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Facebook contributes telecom designs, plans to Telecom Infra Project, adds partners

Facebook created working groups and open sourced technologies and architecture to boost its efforts to revamp how telecom networks are built. Equinix is trialing Facebook's Voyager transponder.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Facebook contributed a series of open source technologies for its Telecom Infra Project as well as expanded its partner base to include the likes of Accenture, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Canonical.

The company launched its efforts to improve the behind-the-scenes technologies in broadband networks in February. Taking a page from its Open Compute Project, Facebook plans to outline technologies, leverage the open source community and partner heavily to influence infrastructure and network design.

Should Facebook succeed it will put more open source tools in telecom networks to better support scale, broadband in remote regions and applications such as virtual reality. Providers will get more open architectures and hardware designs that combine routers, switches and compute.

On the partner front, the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) added members including Bell Canada, du (EITC), NBN, Telia, Telstra as well as 300 other members.

As for the technologies and architecture, Facebook contributed the following to TIP:

  • Voyager, a networking white box transponder and routing tool for Open Packet DWDM networks. Equinix, a leading data center hosting company and private cloud player, has tested Voyager. Equinix said it is testing the Voyager switches inside two of its International Business Exchange (IBX) data centers in Silicon Valley. Here's a look:
  • Designs for the Open Optical Packet Transport project, which will be tested along with partners. This technology is at the core of Voyager hardware and transponders.
  • Disaggregated hardware and software optical networking platforms via a platform created by Facebook, Acacia Communications, Broadcom, Celestica, Lumentum and Snaproute.
  • OpenCellular, a wireless architecture including schematics, layout, design files, specs and protocols. OpenCellular is designed to bring connectivity to remote areas and operators are testing 2G units.

To use these technologies, Facebook is also launching a community Acceleration Center in Seoul with SK Telecom. The idea is to deploy the technologies in an established telecom.

In a blog post, Jay Parikh, Facebook's head of engineering and infrastructure, said the company has put a People and Process Group within TIP to better educate and outline how the new telecom technologies can work. A series of whitepapers covers everything from collaboration to culture to deployment.

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