All key network elements to be virtualized
AlcaLu outlines roadmap to virtualize every key element in IMS, LTE RAN
All the major global telecom vendors are now deeply into Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and cloud technologies. Illustrating the trend, Alcatel-Lucent on February 20 outlined its product roadmap for network functions virtualization (NFV) technologies, including plans to virtualize every element of its IMS platform and even key elements of its LTE RAN product set.
Specifically, The virtualized portfolio includes:
A virtualized Evolved Packet Core (vEPC). This automates the authentication and management of subscribers and the services they access, as well as the creation of and connectivity to services within the operator's network and to the wider Internet on a massive scale, with the quality and performance subscribers demand. Alcatel-Lucent's vEPC leverages a software base that has been proven in the networks of the world's largest mobile network operators. The company is currently conducting five customer trials using the vEPC.
A virtualized IMS (vIMS) solution ? a cloud communications platform for delivering a rich portfolio of multimedia services over IP networks. Alcatel-Lucent's vIMS embraces new open cloud technologies whilst retaining the high performance leveraged from being operational at scale in the largest communication networks with 100% availability. Alcatel-Lucent's vIMS is already being deployed within customer networks and the company is engaged in eight vIMS cloud customer trials.
A virtualized RAN portfolio ? encompassing a virtualized 3G Radio Network Controller (RNC) and virtualized proof of concept for LTE and LTE-Advanced Radio Access Networks. The LTE components leverage Alcatel-Lucent's LTE software deployed in eight of the top ten mobile operator networks and advanced wireless algorithms from Bell Labs.
To leverage the cloud, 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 at its Cloud Innovation Centre lab in Naperville, US, to onboard and manage its virtualized applications. The 2.0 version has been expanded to support greater network control, broader open industry standard technologies, and virtualized network functions. It also integrates the Virtual Service Platform (VSP) from Alcatel-Lucent's SDN venture, Nuage Networks. Software defined networking (SDN) solutions from Nuage Networks deliver highly automated, programmable and responsive networks in support of IT and telecommunications applications for the cloud era.
Alcatel-Lucent said it is in a unique position to drive NFV technology forward thanks to its existing product sets in each of these areas, its large customer base, its early work on CloudBand technologies and its contributions to standards bodies.
The company is already working with 20 service providers, including China Mobile with whom it is co-demonstrating voice and video delivered over a virtualized proof of concept LTE RAN Baseband Unit (BBU) and virtualized evolved packet core (vEPC) onboarded to the cloud by CloudBand 2.0 ? the company's second generation NFV platform. It is aligned with the ETSI NFV ISG program and is currently delivering on three CloudBand NFV customer contracts and 10 trials.
"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. Our accelerated investments in virtualized telecom applications, our CloudBand 2.0 platform and our Nuage Networks SDN venture are clear proof points that we have all the elements to help operators create an open agile, efficient cloud environment at a speed that meets their individual needs," stated Marcus Weldon, Corporate Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Alcatel-Lucent and Bell Labs President.