The access network is a service provider’s most strategic investment as it is the link between the network and the subscribers. In addition, technology limitations have driven the past 30 years of best practices in service provider (SP) network design. These legacy network designs are difficult and expensive to change, as well as complex to manage and upgrade, making it hard for SP’s to deploy new services and increase their revenue.
While traditional SPs deal with their legacy networks, the competitive landscape is rapidly changing, and SPs now find themselves competing with companies unencumbered by the past for subscriber’s attention and ultimately their business.
SPs must find a way to eliminate the problems of the past and disrupt the business of broadband.
Software Defined Access and Transformation
Forward-looking SPs will thrive in this new era of software platforms that provide the agility of a cloud provider and the efficiencies of a data center. From content distribution to the IoT-enabled smart home, software platforms are delivering dramatic operational efficiencies, capital cost reductions, and new revenue opportunities.
Software Defined Access (SDA) is making it possible to deliver those capabilities to the access network by supporting network convergence, DevOps, automation of critical network functions, Always On capabilities combined with Quality of Experience and doing it with the ability to deliver services cost effectively.
The Calix AXOS software platform is based on these core SDA principles ensuring that new technologies, features and capabilities can be integrated into the network and systems rapidly with minimal effort. In addition, by leveraging and contributing to the standards efforts we ensure that our solutions can easily fit into any ecosystem.
One network, always on
Calix has pursued the vision of a unified access network for a decade, a vision shared with Verizon* who claims 80% OPEX reduction through collapsing to one network for business, residential and wireless aggregation. The AXOS software platform is key to the realization of this vision, allowing communications service providers (SPs) to rapidly deliver all services on a single, elastic, converged access network.
AXOS is key as it enables this delivery within an Always On network while providing the flexibility to move intelligence deep into the access network, close to the subscriber where it makes architectural and financial sense. The componentized AXOS software platform eliminates service disruptions and operations constrains, while automatically recovering from faults and preventing side effects caused by new software functions or human error.
Deploying AXOS systems gives SPs a strategic impact in their continued success. The agility inherent to AXOS will enable SPs to seize new opportunities and respond rapidly to disruptive events and technologies. With AXOS, SPs can expect to reduce operating costs and deploy new services faster.
The return on investment can be greater through the convergence of Layer 2 and Layer 3 networks and the collapse of the traditional central office architectures which is the subject of Forever changing the access network.
AXOS, which stands for Access eXtensible Operating System, is a Linux-based software platform purpose built for the access network. AXOS is the world’s only true SDA and is a layered, modular, containerized platform that abstracts the functions, features and capabilities required to deliver a high-quality subscriber experience from the hardware to ensure portability and programmability.
Completely hardware independent, AXOS allows for all software functions to be developed and run without depending on the underlying hardware and silicon chipsets. This hardware independence is gained from the hardware abstraction layer (HAL) within the AXOS architecture and enables functions to be individually lifted and hosted on different systems or on x86 white box servers ensuring the service provider has an easy transition to network functions virtualization (NFV).
Axos core tenets:
The AXOS architecture is based on three key tenets Fast, Always On and Simple. The modular/ containerized architecture of the AXOS platform allows Calix the ability to rapidly develop new solutions based on the latest technologies by selecting the correct features/functions from the AXOS library of modules and building them together in a system. This ensures rapid time-to-market for Calix, but also benefits service providers with reduced testing time and faster time-to-revenue and common operational procedures across the entire subscriber base, due to the high re-use.
Subscribers expect the network to always be available regardless of the time of day or night, therefore service providers no longer have the option of taking down the network for maintenance, ever. Having an always on network is an imperative. Therefore the network elements must be able to be upgraded or even heal themselves without impact to the subscribers service.
This is the reason the AXOS architecture and its modules are stateful, meaning they maintain their state and can be restarted without impact to the other modules within the system. This enables upgrades of AXOS modules to take place without impact to subscriber services. The modules can also restart themselves when needed, saving the cost of truck rolls for revenue generating activities like subscriber turn-ups.
