AWS plays the middleman between telco and the cloud

Mobile World Congress, Barcelona — Amazon Web Services (AWS) benefits from having more telcos running on a cloud-based architecture so the company is stepping up to remove some of the obstacles that are stopping or delaying operators from moving to a cloud-native network.

That’s the impetus behind Telco Network Builder, a managed service from AWS that is intended to help operators simplify their operations and accelerate the time to market for rolling out a cloud-based network architecture. Plus, AWS is making it a deal for operators to use the Telco Network Builder by requiring no upfront fees to use it. Instead, customers only pay for the AWS services used to manage their network.

Jan Hofmeyr, vice president of Amazon EC2 Edge, said that a service provider that uses Telco Network Builder can reduce the number of days to migrate to a cloud-native network architecture from 45 days or more to just “single digits.”

How does Telco Network Builder work? According to Hofmeyr, typically a telco network’s operational support systems and billing support systems (OSS/BSS) speaks to the network functions through an orchestration layer.

This is a time-consuming process, according to Hofmeyr, because operators have to deploy and interconnect hundreds of network functions and containerized network appliances such as routers and firewalls with different vendors in multiple locations. Then once those network functions are deployed, if they are updated or changed, the operator must update all those network functions individually, which takes time and uses a lot of resources. Plus, operators often have to purchase and maintain separate network monitoring tools to keep track of these different network functions so they can make sure they are performing as expected.

The middleman

Telco Network Builder acts as a middleman between the OSS/BSS and the network functions and exposes the application protocol interfaces (APIs) for the orchestration system. “We created a managed service that performs the automation of the pipeline and configures and handles the lifecycle management of these network functions,” Hofmeyr said.

But operators do not have to upgrade their BSS/OSS when they move to a cloud-based architecture for their network. “They (operators) can use the existing orchestration system and we speak telco language to those two layers,” he added.

Hofmeyr said that AWS designed Telco Network Builder to meet European Telecommunications Standards Institutes (ETSI) specifications so it works with other companies that meet the ETSI specs. He also said that AWS will support any new standards as they get defined.

Plus, Telco Network Builder also comes with dashboard so operators can monitor and manage their networks that are running on AWS. The dashboard works both on-prem and in AWS Regions.

Hofmeyr added that AWS believes that it’s the first to introduce a system like Telco Network Builder that works across multiple network functions. While many independent software vendors have their own automation system for their layer of functionality, he believes AWS is the first to “pull it all together.”

Telco Network Builder isn’t just for operators. Hofmeyr said that it can be used with private network too.

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