Network coverage is hands-down the top consideration for businesses when choosing which communication service providers (CSPs) to sign on with. But delivering ubiquitous coverage is no easy feat, and can quickly become an incredibly costly undertaking for a single operator.
As a result, CSPs need to collaborate with each other to provide the connectivity and coverage required by their business service customers. These partnerships allow CSPs to expand their coverage area without forcing them to invest in expensive new physical infrastructure. However, establishing these partnerships is complex, time-consuming and frequently bespoke. The varied internal processes and protocols among CSPs for delivering connectivity and on-boarding partners as well as the post-partnership operational tasks such as serviceability queries and quoting, represent the root cause of the complexity of delivering multi-operator services.
Enter the application programming interface (API), which, in the context of increasingly virtualized network environments, act as the bridge between software components, enabling the well sought after automation in next generation digital networks. As we discussed in our recent blog on the topic, APIs help enable the concepts of software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) — and as a result have become a frequently discussed term in the telco space at the moment.
While APIs and the automation they enable are a boon for creating more agile and effective networks internally, APIs can also help streamline the efforts to onboard and fulfill network services across partner networks, thereby expanding a CSP's coverage area. Embracing common information models and protocols — like MEF's LSO and API reference point work, for instance — to communicate requirements, capabilities and provision access between partnering providers creates an agile and responsive network service for the business service customer, ensuring not only the expanded coverage required but doing so in a timely and potentially fully automated fashion. What's more, it presents an opportunity to remove any fine print regarding locations or service level restrictions.
Embracing APIs that clearly and seamlessly allow CSPs to leverage each other's coverage areas delivers the vision of a single wide-reaching network to all end users. This ubiquity allows CSPs to match the reach of the public Internet with the assuredness of enterprise class business services.
Along with discussing the value of APIs in the context of coverage and network performance in our previous post on the topic, we'll also be discussing the unique revenue opportunities for CSPs that APIs allow for in our last blog post of this series — stay tuned!
Be sure to view our webinar where we discuss this topic at length — “The ABCs of APIs” — to hear more from experts in the field of NFV and SDN.