A driver for automation

Earlier this month, our VP of Sales Timo Kuusela, was interviewed by Comms Dealer about how PacketFront Software is successfully orchestrating and automating the UK’s ‘manual’ networks and processes.

Read part of the article here:

PacketFront Software was established in 2011 as a spin-off from PacketFront Solutions which sold both hardware and software products. The idea was to create two independent companies to give the software side a better opportunity as a multi-vendor solution. “We found that having our own hardware made it difficult to cooperate with other hardware vendors so forced the separation to focus on the core business – software,” said Kuusela. “The objective was, and is, to offer network orchestration and CRM solutions to altnets.”

The first major task was to build an independent software business within the altnet market space and prove that it could work with other hardware, while maintaining its existing customer base. “The second was broadening our portfolio to support carriers,” noted Kuusela. “Services in the residential altnet market are quite straightforward – you’re selling Internet. In the carrier space services are much more complex. The third milestone was attracting Tier1 and Tier2 carriers as customers. Many of the bigger carriers still do a lot of manual work. So we want to show how they can avoid tasks like CLI typing and focus on system architecture to give better services.”

For altnet customers, PacketFront Software provides more complete solutions including self-service portals for end customers, CRM systems and network orchestration. Those components create an end-to-end solution that delivers automated workflows for customer and service management. “When it comes to carriers we mainly focus on network orchestration,” commented Kuusela. “Our BECS solution provides auto provisioning from customer devices all the way to their core network. By integrating BECS with CRM systems, operators can create workflows that, for example, allow for zero-touch network build out and automated service provisioning.”

PacketFront Software’s main focus is Europe with the Nordics its primary market. “Now the UK and Germany are great markets for us to expand into,” stated Kuusela. “We have a market presence in both but there’s a lot of potential as they are large markets behind the Nordics in their FTTP roll out.

“In the UK we also see a trend towards open access. Altnets are interested in opening up their networks to other service providers. This has been the dominant model in the Nordics, and PacketFront has been the pioneer supporting that business model from the very start, which we now want to utilise in UK markets.”

The automation challenge

The main challenge Kuusela faces is the slowness of transformation. “We hear so many customers say ‘we need automation’ but never actually get started with it,” he said. “In the past, when we researched altnet and carrier markets and asked if they need automation and network orchestration there was resistance on both fronts. While both were interested on a theoretical level, operators were hesitant to change their existing working methods. But network orchestration has become mainstream which means we now don’t have to drive those motivations.

Another challenge faced by the company has been how fast it can scale while accounting for the diversity of how operators build their networks, and the number of software and hardware vendors it needs to integrate. “Every new customer has meant creating a unique environment,” added Kuusela. “However, we have proven over and over again that we get our solution to work in any environment.

Kuusela’s primary growth strategy is to work with more system integrators and technology partners that complement PacketFront Software’s portfolio. He is also looking for new technology partners to expand the firm’s ecosystem. “This will help customers and system integrators as we can show how systems work together and the combined benefits,” he added.

“Customers need flexibility – from a commercial and technology point of view – to select the best of breed software and hardware and we provide that. We have workshops with our customers to identify their pain points and low hanging fruit, where we can provide the fastest benefits. Then we help with implementation. All our customers’ networks are different and we adapt our solutions to work in the existing network environment which is also where we support operators when they need us.”

Final thoughts

“Everybody is looking at investing in network automation in some way or other because they can see the benefits it brings. For those dragging their heels, my advice would be to ride the wave soon or expect tougher times moving forward, because you won’t be as competitive in a couple of years.”

You can read the full version of this article on comms dealer. [link]

Join us in welcoming Jonas to PacketFront!

Jonas Ohlsson has been appointed as new CTO of PacketFront Software. Jonas has 20 years of industry experience after working at companies, such as Nokia, Tieto and NetInsight. Besides his technical expertise, he has extensive management experience, which will be valuable in his role as head of R&D and the support teams.
“I’m really happy to get Jonas onboard. His deep knowledge of the technology and IT market in general is a boost for the whole company and an important cornerstone in our expansion strategy” says Christel Sandstedt, interim CEO of PacketFront Software.

Virtual1 acquires PacketFront the network orchestration software company

 Leading UK Connectivity and Cloud provider Virtual1 is delighted to announce the acquisition of PacketFront Software, providers of network orchestration solutions for complex multi-vendor residential, enterprise and MPLS networks.

Founded in 2001, the Swedish based software house delivers efficient network automation solutions for telecom operators, city carriers and enterprises in more than 20 countries, including Virtual1.

Virtual1 founder and CEO Tom O’Hagan: “Virtual1 have worked closely with PacketFront for a number of years, and they have been a key partner in the creation of our market leading Software Defined carrier network (SDN) strategy. Acquiring PacketFront helps to secure the intellectual property that we have heavily invested in, as well as recognising how critical orchestration software is to the future of both Virtual1 and the wider industry.”

O’Hagan continued “Whilst PacketFront will join the Virtual1 group of companies, it will continue to operate as an entirely stand-alone organisation from Virtual1. It will maintain its own distinct brand, customer base and senior leadership team. This acquisition will give the team at PacketFront the financial investment to more rapidly open up new markets within the UK and internationally.”

