Andile Ngcaba urges embracing open source

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Andile Ngcaba serves as president of the FTTx Council Africa.
Andile Ngcaba serves as president of the FTTx Council Africa.

Given the growth of data and the Internet of things, insofar as data is concerned, the fibre industry must adopt open source architecture in terms of designing and building networks.

This is the sentiment shared by Andile Ngcaba, president of the FTTx Council Africa, at the annual Fibre Optic Conference that kicked-off at the Sandton Convention Centre yesterday.

Ngcaba was speaking about the future of the industry and how to be part of it, pointing out that modern businesses are being built on open source, while modern telcos are going to be built on open source.

He told delegates that those that have been in the industry for some time, know first-hand how the open source community changed the classic IT environment.

Looking at the history of development of standards, including standard-making bodies, they are from the International Telecommunication Union, IEEE, 3GPP and 5G-PPP, to name a few. There are now new kids on the block who are influencing the development of this industry, said Ngcaba.

“The open source community is coming into our industry. We need to welcome that, embrace this and make sure we move into using open source architecture in the way we design and build our networks, and in the way we build the future.

“We have no other choice,” he emphasised. 

Commenting on some of the recent open source activity, the FTTx Council Africa president said Microsoft acquired GitHub and IBM acquired Red Hat.

“These are some of the prominent open source deals we have seen in the market, from companies who before would not even consider the words ‘open source’ in their environment.”

He further stated that, under the leadership of FTTx Council Africa, there is a need to introduce the debate of open source in a way in which networks are designed and built.


Using data from various research companies, Ngcaba told the audience it can be determined that 5G will become one of the leading industries in the next five to 10 years. 

In his conference foreword, Ngcaba also touched on the 5G reality, saying after years of hype, the next-generation mobile technology is finally coming to fruition.

“Many cities in the world have already adopted 5G or are in the process of doing so, as is the case in South Korea which, in early April 2019, launched commercial 5G services. In mid-April, Japan’s government approved plans by four mobile network operators to build superfast fifth-generation wireless networks, with an investment set to total $14.4 billion over the next five years.”

Many other countries are set to follow and over the next months we will see more and more networks come alive across the globe, he noted.

“This next-generation network connectivity is set to reinvent every aspect of our lives, including the world of business. 5G promises to boost efficiency and unleash the potential of automation, but it will also enable us to explore developing technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality.

“5G is not just about faster phones; it is about to touch every part of our lives and re-invent the world like no other technology has ever done until now.”

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