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19 August 2019

ONAP gains its first satellite implementation at SES

By becoming the world’s first satellite fleet operator to embrace ONAP (Open Network Automation Protocol), SES has reaffirmed its growing commitment to mobile connectivity as the company seeks to offset its waning video business.

Naturally, SES doesn’t want anyone to interpret the move in such a way, yet the initiative could prove crucial in delivering next generation video around the globe as service providers migrate to virtualized network functions.

SES has teamed with Amdocs to develop a standards-based network automation platform built on the open source initiative ONAP, driven by AT&T and now hosted by the Linux Foundation. This marks the start of an ambitious cloud virtualization project, setting the bar for the satellite community. Amdocs helped AT&T with its own implementation of ONAP and is building a business integrating the technology for others. It says its systems, and hosting ONAP on Microsoft Azure cloud infrastructure, will allow SES to extend network functions rapidly and at scale.

Amdocs has been a key developer of ONAP, along with Radisys (now owned by Reliance Jio) and Tech Mahindra, all now developing NFV integration services. We have also seen US network equipment vendor Adtran working alongside open source projects for virtualized networks to accelerate the path to software-defined access networks, including ONAP’s MANO platform, as well as ON.Labs’ ONOS (Open Network OS) SDN controller, VOLTHA (Virtual Optical Line Terminal Hardware Abstraction) and Open Daylight. While all slightly different, the general idea here is to save operators a bunch of integration work.

SD-Access enables the centralization of elements in a network such as high level analytics – enabling operators to easily launch OTT services with less expense and complexity. SD-Access makes this transition easier as operators no longer need vendor-specific platforms and can bring in a self-service activation model to differentiate from the pure-play providers, in addition to making significant truck roll and call center savings.

SES also came out with second quarter results a fortnight ago, showing first half 2019 revenue down 4.2% to €950.6m, for which the video segment declined 8.8% to €603.8m, while the networks division increased 5% to €346.8m.

“While the market environment in video remains challenging, we’ve delivered value to customers across our core neighborhoods and are starting to see benefits of bringing together our infrastructure and MX1 businesses into a single operational unit,” said a statement from SES’ first half results report.