CBTS, the Cincinnati Bell subsidiary, claims it has a novel way to help carriers drive down the cost of ownership when they deploy fiber-fed broadband services.
The company, which bought both SunTel Services and OnX Enterprise Services in 2017, is combining its acquired systems integrator skills and its parent's old-school carrier experience to provide consulting and support, along with new technologies it developed and sells.
CBTS recently debuted a family of 10 Gbit optical networking solutions, coupled with off-the-shelf hardware and systems integration services designed to give operator customers the comfy, old carrier experience of buying proprietary systems, said Robert Lamb, program director of Carrier Open Infrastructure at CBTS in an interview with Broadband World News.
The difference, however, is CBTS isn't locking carriers in with hardware, he said. Service providers can use practically any vendor's hardware, and that flexibility opens the door for a more customized approach, Lamb noted.
Opening Up to COI
The division based its Carrier Open Infrastructure
(COI) reference architecture on Open Networking Foundation
's (ONF) Central Office Redefined as a Data center
(CORD) framework, plus Open Compute Project
(OCP)-based hardware. Because it is multi-access and works across copper, fiber and wireless at gigabit speeds, any carrier -- cable, wireline, mobile -- can use COI, Lamb said.
"We are targeting all of the carriers, predominantly Tier 1 and Tier 2. It's all built on R-CORD and the ONF software. By utilizing this, we believe, we're going to drive down total cost of ownership using commercially off the shelf hardware and software and then we have that integration wrap," he said. "That's where the integration services we built our foundation on come into play to give that carrier a complete turnkey environment, just like they would if they went to one of the mainstream vendors."
In addition, the integrator incorporated the vOLTHA and
SEBA SDN framework so operators can deploy and maintain a mix of networks from multiple vendors -- a best-of-breed approach or a tactic that enables carriers to more easily retain legacy technologies, Lamb said. Finally, top-tier operators will receive annuity support services, help desk, managed services, advanced replacement and field services, according to the provider.
"The vOLTHA/SEBA software has created an opportunity to abstract from the operations systems what that hardware is. And we think that's the most critical element here because that now gives carriers the ability to use multiple different access architectures -- they can use GPON, they can use 10-gig PON in XGS format or in EPON format, they can do NGPON2, they can do Gfast Gen II -- so they have the flexibility to use the right tool for the right problem," Lamb noted. "By virtue of abstracting that from the support system, now they've got the agility and the flexibility to do that. The operational side has always been the reason why they couldn't roll things out faster. This gives them the ability to do that."
CBTS also began offering OpenOLT, an OCP- and OpenCORD-compatible 1RU PON access platform for remote terminal and central office applications. It also debuted OpenONU, an ITU-T G.9807 compliant 10GB downstream and upstream XGS-PON interface that supports triple-play services such as voice, video and high-speed Internet access.
Carriers can use other OLTs, according to CBTS, or purchase the integrator's white-box versions, Lamb said.
"We're bringing to market a whole portfolio of optics, both on the PON side and on the optics side. And on the other end of the wire, a couple of ONUs to terminate the XGSPON service. And then a home networking environment for residential gateway and WiFi extension -- so an end to end, wall to wall, white-box environment," he said. "We think it gives a nice one-stop shop. We went down the hardware path predominantly because, A) hardware's easy. B), having a box is something people can visualize and it's a door opener. We want to use that to get in the door to discuss this whole architecture and this whole framework, whether they buy a box from us or not."
— Alison Diana, Editor, Broadband World News. Follow us on Twitter or @alisoncdiana.