Timo Kuusela, VP of Sales at PacketFront Software echoed these sentiments: “We are very excited about being part of the Virtual1 family and now expanding our business into the UK market as well as other territories. Having helped FTTP providers get to market quickly and operate efficiently across the Nordics, we see a very exciting opportunity with the new wave of FTTP suppliers emerging in the UK.“

About Virtual1

Virtual1 Empower businesses with a network built for the future. They operate the UK’s largest wholesale-only network, built for simplicity and success with high capacity, low latency, and advanced software architecture. Privately connected to market leading UC, SIP, and Cloud solutions, our users enjoy top-notch security and guaranteed levels of performance.

By combining state-of-the-art technology and a team of the industry’s best, we provide businesses with customisable, automated, streamlined connectivity. And our award-winning 1Portal puts control of it all in our partners’ hands, so they can quote, order, and manage their customers’ solutions with ease.

About PacketFront

“Since 2001, PacketFront Software has delivered efficient automation solutions for telecom operators, city carriers and enterprises in more than 20 countries. Their multi-vendor network orchestrator, BECS, provides true end-to-end network automation – enabling functionality such as zero touch configuration and automated service provisioning for all IP networks. It also offers a seamless migration from legacy networks to SDN and NFV.”

BECS 3.18 is released

The latest BECS release is now available for existing customers at www.pfsw.com/support.

@focus in this release is usability and performance. The main features include:

On-demand initial parsing

  • Adding flexibility regarding when in time the initial parsing exercise is carried out after an element manager connects to the element

Dedicated GDR connections

  • Some connections between the Element Manager and the element will be dedicated to fetching troubleshooting info, so that this info can be obtained quicker if the element manager is busy configuring the element.

Visualize Element Config Mode

  • The element configuration mode, i.e. read-only, full-control etc, is illustrated by a badge on the element icon in the topology view making it easier to determine which elements are currently controlled by BECS.

Improved Element State Display

  • Specific indication in the BECS GUI that an element is in the state of initial parsing.

Stateful Logging

•Introducing object states, which makes it easier to get an overview of the system health. For example, it is easy to see which objects are currently in an erroneous state, and which ones have been recently resolved.

BBE 2.5.0 is released

The latest BBE release is now available for existing customers at www.pfsw.com/support.

Major changes in the release:

  • Java application uses WildFly instead of GlassFish
  • Improvements to inventory and subscription management
  • Improvements to trouble shooting of GPON customers
  • Improvements to report management

Gamma Telecom Selects PacketFront’s BECS Network Orchestrator

PacketFront Software, a leading network orchestration solution provider, announced today that Gamma Communications PLC (LSE:GAMA), a leading UK communications provider, has selected PacketFront Software’s BECS network orchestrator to automate Gamma’s multi-vendor connectivity network.

“We are known in the market for the quality and reliability of the services we provide. We came to see during the evaluation of the BECS platform that it provides us with automation tools that serve our customer needs with great speed and precision” says Tony McKenzie, Head of Architecture Gamma.

“We are proud that Gamma have selected BECS after a thorough technical evaluation. This demonstrates once again, the unique values we can bring to operators wanting to streamline operations.

This agreement also demonstrates that the UK is becoming one of our key markets and we predict continuous growth in the UK marketplace, not only in the segment of communications operators, such as Gamma, but also within a very dynamic FTTH space”, says Jan Kettnaker, CEO PacketFront Software.

Meet us at FTTH Conference 2020 in Berlin

It’s soon time for the yearly FTTH Council event again. Meet us 21-23 of April in Berlin and discover the latest news about PacketFront network automation.

Find more information about the event at: http://www.ftthconference.eu/

PacketFront becomes a member of the Intel Network Builders Winner’s Circle

PacketFront Software has been awarded a partnership in Intel’s Network Builders Winners’ Circle program with the following motivation:

“As a member of the Intel Network Builders ecosystem, PacketFront Software has contributed to the acceleration of network transformation by working closely with Intel and our ecosystem and we recognize your contributions by awarding PacketFront Software in our Winners’ Circle Program as a Partner”

The award was presented at the SDN NFV World Congress 2019 event in the Hague, the Netherlands.

More information about the Network Builders ecosystem:

https://networkbuilders.intel.com/

Intel’s PacketFront introduction:

https://networkbuilders.intel.com/ecosystem/packetfront-software

 

BBE 2.4.0 and BECS 3.17 Released

Latest BBE and BECS releases are now available for existing customers at www.pfsw.com/support. Highlights of the releases include following features:

BBE 2.4.0 Release

  • Support for ON-API 2.4
  • Support for OpenJDK

BECS 3.17

  •  Automatic CLOB creation – BECS users can synchronize configuration from network elements, which helps in automation of manually created configuration
  • Python support – A new script engine supporting Python as a complement to the Tcl script engine

  

PacketFront Software Joined State Visit In Ireland

His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia did a State Visit to Ireland on 22–24 May 2019 at the invitation of President Michael D. Higgins. The Government was represented by Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström, Minister for Energy and Digital Development Anders Ygeman, and Maja Fjaestad, State Secretary to Minister for Health and Social Affairs Lena Hallengren.

PacketFront Software participated in an associated business delegation arranged by Business Sweden.

A Digital Infrastructure summit 2019 was arranged in conjunction with the State Visit at Ericsson´s R&D site in Athlone, where among other PacketFront Software’s BECS and BBE products were highlighted in the context of how City Carriers have successfully contributed to the fiber rollout in Sweden.