Alcatel-Lucent offers open network APIs

Kate Gerwig
09 Dec 2009

Alcatel-Lucent has joined the growing list of telecom equipment vendors rolling out service layer architecture solutions designed to help carriers and applications developers make better -- and more lucrative -- use of IP network infrastructure capabilities by tying services more closely into the network itself.

The vast majority of wireless and wireline carriers want to expose some network capabilities to third parties and need more help from vendors, according to a new CIMI Corp. operator survey, in order to ensure the security of the application and the stability of the network. Solutions that help them do that will be a major vendor focus in the next 12 months.

As revenue-per-bit continues to drop and IP network investment remains high, telecom service providers are looking for ways to create new and innovative services quickly in order to compete with over-the-top (OTT) players like Google and avoid "transport only" status. The goal is to increase revenue by mashing up carrier network capabilities like location, presence and billing with a wide variety of third-party applications that can be delivered to customers across many service provider networks.

Two of Alcatel-Lucent's main competitors in the service layer architecture race -- Juniper Networks and Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) -- have also announced solutions. Juniper's Junos Space uses a partner-developer strategy and has introduced a programmable chipset that enables fast network programming, while NSN relies on vast professional services capabilities to build individual service layer solutions rather than announcing tools for provider and app developer use.

Alcatel-Lucent's solution appears to fall in between the other two vendors by combining tools and cloud services and bundling professional services. Cisco is notably lacking a service layer architecture strategy.

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