BT partners with Juniper on unified cloud network platform

The move will see BT manage its independent 5G, Wi-Fi and fixed line networks from one platform

Close-up image of the BT Tower in London

BT has partnered with Juniper Networks to support with the core infrastructure that will underpin the rollout of its upcoming unified cloud networking platform.

The platform will unify BT's networks including 5G, Wi-Fi and fixed-line into one virtualised service which will enable more efficient infrastructure management and deployment.

The new unified platform will supposedly allow BT to "create new and exciting converged services bringing mobile, Wi-Fi, and fixed network services together".

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The platform's infrastructure will be build to a common framework, allowing it to be shared across BT's offices nationally and globally.

The platform will be used by a range of BT's arms such as voice, mobile core, radio/access, ISP, TV and IT services and deploying the platform company-wide will cut costs and streamline operations.

"This move to a single cloud-driven network infrastructure will enable BT to offer a wider range of services, faster and more efficiently to customers in the UK and around the world," said Neil McRae, chief architect, BT. "We chose Juniper to be our trusted partner to underpin this Network Cloud infrastructure based on the ability to deliver a proven solution immediately, so we can hit the ground running."

"Being able to integrate seamlessly with other partners and solutions and aligning with our roadmap to an automated and programmable network is also important," he added.

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We're told that the project will facilitate the advent of new applications and workloads for the telecoms giant and evolve its existing ones including converged fixed and mobile services and faster time-to-market for internet access delivery.

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"By leveraging the 'beach-front property' it has in central offices around the globe, BT can optimise the business value that 5G's bandwidth and connectivity brings," said Bikash Koley, chief technology officer, Juniper Networks.

"The move to an integrated telco cloud platform brings always-on reliability, along with enhanced automation capabilities, to help improve business continuity and increase time-to-market while doing so in a cost-effective manner," he added.

BT has undergone a change in leadership this year and faces challenges in almost all areas of its business, according to its annual financial overview.

EE's business has been carrying the telco, it's the only arm of the company that is posting profits in an "unfavourable telecoms market". Its revenue slip for the year has been attributed to the decline in traditional landline calls with a seemingly unrelenting shift to voice over IP.

In order to capitalise on new business angles such as IoT, cloud and SD-WAN, BT admits greater investment is needed and this will most likely hinder its short-term revenue targets but it could be pay off in the long term.

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"Our aim is to deliver the best converged network and be the leader in fixed ultrafast and mobile 5G networks," said Jensen. "We are increasingly confident in the environment for investment in the UK."

EE launched its 5G network last week, becoming the first telecoms company in the UK to do so. It's available in six major cities and speeds of 1Gbps are promised "for some users".

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