedback from the RFI and were impressed with the engineering capabilities of the selected suppliers,” said Silmar Palmeira, TIM Brazil's director of innovation and technology. “This is another important step towards the adoption of disaggregated solutions that will boost market growth and improve Brazilian infrastructure.”
"This is a significant milestone for the project as well as for the industry and it is the result of strong TIP community collaboration in the DCSG project group. We are amazed by the response of the invited suppliers," added Santiago Tenorio, Vodafone Group’s head of networks strategy and architecture and a TIP board member. "Now that we have a DCSG ecosystem and a clear set of specifications, it is the right moment to focus on the development of the technologies.”
Meanwhile, at Mobile World Congress, Telefónica unveiled an open access (OPA) vision that encompasses support for 5G services through open, disaggregated “white box” hardware located at remote sites and edge central offices. Whether the DSCG would fit within this vision is unclear. At the show, Telefónica offered a demonstration of its OPA approach; the hardware for the mobile portion of the network came from Dell and Kontron, the software from Altiostar and Mavenir.
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