The GLF Tomorrow’s Telco framework explains how going forward networks will need to ensure high capacity, low latency, secure, trusted and on-demand connectivity between geographically agnostic endpoints. Increasingly, these end-points of the network will not be hand-held consumer devices but rather machines – after significant anticipation, the internet of things will finally scale.
At the highest level, Internet of Things (“IoT”) use-cases can be segmented into two categories – massive IoT and critical IoT:
- Massive IoT – high volume end-point networks connecting sensors for low cost, low energy, low data consumption use-cases such as asset tracking or smart agriculture
- Critical IoT – ultra-reliable, low latency, high availability and high data consumption use-cases where continuous consistent quality of connectivity is critical to deliver the service. Use-cases include remote healthcare and autonomous vehicles
In both cases, where use-cases require connectivity that spans across more than one network provider, it is critical that service can be guaranteed at a level relevant to the use-case – delivering a Massive IoT use-case has very different requirements to a Critical IoT use-case. At present, there is no consistent approach between international carriers to standardise SLAs for international IoT traffic and therefore offer to customers a guaranteed quality of service. The lack of this consistent industry approach inhibits commercial innovation and can create a dampening effect on the proliferation of IoT services.
Code of Conduct for direct peering of critical, international IoT traffic
On the 4th March 2021, the GLF announced the publication of a Code of Conduct for direct peering of critical, international IoT traffic. The purpose of the Code is to define a framework among global carriers providing IPX-based traffic, in order to ensure quality of service for critical IoT applications.
The launch signatories of the Code are A1, China Telecom, China Unicom, Colt, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, PCCW Global, Sparkle, and Vodafone Business, and the GLF welcomes every IPX carrier to commit to international direct peering for critical IoT traffic by signing the Code and joining the initiative through the GLF or GLF Community.
Rolf Nafziger, SVP for Deutsche Telekom Global Carrier, led the GLF working group. He said: “More and more IoT applications rely on massive amounts of data being delivered anywhere on the globe in real time. This cannot be achieved by a single carrier. Carriers need to collaborate to ensure a global end-to-end view on parameters like latency, jitter or availability. This initiative is therefore a very important step toward giving the enterprise customers of participating carriers the global quality of service that their IoT applications need.”
Jussi Makela, then Director of the GLF, said: “The launch of this Code of Conduct is a first step in facilitating global coverage for critical IoT applications with assured quality of service. The GLF focuses on advancing not only technical but also commercial interoperability across the communication sector that is critical for all types of digital services to be offered across the world, and I’m excited to see how this initiative will further accelerate the emergence of new types of IoT use cases.”
The Code of Conduct, developed by a GLF working group, was established to address the current lack of technical and commercial frameworks and standards regarding the separation of different types of IoT traffic by quality of service when crossing international borders and networks. This limits the ability of enterprises to offer certain types of IoT applications internationally, such as autonomous vehicles that have specific limits on latency, which is necessary to ensure that they can maintain real-time communication with one another. Other IoT use-cases with similar high-quality connectivity requirements include healthcare, industrial, and gaming applications that call for low latency and jitter or high availability. Ability to assure the quality of service with local peering and local breakout will additionally further opportunities awarded by 5G and Edge Cloud services by enabling ultra-low latency services internationally.
Following 18 months of collaborative work, the GLF working group concluded that direct and geographically-distributed peering between IPX carriers will enable a separation of IoT traffic and provide assurance of quality which will satisfy the requirements of current and future IoT applications. The Code aims to create a framework in the following areas:
- Ensure global coverage for critical IoT applications
- Foster sharing of performance data and peering locations to improve service
- Enable and promote guaranteed end-to-end QoS and SLAs for critical IoT
- Facilitate localisation of data where use cases and/or local regulations require it
Working Group Lead
Dr. Rolf Nafziger
Critical IoT Proof of Concept
Operationally, by separating IoT traffic from non-IoT traffic, it is believed that the network quality for IoT traffic will increase. This is because under a separated model IoT traffic could benefit from optimised routing which keeps traffic within its region leading to shorter delay, less points of failure and ultimately an improved customer experience.
Additionally, by developing an industry standard approach to international critical IoT traffic management the cost of delivering connectivity will reduce as carriers will not need to create bespoke agreements for each deal that they do.
It was agreed at the Board meeting held in May 2022 to deliver a PoC to demonstrate the technical viability & commercial potential of Critical IoT Traffic separation.
Four carriers are actively working on the proof of concept.