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Networking On the Verge of 5G ECI Telecom is a telecom vendor like no other, looking to enable service providers to change the way they work, by driving change in the underlying infrastructure.



ECI CATERS TO SOME OF THE LARGEST SERVICE PROVIDERS IN THE WORLD, PROVIDING THEM WITH THE COMMUNICATIONS SOLUTIONS THEY NEED. We’ve all heard that telecoms is a rapidly changing world, but surprisingly, the underlying infrastructure and work processes have remained relatively static for decades - not what we would have expected when looking at how far we’ve come in the last years. Now, with 5G on the horizon, this ‘stability’ has consequences. The industry is on the brink of a revolution from which only the fittest and strongest will emerge. Already we see a great deal of competition in this sector, both among the service providers themselves as well as with the addition of new contenders such as todays ‘over the top’ players. Against this background, service providers are re-examining both their top and bottom lines. The problem is that existing infrastructures and processes cannot support future demand. Investing in additional capabilities will likely provide mediocre ROI at best. Perhaps this is because when these networks were first deployed, flexibility took a back seat to more important priorities such as reliability and quality. ECI watched this story unfold and devised a strategy where the service provider could benefit from all of these and more. I ISSUE 56 I BUSINESS FOCUS I P39


“5G will fuel the trends of tomorrow such as inter-carrier service delivery, M2M (machine-to-machine) communications and networking on demand. But perhaps more important, the sheer amount of traffic, and different types of traffic, on the network will require a different way of working.” “We are crafting solutions that can be tailored to the existing needs of service providers, yet which are flexible enough to take them into the new world. As such, we are empowering customers to retain their inalienable freedom to choose and re-choose vendors based solely on merit. The ELASTIC Network approach is what separates ECI from others. Using technology to help its customers has been at the core of this company’s ongoing philosophy since its founding in 1961,” said Hayim Porat, ECI’s CTO and head of its Innovation Centre. 5G – NEW BLOOD. NEW RULES. Of course, things are very different now than they were in 1961. Porat explains, “5G is just around the corner and I believe it will be the beginning of the end of an era. I believe 5G will have a major impact on network architecture, because for the first time, software defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV) will become a prerequisite. Up until now, the industry has been talking, discussing, considering, but now they will have to implement. There is no way to provide 5G profiling and agility without SDN and NFV. The time for talk is behind us.” According to Porat, “5G will fuel the trends of tomorrow such as inter-carrier service delivery, M2M (machine-tomachine) communications and networking on demand. But perhaps more important: the sheer amount of traffic, and the different types of traffic on the network, will require a different way of working. If today ~90 EB of data is transferred in any given month, in the world of M2M & IoT, we are expecting exponential growth which will further be enabled by 5G architecture.” He continued, “Service providers will no longer be able to manually provision services or manually audit network resources. Big data will take on a new meaning. Automated, self-organizing networks will become a must. We are on the path, but progress must be made much more quickly.” Porat is particularly excited about the opportunities that will likely arise as networks become more sophisticated and automation begins to take over, “The networks of the future will require more systems to be offloaded to AI (artificial intelligence) driven architectures.” When Hayim Porat starts talking about the future of the telecom industry, we should all take the time to listen. Porat has been chosen to speak on the topic of ‘5G: Beyond the Hype’ at Mobile World Congress on February 27th at 4:30 pm. WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE “I think that with the new way of doing things, telecoms and IT mind sets will have much more crossover. Telecoms will need to adopt IT-like I ISSUE 56 I BUSINESS FOCUS I P41

[ BUSINESS FOCUS_ECI-THE ELASTIC NETWORK ] processes and find ways to make technology work for us. Change is difficult for everyone, so the challenge is to get carriers to try something new,” said Porat. Of course, the trouble with trying to introduce change to a large industry is that the big players are the ones who are most comfortable with the current situation, while the smaller and more agile companies have a lot more to win, by daring to challenge the status quo. Porat continued, “Today’s telecoms market is controlled by a few big players. In fact over the last few years, we’ve seen further market consolidation of vendors in our space. When you control such a large share of the market, change is a risk that you don’t really want to take. Many of our competitors are very comfortable where they are, as the status quo ensures revenue streams for years to come,” Porat says. “For vendors like ECI, change is a huge opportunity. But change is required on both sides in order for it to work. ” ECI is encouraging companies to dip their toes in the water to kick start a change that it believes will ultimately be adopted by the entire industry. “The only way to successfully do this is to reduce the barrier of entry to a minimum,” said Porat. “We believe ECI should be chosen based on merit alone. You will be able to choose our transport

solutions, management systems, controllers, or networking apps either stand-alone, or within an end-to-end solution. Our open APIs and open architecture will ensure these solutions work for you in any environment.” TURNING VISION TO REALITY Of course, the industry has been talking about this change for years. Many vendors are ‘talking the talk’. However, few are ‘walking the walk’. ECI has been diligently working to turn this vision into reality. For example, as additional investments in the network become ever more difficult, ECI understands that customers need to ensure that their current infrastructure is being maximized. That is why ECI has launched a variety of apps that provide the visibility required to optimize network resources. Some examples: LightINSIGHT - a network analytics app to better understand network utilization, or LightCARE - a proactive maintenance app to diagnose network failures. But these are just some of the solutions. ECI has designed its transport products with an inherent evolution plan. Open interfaces and APIs are already being incorporated today to ensure its


[ ECI-THE ELASTIC NETWORK ] equipment is completely interoperable in 3rd party environments. And to make it easy on customers who operate multi-vendor networks, ECI makes sure its management systems can integrate 3rd party platforms. Moreover, customers will be able to seamlessly migrate to the world of SDN with more and more service provisioning being taken on by ECI’s SDN domain controllers. With the increased adoption of NFV solutions, ECI also offers a hybrid NFV platform which can be fully integrated into its packetoptical family, or chosen as a stand-alone, once again providing a cost benefit as well as simplifying operations. In addition, since standard platforms were not built to support the heavy processing required by a variety of virtual network functions (VNFs), ECI is launching an accelerated NFV platform at MWC, in conjunction with partner Mellanox. Last winter at MEF16, ECI demonstrated the work it has done in bringing to life the MEF’s OpenLSO initiative. In an innovative POC, ECI launched a fully assured, on-demand Ethernet service across three separate networks within minutes. This proves to the industry that inter-carrier cooperation is right around the corner. And the list goes on. ECI has launched or demonstrated a long list of innovative solutions over the last couple of years that are right in line with its ELASTIC Networks strategy, showing that ‘where there’s a will there’s a way’. “In the world of telecoms, there’s a lot of talk about programmability,” Porat explains. “No doubt this can help service providers attain the vision of becoming more flexible and agile. The biggest influence will come in the next generation because it will be the first time that we will have put these capabilities to work on a grand scale. Technology has the ability to change the way we do things forever.” It’s going to be a brave new world. We’re excited to see what ECI does. I ISSUE 56 I BUSINESS FOCUS I P43

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