NTT DOCOMO confirmed that it is working separately with three vendors — Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco and NEC — and has completed proof-of-concept (PoC) trials verifying the feasibility of network functions virtualization (NFV). DOCOMO said it now aims to commercially deploy services utilizing a virtualized mobile network by the fiscal year ending in March 2016.
The PoC testing covered virtualized Evolved Packet Core (EPC) implementations. DOCOMO and each of the three vendors verified cutting-edge network control mechanisms, such as scalable user-data processing capability that can handle concentrated user traffic efficiently and improve service delivery stability by means of fast, automatic network-recovery techniques in the event of hardware failure.
"NFV is highly expected to change the ecosystem of network industries," said Seizo Onoe, Executive Vice President and Chief Technical Officer at DOCOMO. "But without a high degree of collaboration among the players, such hopes could end up like pie in the sky. Therefore, I am delighted that we have been successfully collaborating in PoC trials with the industry's leading vendors."
Sri Reddy, VP and GM of Alcatel-Lucent's SR Product Business Unit, joined by Dor Skuler, VP and GM of Alcatel-Lucent's CloudBand Business Unit, said: "It is an honor to work with DOCOMO in the development of the virtualization of core mobile technology. This project demonstrates an accelerated path to NFV commercial deployment that is leading the industry. Our CloudBand NFV Platform and virtualized EPC (vEPC) are open and multi-vendor, two characteristics that are essential in an NFV environment."
Kelly Ahuja, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Mobility Business Group of Cisco, said: "We would like to commend DOCOMO for their continued work on innovations in business and technology in mobile communications. We are delighted to collaborate with DOCOMO toward the realization of a virtualized mobile Internet architecture. It is exciting to see a world leader in mobile industry being fully committed to virtualization in their network architecture where and when it makes sense for their customers. "
Shunichiro Tejima, Executive Vice President of NEC, said: "NEC is honored to collaborate with DOCOMO in the trial of this virtual mobile core technology. With these tests, the companies have verified that virtualization platforms provide the functions required for NFV. NEC will continue to cooperate with DOCOMO and NFV industry partners by providing global solutions that contribute to the realization of advanced carrier networks that are flexible, fast and optimized for services."