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Calix unveils AXOS for access network virtualisation

Broadband equipment vendor Calix has unveiled AXOS, or Access eXtensible Operating System, a Linux-based network operating system and software platform designed to bring software defined networking (SDN) to the access network.

AXOS allows for “software defined access”, where all software functions in the access network can be developed and run without relying on the underlying hardware and associated silicon chipsets. The benefits of this approach include accelerated time-to-revenue, elimination of service disruptions, and a reduction in operational complexity for service providers, Calix claims.

The AXOS platform comprises modular, reusable software components with the ability to run on technologically diverse hardware without modification. Within AXOS, containerised software components ride on top of a unique hardware abstraction layer that preserves software independence from the underlying hardware.

AXOS software components support virtualised operation of management and control functions, giving service providers maximum flexibility in network design and deployment models. In-service upgrade capabilities and built-in logic are designed to eliminate service disruptions, constrain and automatically recover from faults, and prevent side effects caused by new software functions or human error.

Use of open, standards-based, fully programmable management and control APIs reduces operational complexity, enable automated workflows, and provides compatibility with SDN-based operational support systems. All components and operational functions within AXOS use standard NETCONF protocol and YANG data models that enable AXOS powered systems to readily fit into any open SDN orchestration and control framework.

“For over a decade now, Calix has been in pursuit of a unified access infrastructure that would seamlessly connect the device-enabled subscriber to the applications and content in the cloud,” said Michel Langlois, senior vice president of systems products at Calix. “With AXOS, we now have a single software platform that places the communication service provider in the unique position to distribute services and intelligence across the entire access network with a distributed architecture. Thus, each service provider armed with the AXOS platform can choose between a wide spectrum of system form factors and merchant silicon capabilities, a key advantage and critical success factor in building service velocity and creating competitive advantage.”

Julie Kunstler, principal analyst at Ovum, emphasised the need for an evolution towards SDN in the access nework. “The same SDN and NFV concepts that are enabling improved economics, scale, velocity and agility in the data centre apply to the access network. Both environments seek to rapidly deliver new services, meet customer demand 24/7 and contain operational costs. The application of SDN and NFV in access requires the replacement of monolithic software architectures with virtualised, componentised, extensible and optimally distributed systems that support access networks from subscriber premises all the way to the access edge of the data centre. Major service providers have been upfront about their respective plans to pursue this direction. This evolution is becoming a key competitive advantage and AXOS supports this evolution,” she said.

AXOS was first demonstrated to Calix customers at its annual User Group Conference in Las Vegas. The software also part of the vendor’s demonstration at Broadband World Forum in London.

AXOS is also currently supported on the Calix E5-520, E5-308, and E5-306 MEF CE 2.0-certified systems. Calix plans to expand AXOS support to other E-Series systems in the future.


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