With the increasing growth of data and the Internet of Things (IoT), there is a need to review the potential use of open-source architecture in the design and building of fibre networks, says FTTX Council president Andile Ngcaba.
The open-source community has “changed the classic information technology” environment: modern businesses are being built on open source, while modern telcos are going to be built on open source.
For the industry to grow, and enter the Zetabytes-of-data era, there is a need to consider how open source is leveraged moving forward.
“The open-source community is coming into our industry, and we need to welcome that. We need to embrace this. We need to make sure that we [start] using open-source architecture in the way we design our networks, in the way we build our networks and in the way we build the future,” he says.
There will be “no choice”, he warns, given the growth of data and the IoT.
Citing the history of industry standards, he notes that the new “kids on the block”, the open-source community, are now influencing and driving the development of this industry.
Further, there are increasingly prominent open-source deals and activity in the market, from companies that, previously, would not have considered open-source activity.
He cites the acquisition of Github by Microsoft and the acquisition of Red Hat by IBM.
“Everybody is involved in this, everybody is involved in looking at fifth-generation (5G), [and] all these organisations are building the open stack that will be used for 5G to plug into the environment.”
Deepening Africa’s open-source ecosystem will require a proactive approach and the establishment of a private–public partnership.
“I have put together an open-source forum for Africa, whereby, as an industry, we will be able to drive this, and [determine] how we can immerse ourselves in understanding what open source is,” he says.