A Decentralised Era For Telecoms

Maria Lema

18 February 2020

This is a guest post by Maria Lema, the co-founder of Weaver Labs, a tech start-up building a Blockchain platform for the Telecommunications industry.

Connectivity is what allows us to exchange information real-time across the globe thanks to the existing infrastructure we call the Internet. Us as individuals and all our businesses rely on connectivity for the majority of our daily activities, we do everything online and it has become a utility: it's an essential tool to create, develop and grow. With 5G being deployed, the telecoms sector must focus on innovation in the business models and supply chain dynamics to deliver the networks of the future. 

Innovation: long time no see

Technological development in the communications sector hasn't stopped since the creation of the telegraph, and we have learned to communicate faster and more efficiently across the Internet thanks to the creation of communications systems, standards, protocols and infrastructure such as fiber, antennas, switches and gateways. 

Although we have changed the way we interact with the Internet and online applications, we haven't changed much the way we deliver connectivity. Most will agree that, while we have undergone (and are probably still undergoing) a data and communications revolution, networks haven't yet adapted to this new way of online interactions. We have adopted the smartphone and we have seen technologies grow from 2G to 4G, but the traditional supply chain and investment models in telecoms have achieved the tipping point. We need a transformation, one that is able to support and deliver the spectacular developments in emerging technologies: AI, Big Data, Robotics, Autonomous Vehicles, and more.

The Network Revolution

5G is the new generation of mobile networks and is purely software-based, so more than just another generation, it is an opportunity to innovate in the way we deliver connectivity with an infrastructure that supports the future cities and the explosion of data. 

Following this transformation, networks are becoming a commodity: open source based and with a growing diversity in the equipment sector - in other words: competitive. This competitiveness is motivating new players to deploy and own network infrastructure: factories, hospitals and even whole cities are investing in infrastructure with a variety of applications in mind that require high bandwidth and support for a massive number of devices.

However, there are still challenges to realising the dream of open and diverse networks: convergence and integration is still something not fully solved. Despite being built around existing standards like the Internet Protocol (IP), there's still a need for rigorous standardisation to allow for easy interoperability across network elements and all the actors involved - chip/device manufacturers, equipment vendors, operators, etc. From a service provider perspective, some of the key hurdles when building diverse and interoperable networks are:

  • Simple: to create end to end services across the infrastructure targeting interoperability across multiple network elements.
  • Open: to integrate new infrastructure and service offerings, with built-in security mechanisms that allows critical components to be onboarded faster.
  • Scalable: grow horizontally with minimum interaction of the Service Provider.

Weaving Telecoms with Web 3.0: the fundamental shift

Decentralisation and tokenised economies are a solution to complex cross-actor engagements with mechanisms to reward network participants in exchange for contributions. Leveraging innovative P2P and Blockchain technology, we are a software and protocol stack that provides a simple, open and scalable solution that enables the horizontal integration much needed in networks. We create a marketplace of connectivity assets that replaces the Service Provider as a central point of trust to aggregate network resources.

Weaver is a P2P network created specifically for telecommunications, equipped with a new Messaging System (WireMQ) designed to manage real-time communications traffic across the network infrastructure. It builds on the horizontal integration of networks by adding a software layer on top that enables interoperability and convergence.

How does Weaver help to advance in the Network Revolution?

We create a connectivity platform that integrates any communications system and leverages existing infrastructure to communicate across all technologies in the P2P network. A great example is the mesh network Weaver built for the Track and Trust supply chain project with Datarella. We used WireMQ to route traffic from IoT devices into a Satellite base station, and it can be scaled up including 4G antennas, WiFi and more IoT technologies - which allows us to bring this directly into Smart Cities.  We innovate in the supply chain, creating a platform for connectivity with mechanisms to exchange network resources and incentivise all network participants. The new business models are based on infrastructure sharing and revenue sharing where all contributors can capitalise on existing assets and create a viable return on investment in infrastructure for connectivity.