06 January. 2020

A vendor independent layer 3 device solution means freedom of choice for ISPs

Vendor lock-in often turn out to be very cost-intensive for internet service providers (ISPs). When constrained to buy both the optical network terminal (ONT) and the optical line termination equipment (OLT) from the same vendor it becomes cumbersome and expensive to replace equipment, whereas vendor-independent solutions arm the ISP with stronger bargaining power and a better TCO in the long run.

Single-vendor solutions with ONT and OLT equipment supplied from the same vendor often seem attractive due to persuasive arguments about end-to-end solutions and economies of scale. However, they are rarely attractive in the long run.

End-to-end solutions often lead to a compromise on CPE quality. This means that what initially seems to be a beneficial investment over time turns out to be rather cost-intensive in terms of supporting the end user, who will rightly complain to the ISP if their in-home performance does not meet expectations. But at that point, it is cumbersome to shift to other CPE vendors, because of the lock-in.

Oftentimes, ISPs are not aware of alternatives.

- Unfortunately, in some parts of the industry the perception that OLT equipment is only compatible with ONT equipment from the same vendor still prevails, but this is not the case. It is possible to get ONT equipment with interfaces that are compatible with most back-end network systems, says Erik Søe-Pedersen, Chief Sales Officer at Icotera. 

Achieve higher flexibility in smaller quantities
For ISPs working with a volume of between 5,000 to 100,000 CPE units per year, choosing a vendor-independent ONT instead of end-to-end solutions can be a way of achieving greater flexibility – also when buying CPE in smaller quantities.

Avoid vendor lock-in - and acheive a better tco

- By choosing vendor-independent ONT equipment, you also gain freedom of choice for your OLT equipment. This puts the ISP in a much better bargaining position when choosing suppliers, Erik Søe-Pedersen explains.

He continues:
- CPE maintenance and support is by far the most expensive part of an ISP’s business, so even though a one vendor CPE solution at the lowest price point is enticing, it can end up being more expensive in the long run due to high support costs.

All products in Icotera’s onebox series are vendor-independent and support most OLT equipment in today’s market through compatible interfaces.

fast Track.....

  1. It is a common misunderstanding in many parts of the ISP industry that ONT and OLT equipment need to come from the same vendor.
  2. Avoid vendor lock-in by choosing residential ONT equipment that is vendor-independent.
  3. Vendor independence gives ISPs greater flexibility and the ability to monetize the solution to a greater extent.


Want to know more about how to achieve freedom of choice with an vendor-independent integrated layer 3 device solution?
Find our e-book The way to a cost-effective ISP operation here