In a recent roundtable-style discussion, numerous thought leaders and visionaries from the telecommunications and cloud data sectors gathered to discuss the impacts of broadband aggregation.
The gathering was orchestrated by KGPCo, the Telecommunications industry’s leading System Integrator of disaggregated networks in North America.
The webinar was co-hosted by the National Content & Technology Cooperative (NCTC), which has over 700 member operators that span all 50 states. Cumulatively, the NCTC’s membership accounts for one-third of all U.S. households.
Together, representatives of these entities facilitated a discussion between organizational leaders from WoW! and IP Infusion centered around WoW! ‘s latest broadband aggregation initiatives and how IP Infusion’s dynamic operating system is changing the way that they deploy resources for clients. Here are the highlights:
About WoW and IP Infusion
WoW! is a tier 2 operator with over 25 years of experience as an internet service provider (ISP). The company serves consumers across Michigan, Illinois, and the southeast United States, with a commercial division that provides broadband services to businesses in the same regions. WoW! helps deliver broadband internet access to more than 1.9 million homes, with a total of over 550K customers. It operates across 15 markets and has repeatedly been named one of the best places to work.
IP Infusion, one of the tier 2 ISPs’ latest partners, has been building networking solutions for over 20 years.
IP Infusion got its start in the 90’s building networking source code for many top-tier OEM applications. In the last five years, IP Infusion has transitioned into the disaggregated broadband space, developing an operating system for white box hardware.
Its flagship product OcNOS, or Open Compute Network Operating System, has become a market leading application for disaggregated networking. WoW! has since viewed OcNOS as the ideal operating software for its broadband aggregation initiatives. This initiative led WoW! into a partnership with IP Infusion.
OcNOS Features and Capabilities
OcNOS is a carrier-grade network operating software with 2-layer switching and routing solutions.
IP Infusion delivers OcNOS in two ways.
- They provide clients bundles that include OcNOS and hardware
- Customers can purchase OcNOS as a standalone solution and source their hardware separately.
This dynamic is unique from other options, given its capability to run on many different white boxes. OcNOS can be used for a multitude of applications, including:
- Datacenter aggregations
- Broadband aggregation
- Scaling networks
- Supporting edge devices
What Fueled the Demand for White Box Solutions Like OcNOS?
Tier 1 providers like Amazon and Google have long utilized disaggregated broadband solutions like white box hardware and separate operating systems. However, tier 2 and tier 3 providers have also recently embraced the disaggregated approach due to several factors. These three main reasons include:
1. Pandemic-Related Supply Chain Disruptions
The single most significant driver fueling the adoption of disaggregated broadband solutions is the string of ongoing supply chain disruptions. While these disruptions are nowhere near as severe as they were at the initial height of the pandemic, sourcing hardware remains a challenging task for many providers.
However, transitioning to a disaggregated approach enables providers to source white box hardware wherever they can find it. Even if a provider has to use a mix of white boxes, they can still achieve network consistency by using a versatile OS such as OcNOS.
2. An Increase in Bandwidth Demand
Bandwidth demand has exploded throughout the pandemic, with internet usage and the demand for broadband infrastructure remaining at all-time highs. In fact, according to recent data, global internet bandwidth increased by 28% in 2022 alone.
Still, considering most providers rely on traditional solutions, they struggle to meet consumer demand. Disaggregated broadband solutions can help providers better meet this demand and provide reliable internet access to their consumers.
3. A Desire for Platform Symmetry
Providers have been consolidating and acquiring new networks by merging or buying out other providers. As part of these efforts, providers are striving to achieve platform symmetry, something that is virtually impossible when using aggregated hardware and software.
Disaggregated solutions, like white boxes and OcNOS, facilitate software symmetry across entire networks, an attribute that enables providers to acquire, consolidate, and scale networks much more efficiently than ever before.
An Interest in Supporting Multiple Initiatives with One Platform
OcNOS is unique in that it can support multiple initiatives, including facilitating broadband aggregation, delivering service to edge devices, and incorporating itself into cell networks. Multifaceted providers that offer both telecom and broadband solutions will benefit from adopting such a flexible operating system, capable of supporting all of their projects and services.
Why WoW! Chose IP Infusion and OcNOS
WoW! was keenly aware of the benefits of broadband disaggregation before partnering with IP Infusion. However, as they sought a potential disaggregation software provider, WoW! was immediately drawn to IP Infusion and OcNOS because the platform achieved the following:
Streamlined Staff Education
WoW! could streamline staff education and training processes by adopting a unified operating system. The provider could train staff through a single operating system, enabling them to deploy solutions on a multitude of different white box hardware.
OcNOS also appealed to WoW! because it promotes scalability and simplifies the implementation process. It can support projects and networks of various sizes and complexities. Additionally, when providers need to scale up a network, they can easily do so without worrying about hardware and software mismatches.
Kept Costs in Check
OcNOS’s versatility enabled WoW! to keep costs in check. This accountability is available when expanding existing networks or taking on new projects. During these processes, admins can compare the costs of various hardware solutions to choose options that offer the best value for a given initiative.
It is worth noting that OcNOS provided even further cost savings by enabling WoW! to avoid lengthy project delays– a common pain point due to ongoing supply chain issues.
Gave WoW! Hardware Freedom
WoW! is committed to using high-quality hardware for all its projects and initiatives. However, the company wanted to avoid being married to a particular brand or model when planning its new deployments. With OcNOS, WoW! now has the autonomy to choose whatever type of hardware solution or combination of equipment best suits the demands of its projects.
The Future of WoW! and IP Infusion’s Partnership
By partnering with IP Infusion, WoW! has immensely increased the scale of its services and taken on more subscribers. They can now provide reliable, high-speed internet to thousands of businesses and homes.
OcNOS has also enabled WoW! to accelerate the deployment of value-added services by eliminating traditional operational and integration hurdles. The duo will continue to work together to deliver fast, reliable, and affordable broadband services to nationwide users.
Other providers facing similar deployment challenges should consider adopting WoW! ‘s proven strategy and embracing broadband disaggregation.
Contact us today for more information on OcNOS.
Mani Subramanian is the Director of Marketing for IP Infusion.