Last updated on December 9th, 2020 at 11:03 am
Facebook have teamed up with telecoms giants Intel, Nokia, EE, Nexius and plenty more to bring a faster and more connected network to users around the world in the form of the Telecom Infra Project (TIP).
Based on The Open Compute Project, a Facebook model used previously for its data centre, the team of telecoms heavyweights want to create an open source platform designed to bring 5G to all with telecommunication utilising cloud technology.
“Every day, more people and devices around the world are coming online, and it’s becoming easier to share data-intensive experiences like video and virtual reality” – Jay Parikh, Facebook’s global head of engineering.
This new network, using cloud technology, comes at a time where telecoms providers are under pressure to provide a more high quality service for paying customers. When the majority of users can send data for free using cloud based services such as WhatsApp or Messenger (both owned by Facebook) why would they opt to pay their phone network per SMS they send?
Traditional telecoms networks are complex and often combine a collection of equipment that is difficult to transfer over to the cloud in order to upgrade to a more flexible and effective service. Facebook plans for their TIP network to be simple from the offset with software co-created by Intel, SK Telecom, Deutsche Telekom and other companies at the top of the food chain. The network, once in full swing, will lower costs not only via software but because of the new hardware replacing the current expensive equipment with more cost effective and efficient models.
“We believe that the exponential growth of internet traffic requires new approaches, also on networking equipment like routers and switches. The Open Compute Project has proven that open specifications for hardware, combined with an active community, can have a drastic impact on efficiency and cost – TIP will trigger the same for all areas of the network ” – Axel Clauberg, Deutsche Telekom.
As the UK is still reeling over Ofcom’s decision to leave BT in charge of Openreach, Facebook are additionally planning to work with EE to pilot 4G coverage as a solution to the slow broadband experienced by rural areas.
The TIP network will be completely open source meaning that any wireless network carrier will be able to utilise it; this alone will help to vastly improve the global wireless network that most of us use in our daily lives. The first pilot version of TIP has officially launched in the Philippines with more tests to be carried out throughout this year.
This entirely new network has the potential to change the face of global telecommunications however it will require a lot of work from the already established brands if they wish to jump on the bandwagon. Facebook already heavily dominate the new wave of cloud based communication and with so many companies already on board (Nokia, EE etc) it may be time for the other telecommunications companies to start thinking about the future too.