PacketFront Software Strengthens its Sales, Delivery and R&D Organizations

In order to further support the growth of the company, PacketFront Software today announced a significant strengthening of its Sales, Delivery and R&D organizations at the headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden.

Christel Sandstedt recently joined PacketFront Software as Delivery and Professional Services Manager. Christel, who is a member of the management team, will be responsible for the company’s customer delivery projects as well as focusing on increasing Professional Services sales. She brings with her many years of experience from companies such as Stokab and the city carrier of Sundbyberg municipality.

Claes Lithagen recently joined PacketFront Software as Senior Sales Director and will be focusing on increasing the company’s software sales to its traditional customer base of city carriers and T1/T2 operators. Claes joins the company from IP Infusion, where he served as Global Account Director & Senior Sales Director EMEA, heading the EMEA organization.

Andreas Persson will be joining PacketFront Software on April 1st as Director R&D and Product Management and member of the management team. Most recently, he held the position as Manager Software Engineering at the optical network equipment vendor Infinera in Stockholm, Sweden. The company’s current Product Manager, Henrik Johansson, will from now on head up the company’s strategic initiative within SDN/NFV, which is an area that is becoming more and more important to the company.

“We are very happy to announce the recruitment of Christel, Claes and Andreas as well as Henrik Johansson’s new SDN/NFV-focused position. They bring with them a wealth of experience that will assist the company in achieving its future growth plans, and we wish them good luck in their new respective roles”, says Jan Kettnaker, CEO of PacketFront Software.

PacketFront Software enters data center market

PacketFront Software announced further development of the BECS network automation solution to include data center management.

Even if the spinning up of servers is today a highly automated process, the network infrastructure connecting servers is still mainly managed manually. BECS can now automate even this part of the process providing the staff operating data centers the capabilities to activate / deactivate services end-to-end in seconds instead of days and weeks.

“Entering the fast growing data center market is a strategic decision for us. We have high expectations that our investment in this sector will bear first fruits during 2017 helping us to further accelerate our already high growth.” says Jan Kettnaker, CEO of PacketFront Software.

PacketFront Software BECS chosen for Fibia’s network

Fibia P/S, the merger of NRGi and SEAS-NVE fiber operations, has decided to use PacketFront Software’s BECS OSS platform to manage the network.

BECS enables a harmonization of the management of the different technologies and vendors used in the network. This provides Fibia with tools to rationalize the operations and to streamline the service offering throughout the network.

Fibia’s FTTH deployment consists of approximately 160.000 ports using Point-to-Point and GPON technologies from companies such as Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent, Waystream, Genexis, Icotera and Tilgin. The project focus has been to migrate NRGi’s Alcatel-Lucent GPON and Cisco 4500 based network to BECS and utilize BECS ACS functionality to manage ONT’s and CPE’s via the TR-069 protocol.

“Fibia is leading the Danish FTTH market consolidation and is becoming a major player within this segment. We are pleased that Fibia decided to use BECS as a key tool in this consolidation”, says Jan Kettnaker, CEO PacketFront Software.

“SEAS-NVE has used BECS since 2006. When we faced the decision on how to take care of the Fibia network, BECS was an easy choice to make due to its excellent reliability and flexibility track record”, says Ole Højgaard Christensen, Technical Manager at Fibia.

PacketFront Software automates Accessbolaget’s MPLS network

Accessbolaget AB, a new Swedish nationwide wholesale access network provider, has selected PacketFront Software’s BECS and BBE systems to deliver an end-to-end network configuration and service activation solution for their Juniper and Adva based MPLS VPN network. The solution is delivered by NetNordic, PacketFront Software’s Nordic partner.

“Accessbolaget has brought something completely new and innovative to the Swedish telecom market, providing independent Carrier Ethernet capacity services in cooperation with the widespread city networks. It has previously been very difficult for operators to utilize these city networks efficiently due to lack of single interface and infrastructure, something that Accessbolaget has brought to the market. We are excited to be a part of this game changing event”, says Jan Kettnaker, CEO PacketFront Software.

“We selected the system after a thorough evaluation process. We chose BECS and BBE due to the purpose-build product, which gave us an off-the-shelf solution. At the same time the high scripting capabilities on top of the base product gave us a possibility to achieve a solution that is tailored for our specific requirements”, says Jan Werne, CEO at Accessbolaget.

