Why open source programs are the future for telecommunications

The future of telecom very much rests with the promises of open source software. Unlike proprietary solutions, open source SDNNFV options are geared to be flexible, accessible and budget-friendly. On top of all that, they may be where the telecom industry is already headed.

An article from RCR Wireless News looked at the business implications of open source, according to multiple industry players. Jim Zemlin of the Linux Foundation, for example, connected the open source boom with employment issues, while Michael Bushong of Brocade said that this type of software "disrupts incumbency," putting the focus on the best individual software. The comments came from a panel at this year's Open Networking Summit, held from March 14 to 17.

In December, Chris Wilder of Moor Insights and Strategy wrote for Forbes about the way open source is "disrupting" traditional kinds of telecom software. Based on his observations at multiple conferences, Wilder predicted that this newer model for platforms is simplifying cloud access.

"The future of telecom could rest with open source software."

"Cloud is creating new delivery and consumption models not just with enterprises but telecom service providers as well," he wrote. "Further complicating this, open source is evolving the relationship providers have with software developers. Open source has become the fulcrum for software development and cloud services are allowing enterprises to deploy third-party solutions without having to manage or maintain them."

What's more, keeping up with strong web solutions for telecom can make coming changes less daunting. As FierceMobile noted, Cisco believes traffic will increase fivefold by 2020. Whatever options businesses choose, they have a relatively short amount of time in which to catch up with the latest cloud services.

Why open source?
In the past, proprietary options were thought to be the better investment for several reasons: They performed better, offered more security and supported the relationship between hardware and software providers.

Things have changed recently, though, and open source now represents the more flexible option. A more vocal open source community has sprung up, ensuring that developers catch possible security problems. What's more, the new SDN-NFV model reflects what customers want and need from networks.

Here are some more reasons that open source options are now more attractive for the telecommunications sector:

  • Adaptability: Keeping the code accessible makes it easier to craft a solution that fits a company's current needs, as well as the requirements of the industry.
  • Integration: Because NFV solutions come with more support from the community, there's a better sense that functions work together across the sector.
  • Cost: Proprietary solutions traditionally required expensive hardware and a model that kept the customer committed after purchase. The open source alternative aligns with a greater business shift that ultimately gives better cost-effectiveness.
  • Innovation: With a growing, changing environment for cutting edge solutions, open source is proving to be a better place for those in need of collaborative software options. The siloed nature of older approaches typically meant less competition but also less inspiration to keep evolving.

Google and Facebook lead the way
We can already see this shift in action thanks to major tech companies. In a recent Wired article, Cade Metz referenced the way Facebook and Google designed their own hardware to work around operational difficulties.

"AT&T has long said it intends to 'virtualize' 75 percent of its network by 2020," Metz said. "In other words, it's moving towards a Google-like model where network logic sits in the software rather than the hardware." The source added that AT&T has already made some of its networking gear designs open source.

With an open architecture, telecom businesses will be able to work with a vendor agnostic solution while avoiding the language demands of other competing platforms. Learn more by contacting CloudSmartz today.