MTN Group has become the first mobile operator in the world to deploy and test the open optical packet transport platform designed by Facebook, known as Voyager, after joining the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) earlier this year.
The TIP initiative, which was launched in February 2016, is a global endeavour which brings together key stakeholders in the telecoms and technology space to collaborate on the development of new technologies and find fresh approaches to build and deploy telecom network infrastructure. The project aims to reduce costs and increase the speed of rolling out internet connectivity.
MTN is part of the Open Optical Packet Transport project group, and worked closely with the TIP community to field-test the Voyager next generation technology in MTN data centres between 14th Avenue in Fairlands and Soccer City in Soweto, at the end of October. The test results showed the highest performance with zero packet (signal) loss and potential for significant overall cost savings.
“As MTN, we are excited about the possibility of bringing more than 19Tbps of connectivity to the community, using open optical networking technology. Open platforms move away from the vendors’ proprietary platforms which usually come at a huge cost. This means that the roll out of the Voyager platform will enable operators to install a network at a lower cost, which in turn, will result in cheaper connectivity for customers,” says Navi Naidoo, Group Network Technology Officer at MTN.
The results of the Voyager test have been presented at the TIP Summit, currently underway in California, USA, with next steps being to obtain the necessary approvals and explore commercial rollout of the platform.
“It’s great to see what we have been able to accomplish with TIP members since we launched in February. The Open Optical Packet Transport project group, where MTN has worked closely to field-test Voyager, is a critical part of advancing our goals,” says Hans-Juergen Schmidtke, Director of Engineering at Facebook. “Voyager’s tests show that open and collaborative approaches can help increase the speed of network innovation and implementation, and represent an important step in the development of an open system that will increase the efficiency of fibre networks.”
Naidoo reiterates Schmidtke’s sentiments, and says that through further collaboration with the TIP community, MTN hopes to help unlock innovation faster and enable greater efficiency, in line with the company’s vision to lead the delivery of a bold, new digital world to customers.