Developer: PacketFront Software is recruiting

Title: Developer
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Job status: Full time, permanent

PacketFront Software is rapidly expanding in the Telco segment. We are making telecom operators more competitive with our solutions for end-to-end automation of network operations and service fulfilment. If you want to be part of a dynamic team building the new business, this could be your next challenge.

About PacketFront Software
PacketFront Software delivers automated multi-vendor network management since 2001 through its unique OSS system BECS. BECS provides zero touch configuration and automated service provisioning for any IP network hardware and topology and offers operators a seamless migration path from legacy networks to SDN and NFV. 100 operator customers in 23 countries have chosen BECS for efficient network operations.

At PacketFront Software, we know that the success of our company relies on our people who design, market, sell and support our automated solutions for broadband and data communication networks. As a member of the PacketFront Software Solutions team, you will enjoy working with highly committed colleagues in a fast-paced business environment. Individual as well as team contributions are highly valued and expected from you.

PacketFront Software’s employment decisions are based on the applicant’s experience, specialist skills and personality. Female applicants are encouraged. We have already gathered some of the very best system specialists, engineers, and sales people in our business. Do you want to become part of a dynamic and inspiring team?

Job Description
PacketFront Software brings the OSS and BSS applications BECS and BBE to new markets. To reinforce our growth we are now hiring a Developer to strengthen the R&D team. The position is a key role in the company to continuously improve PacketFront Software’s products in order to increase the value delivered to PacketFront Software’s customers. Based in the company offices in Stockholm, Sweden, the successful candidate will work in close cooperation with our R&D team in China as well as with sales and sales engineering team in Stockholm.

For this position, we require that you meet the following qualifications:

  • Approximately 10 years of programming experience, either from a similar professional role and/or from other activities (C, Shell, TCL, Perl)
  • Passion for solution design
  • Experience from agile development environments
  • Broadband/datacom topologies and technologies (e.g., Ethernet, PON, xDSL) and products
  • Application of systems integration frameworks and tools
  • Database knowledge
  • Structured work methodology and application of solid project management practices

Experience within the following areas is of additional merit:

  • Experience of OSS/BSS systems in the telecom/datacom industry, particularly service provisioning and management
  • Experience from Netconf and Yang protocols
  • Experience from systems integration
  • Experience from project management

Personal capabilities:

  • You are already a resident in Sweden
  • You are fluent in English, both spoken and in writing
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Quick learner with a structured approach and analytical skills.
  • You are creative, but also a Finisher delivering to commitments made
  • “Can Do” personality with a strong urge to close action points
  • Team player

Responsibilities:

  • Participate in the agile development of the OSS and BSS applications BECS and BBE as a member of the R&D team
  • Participate in feature definition and design activities
  • Manage own relations with partners
  • Independent management and execution of delivery projects
  • Creation and delivery of presentations, workshops, demos and proposal documentation, etc.
  • Execute customer lab and field tests, as well as customer pilots
  • Drive local technical market requirements within PacketFront Software

Please send your CV and an introduction letter to jobs@pfsw.com.
For more information about the position, call Henrik Johansson, +46 73 914 91 71

The dependency of one supplier…

Traditionally, operators have built the solutions needed to manage their networks themselves. Usually ad hoc and with focus on “solving the present problem” rather than fulfilling requirements for long term functionality or documentation, or considering future cost structure. The result is that the networks are not fully transparent and a dependency on a particular hardware provider is often created because of reluctance to bring in new vendors due to fear of negative consequences. A cumbersome approach that nevertheless has worked so far.

However, the maintenance of this hard-coded environment tends to be very time consuming and costly, as any changes in e.g. hardware, service portfolio or integration with other systems becomes more complex over time. System changes also become dependent on specific individuals meaning that operators become more vulnerable.

To change this way of working through harmonization and automation of the network via a third-party software, would be an effective solution. But, the realization of this has often failed due to two persistent myths:

Costs – On paper it looks more expensive for operators to take this step than to continue as before, as the costs for the already employed dedicated staff are rarely included in the calculation. Also the inefficiency of the current solutions affect many parts of the organizations and not only the teams responsible for the network management. These costs are usually not considered either.

Dependency – It is understandable that operators can see a potential problem in replacing one dependency (hardware) with another (software).

