Network functions virtualization (NFV) is picking up steam for many mobile service providers as it allows them to innovate more quickly and easily while providing the best return on investments in an all-IP network infrastructure such as LTE. The technology also allows network automation and efficient use of resources for rapid scaling up and down of services.
Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert), a telecom equipment company offering fixed, mobile, and converged networking hardware, IP technologies, software, and services, is also going along with this excitement and has announced the availability of a carrier-grade virtualized mobile portfolio that is hardware independent.
The new portfolio of virtualized mobile network function applications includes;
- A virtualized Evolved Packet Core (vEPC ) which automates the authentication and management of subscribers and the services they access, as well as the creation and connectivity to services within the operator's network and to the wider Internet on a massive scale
- A virtualized IMS (vIMS) solution – a cloud communications platform for delivering a rich portfolio of multimedia services over IP networks
- A virtualized RAN portfolio encompassing a virtualized 3G Radio Network Controller (RNC) and virtualized proof of concept for LTE (News - Alert) and LTE-Advanced Radio Access Networks
Mobile operators can deploy these network applications to drive scalability and become more agile, efficient and responsive as they innovate with new service offerings, speed deployments on a massive scale and expand into new markets.
"Each mobile operator will have different priorities and want to take their own specific path to NFV, based on their business priorities and the state of their network and operations readiness. Building on our strong IP foundation, we have pioneered an open SDN and NFV architecture that combines the best of IP with the best of IT, to create a truly carrier-grade cloud network solution,” Marcus Weldon, corporate chief technology officer of Alcatel-Lucent and Bell Labs (News - Alert) President said in a statement.
To leverage cloud efficiencies the functional software must be on-boarded, managed, orchestrated and optimized within the cloud network. The company is using its CloudBand 2.0 NFV platform. It also integrates the Virtual Service Platform (VSP) from Alcatel-Lucent's SDN venture, Nuage Networks.
Alcatel-Lucent is already working with 20 service providers to leverage NFV in their networks.
Alcatel-Lucent and China Mobile (News - Alert) are co-demonstrating voice and video delivered over a virtualized proof of concept LTE RAN Baseband Unit (BBU) and virtualized evolved packet core (vEPC) on-boarded to the cloud by CloudBand 2.0 – the company's second generation NFV platform, at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi