IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

ADTRAN Completes Rollout of Mosaic Software-Defined Access Architecture

The company’s new SDX Series of programmable network elements is the final component of a platform designed to supply service providers with real-time configuration capabilities typically found in data centers. By Rich Freeman

Networking solutions and communication equipment maker ADTRAN Inc., of Huntsville, Ala., completed the rollout of its Mosaic software-defined access architecture on Tuesday with the release of programmable network components designed to help service providers accelerate the deployment of open, adaptable, and scalable virtual broadband networks.

Introduced in July, Mosaic includes three core pieces: A control and management layer called the Mosaic Cloud Platform, a modular operating system named Mosaic OS, and the SDX Series network elements introduced yesterday. That release completes a Mosaic rollout process ADTRAN has been executing in stages since August.

SDX Series components include:

  • High-density Passive Optical Network Optical Line Terminals (PON OLTs)
  • A Fiber-To-The-Distribution Point (FTTdp) connectivity, leveraging both copper and coax cabling
  • IP/Ethernet aggregation, fabric, and Carrier Ethernet 2.0 access switches and routers
  • Programmable customer devices, including residential gateways, Wi-Fi access points, and virtual customer premises equipment that together span the access network from cloud to subscriber edge

The “least sexy” part of Mosaic, according to Kurt Raaflaub, ADTRAN’s head of strategic solutions marketing, SDX Series elements are extremely important to the overall architecture just the same because they allow service providers to apply programmable real-time service configuration capabilities typically found in data centers to service access networks as well.

“It’s kind of where the rubber meets the road with the actual data plane,” Raaflaub says.

Mosaic’s target market is residential and commercial broadband operators, but it theoretically allows any service provider—including MSPs—to deliver automated business or connectivity services both efficiently and effectively.

“This really does change the game quite a bit in that any sort of service provider, managed or hosted, can really come with some innovative [solutions],” Raaflaub says.

Mosaic replaces onsite hardware, beyond a simple gateway device akin to a Roku or Amazon Fire digital media player, with flexible, cloud-based services that can be provisioned, scaled, and invoiced flexibly and remotely. That allows service providers of any size and type to realize scenarios not possible with legacy, hardware-based delivery architectures requiring hands-on management and on-site enablement.

“No one wants to have to have an individual sitting there turning things on and off on a daily basis,” Raaflaub observes, noting as well that the expense of performing truck rolls when provisioning new services is a big reason why service providers often demand one-year minimum subscriptions for new products.

“They just don’t want to touch you again for one year,” Raaflaub says.

Mosaic makes enabling, disabling, and charging for services flexible enough to support per-hour and per-day fee structures, Raaflaub continues. The automation it makes possible could allow service providers to offer free 30-day trial periods on new products, something nearly impossible to do cost-effectively for a customers at present.

“I can just go and put a timer on it and in 30 days I just take it away, unless he’s pushed to button to say I want it for the remainder of the year,” Raaflaub explains.

Though the launch of the SDX Series elements marks the completion of Mosaic, ADTRAN has ambitious ongoing plans to build an ecosystem of applications for the platform via third-party vendors that service providers can add to their product rosters. According to Raaflaub, Mosaic’s software-defined adaptability opens up a nearly endless range of possibilities for such offerings.

“The sky’s the limit here,” he says.