But myths aside, the arguments for network automation are several:

  • The value of harmonizing. In manually controlled environments, the knowledge of the network details decrease over time and is also usually distributed among several people and systems. The network harmonization allows you to abstract and simplify, enabling full control and overview of the network, including capacity and resources you have available.
  • Business development. By automating routine tasks the dedicated staff can be released for business development rather than working with pure maintenance. So the effect is two-fold: Cutting operational costs means releasing the innovative power of the organization.
  • Greater negotiating power. Network harmonization reduces the dependency of a particular hardware supplier. For an operator this means greater negotiating power in procurement. Also internal processes do not need to be based on a particular hardware type, but can easily be adjusted as the requirements change.
  • Simplified roles at the operator. In the hard-coded environment, product management is often a kind of a “hostage” in the organization. They are expected to solve what sales promised to customers, but are limited to what Network Operations can deliver, and even more so when the network is poorly documented. The time is ticking at all organizational levels.
  • Customer Service. How do you value good customer service and customer satisfaction? What is it worth to be able to promise customers delivery of new services in minutes instead of days? You could think that harmonization is contradictory to flexibility. This is however not a correct assumption. Instead it enables a fast and flexible environment for delivering new services.

 

So, with a third-party software, such as BECS, there will be structure, flexibility and capability to introduce new services faster. To take the steps needed in order to achieve these benefits may seem overwhelming, not least in terms of practical procedures, but also through the barriers in the organization as third-party software will manage tasks that technicians so magically have solved earlier. And, not least, to take the step may also be hampered by a sort of catch-22 thinking – “We do not have time to look in to this at the moment because of the existing workload”.

However, the long term effects are far greater than the temporary increase in workload. And you do not need to do everything at once. In short this means that it is better to begin the harmonization now, if only by taking small steps at a time. With a harmonization already in progress, the implementation of SDN will be a lot easier.

And finally, the issue of dependency: We dare to claim that a third-party software is easy to replace compared to a manually managed network due to the full harmonization and documentation available, allowing an easy move to a new tool if the need should arise in the future.

Discrepancy between the ideal and the real

Among the operators, there is a discussion about how to design networks in the future. The discussion stems from the fact that the rollout of new services is too sluggish and expensive. This is problematic at a time when the fight for customers is becoming increasingly sharp. There is a consensus among operators that network and service orchestration is necessary in order to reduce OPEX. However, there is some disagreement about the best way to get there. Automating bit by bit, how far and all at once or maybe “wait and see” until we have more knowledge?

The wait and see policy among many operators is not so difficult to understand. First and foremost a standardization work is progressing in ETSI. Secondly, operators are often busy trying to keep up with the manual work required in the networks today.

The standardization work of ETSI describes a logical future and implicate that much of the intelligence is transferred from distributed hardware to data centers. The new generation of hardware has limited functionality and will become highly standardized. This offers evident advantages as the cost of hardware is significantly reduced. At the same time, the concept provides increasing flexibility in capacity utilization. Operators can for example rapidly strengthen the capacity temporarily for mobile communication at a packed stadium without a need to have this capacity available all the time. However, to reach the goals that this future is describing will take time.

ETSI’s “rosy standardization image” implicate that telecommunications networks are virtualized in a similar manner as data centers are today. Simple hardware utilized by software that is more sophisticated. New features and services can therefore quickly be implemented via software.

The gap between today and the new future that ETSI is working on is wide and will take time to realize. Nevertheless, it will happen and the good news is – operators do not have to wait for this new future to materialize. It is possible to begin the network automation journey now without being locked in on a path that could later turn out to prevent the work ETSI is undertaking.

IT vendors are interested in supporting this new development, so the future is bright around NFV. The pragmatic way to proceed is to choose a solution (such as BECS by PacketFront Software) that structure and automates networks based on the conditions that apply today. It provides operators both full control of the network and a hardware-independent environment enabling many of the SDN and NFV benefits already now.

Whatever conclusions ETSI later draws, the solution is future-proof as it already follows the ETSI standardization structure and is flexible to cope with the required fine-tuning as the standardization matures.

However, friends of order might object and think, “Hey, wait a minute. Doesn’t that mean that you would be dependent on a software vendor instead of a hardware vendor”?

This is the question we will look at in the next post.