All service providers are looking to simplify their network and automate as many critical functions as possible. With automated workflows, native standard interfaces, service providers can reduce provisioning steps by as many as 3 times previous solutions. This significantly reduces the cost of operations. Not only can workflows be automated but they are common across the entire subscriber base regardless if that subscriber is served on GPON, NG-PON2 or Copper services like Gfast.
With an always-on architecture and consistent provisioning across services, AXOS accelerates time-to- revenue, eliminates service disruptions, and reduces operational complexity for service providers.
Enabling SPs to compete
Today’s SP needs to be able to compete against service providers unencumbered with legacy network infrastructure. This means they must be able to maintain:
- Maintain always on network
- Reduce operational expense
- Roll out services faster at reduced expense
With this in mind the AXOS architecture includes key features and capabilities to meet these needs and enable service providers to reduce operational expense while maintaining an excellent subscriber experience.
Remote trouble shooting
Access networks are spread out with network elements located in very remote and often difficult to reach locations. This can have a significant impact on the subscriber experience with delays to restore services and to service providers with added costs.
AXOS deep diagnostics provide SPs with remote troubleshooting capabilities for analyzing video and data traffic, eliminating truck rolls and procurement of additional testing equipment.
- Improve fault isolation through Video Channel Analyzer (VCA). Technicians can remotely join and monitor multicast channels anywhere in the
- Verify data delivery and integrity and determine problem origin (network or customer premises).
- Perform remote packet capture analysis through Virtual Technician with
Always On network
AXOS allows SPs to confidently deploy new software releases throughout the network.
- Introduce software upgrades and patches with significantly less The AXOS architecture provides for independent upgrade and verification of modules. Its stateful design means the system continues to deliver services during software upgrades.
- Minimize risk of possible issues resulting from software upgrades as AXOS monitors each module and corrects issues by automatically restarting the impacted module.
Faster testing and deployment times
- AXOS allows SPs to deploy new service technology faster than traditional
- Verify new technologies early by using AXOS Sandbox in your This validates new system functionality with actual AXOS operating system software on Linux x86 virtual machines.
- Focus testing efforts on AXOS modules that Through code reuse, SPs benefit by having faster access to the new technology.
- Install new field systems quickly with AXOS Zero Touch Provisioning (ZTP). With ZTP, technicians can cable up new systems in the network, power on the system and This results in reduced site visit times and effort.
The Calix SDA approach is part of a large partner ecosystem dedicated to multi-vendor solutions that benefit SPs. Calix is committed to the open source and standards communities with the goal of interoperable, software-first solutions. We actively participate in industry initiatives to define, standardize and implement next generation access networks – Open Networking Foundation, IEEE, Open WRT, Cable Labs, the Broadband Forum and others. In addition, Calix recently announced its first ecosystem co- creation partner Infosys.
Subscriber services and the network that delivers them are not static. SPs must be able to react quickly to new revenue generating opportunities while reducing their overall network complexity. The architecture of 30 years ago isn’t the answer, forward-looking SPs will thrive in this new era of software platforms that provide the agility of a cloud provider and the efficiencies of a data center. From content distribution to the IoT-enabled smart home, software platforms are delivering dramatic operational efficiencies, capital cost reductions, and new revenue opportunities.
The access network has always been the most challenging part of a service providers network. It requires a service provider to deliver very high quality, scalable services in very harsh and challenging environments, that are often extremely remote.
Software Defined Access (SDA), of which AXOS is the only true SDA, is uniquely positioned to enable SPs to win by taking on the challenges of the access network and turning them into opportunities by supporting network convergence, DevOps, automation of critical network functions, Always On capabilities combined with Quality of Experience and doing it with the ability to deliver services cost effectively.
This article was published in partnership with Adcomtec.