Here Comes Open Source Telecom

33 thoughts on “Here Comes Open Source Telecom”

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  3. We’d better call it ‘commercial-*grade*’ open source router. That would make more sense.

    Also, the routing world has a terrible dependence on the myraid of interfaces that are not always very common on intel based platforms (read ‘servers’) and this is where it makes all the difference. The enterprise market (not to mention the SP market) requires a myraid of interfaces for their connectivity requirements and this is where Cisco and Juniper guys shine. XORP based platforms, when worked upon by enthusiast and the FLOSS evengelist in the enterprise, will face problems for sure.

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  5. What would be interesting is to have an idea how consumers would benifit from this i.e. the $ impact on the final price of the product. So, in case of say VOIP, we know that the cost is less than half for unlimited calling compared with traditional lines.

  6. Ummm, does anyone remember the global firestorm last year when someone was supposed to be releasing part of Cisco’s IOS into the public for general distribution? Everyone went bonkers….now we are expected to believe that someone will run their enterprise network on code that any script kiddie can get their hands on for FREE!?!?! yeah, whatever….

  7. We are in an age where openness will find it’s way into every major closed business model that exists today. And as a result, if hardware that is neccessary is cheap enough to do the job, then software will come along that will allow that solution to be done cheaper more easily.
    It’s the productivity jump that big companies enjoyed after the bubble, and now its trickling down to startups and individuals.

  8. This is an EXCELLENT post. I definitely see the huge implications of Vyatta’s XORP — especially for developing countries like Kenya, where I’m currently avoiding the Canadian winter. 🙂
    Keep up the great writing Om.

  9. OK, maybe that is not applicable, but this could be the beginning of not needing to depend on large telecoms for basic service in the future? If I am way off, please delete my comments. Otherwise, am I correct?

  10. This is a lot of hype. Software and hardware are not the “secret arsenal” of telcos and open source versions don’t make it much easier to compete. Internetworking is complex, and the skill of telcos in managing, designing, and building infrastructure is what makes them successful.

    We run many, many racks of equipment using an Open Source router called Linux. It’s been possible for years. While it’s true that XORP is a valuable addition, I definitely see the the scarce commodity is network architecture knowledge.

    Cisco equipment is valuable only in the hands of qualified network personnel. If you don’t have those, it doesn’t matter what kind of equipment you have. Plus, if Open Source routers can compete with Cisco equipment in terms of quality and value, then telcos can simply replace their Ciscos and eliminate any competitive advantage anybody else has.

    Throw a heap of great equipment at a group of technical know-it-alls and tell them to set up a telco data centre. Unless they’ve done it before, and have the rare qualifications necessary to do it right, all you’re going to have in the end is a heap of useless great equipment.

    It’s true, Cisco equipment is overpriced. Packaged router solutions (similar to what Smoothwall has done for firewalls) certainly will simplify life. We run racks of servers now using Linux systems as routers, have done it for years, and it works great. The scarce resource we always need to find is qualified people.

    Open Source routers just aren’t revolutionary at all. It’s just a incremental step forward in expanding the scope of open source applications.

  11. Gary, technically you are absolute correct. But I believe what counts here is the message itself. Tech people know very well what you were talking about. But the business people currently haven this open source thing on their RADAR and for them this message matters. To what this might lead is another question though…

  12. I believe this is not a big deal. While other high quality open-source routing softwares are in existence (e.g. Zebra and Quagga), Vyatta is nothing but a short term hype.
    The main problem in networking is hardware. The ideal open source router should come with opensource drivers for high-speed serial interfaces and such sort of things which are only available on commercial hardware like Cisco and Juniper.
    Folks, Vyatta is not going to bring Cisco or Juniper to their knees. They have the hardware.

  13. babak,

    vyatta is a hardware/software solution. – the software component is where open source kicks in.

    Sure, some of the other projects have been in existence but none has been able to get much traction.

  14. Om — It’s more radical than that. Today you can download a free VMware Server preconfigured with Asterisk and immediately start running in virtual mode in your Windows or Linux Server. Thus, a powerful, completely free, preinstalled PBX is ready to implement in a flash. You can get the image at VMware’s site. It’s almost shocking.

  15. This is nothing new. People have been building routers with GATED
    and Unix on cheap intel hardware for more than 10 years.

    This is at least the second company attempting to commercialize
    open source routing code running on Linux or *BSD. None, so far has been a resounding success.

    The Cisco routers this product would compete with aren’t that expensive – $1000 – $2000. Just about the same price as a generic server + Vyatta software.

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