Thursday, February 21, 2013

Juniper Looks to Virtualize the Mobile Packet Core

Building on its carrier SDN announcement in January, Juniper Networks outlined the next steps it will take to bring the power and efficiency of virtualization to mobile packet cores.

Juniper's strategy relies in part on its JunosV App Engine, a specialized hypervisor that will deployed on its key networking elements as well as on commodity compute hardware. The JunosV App Engine will enable virtualized networking functions, including signaling and control (SGSN/MME) for LTE, 3G and 2G radio access networks. Juniper will also deliver an SDN controller leveraging technology from its recent acquisition of Contrail.

Juniper sidits new services provisioning application, mobile infrastructure application and virtualized services engine will help network operators achieve elastic capacity, increased service velocity, while lowering overall capital and operating expenses.

Products being announced for Mobile World Congress include:

Juniper Networks Services Activation Director -- combines five applications into one to enable service providers to provision thousands of seamless services in a fraction of the time, including MPLS and Carrier Ethernet for mobile backhaul. The Services Activation Director, along with other Junos Space applications, will be available for purchase in the first half of 2013 through Juniper Software Advantage, which allows the software to transfer to any network element with which it operates

Juniper Networks Mobile Control Gateway -- a virtualized function running on the JunosV App Engine, providing signaling and control (SGSN/MME) functions to the LTE, 3G and 2G radio access networks. As a virtualized network function, mobile operators can now rapidly scale up and down capacity to meet variable demand requirements.   Now shipping.

Juniper Networks JunosV App Engine -- centralizes the development, provisioning and management of both Juniper Networks and third-party applications on a common platform. This platform also enables customers to grow the compute, memory and processing resource needed for cloud-based applications and services attached specifically to the MX edge router. Customers and partners, such as Hitachi, have already built applications on this platform. Now shipping.

New SRX line cards for the SRX5600 and 5800 Series Services Gateway.  The SRX Series collapses the security gateway, firewall, switching, and routing layers onto a single platform,.  The new line cards support up to 100 million concurrent sessions and up to 200 Gbps of firewall throughput with a single SRX Services Gateway.

In January 2013, Juniper Networks outlined a four-step roadmap to software-defined networking with the goal of improving automation and agility in data centers and across service provider networks.
A key part of Juniper's SDN strategy involves the concept of "Service Chaining" whereby an SDN controller is used to virtually insert services into the flow of network traffic.  The company sees SDN extending all the way across all domains of the network: Core, Edge, Access & Aggregation, Data Center, WAN, Campus & Branch.  Juniper's SDN roadmap initially targets two of these areas -- the Service Provider Edge and the Data Center.

Pradeep Sindhu, Juniper's CTO and Founder, said the company has always believed in open standards. Juniper is supporting OpenFlow in routers and switches this year. The company has also partnered with Big Switch and others in the SDN space.  However, Sindhu described OpenFlow as an early protocol that needs to evolve, and probably not the most important one for SDN. 

Juniper is enabling the SDN virtualization with existing protocols, including BGP, thereby enabling the existing routing and switching infrastructure to participate in the SDN transformation. Juniper will adopt the OpenStack model as its primary orchestration system and will work with others including VMware and IBM.

It is still early days in SDN and Juniper believes the adoption of this technology will be gradual over many years.  One significant change will be the way network software is delivered.  Juniper is introducing a new software licensing and maintenance model that allows the transfer of software licenses between Juniper devices and industry-standard x86 servers.

Juniper's Four Step Roadmap

Step 1: Centralize network management, analytics and configuration functionality to provide a single master that configures all networking devices.

Step 2: Extract networking and security services from the underlying hardware by creating service virtual machines (VMs). This enables network and security services to independently scale using industry-standard x86 hardware based on the needs of the solution.

Step 3: Introduce a centralized controller that enables multiple network and security services to connect in series across devices within the network using "SDN Service Chaining" – using software to virtually insert services into the flow of network traffic. The SDN Service Chaining will be introduced in 2014 utilizing the SDN controller technology acquired from Contrail Systems, together with the evolution of the JunosV App Engine.

Step 4: Optimize the usage of network and security hardware to deliver high performance.  Specifically, Juniper's MX Series and SRX Series products will evolve to support software-based Service Chaining architecture.

Video: BridgeWave's 80 GHz Multi-gigabit Backhaul for 4G/LTE

BridgeWave Debuts 80 GHz Multi-Gigabit Backhaul for LTE

BridgeWave Communications introduced a multi-gigabit capable, millimeter wave backhaul solution designed for LTE networks.

The BridgeWave Flex4G leverages exclusive Silicon Germanium RF technology to deliver line-rate, full-duplex 1Gbps in an ETSI-standard, single 250 MHz channel using only 32QAM modulation, with improved link budgets compared to other solutions using 64QAM.  The product offers a built-in low-latency switch and supports Carrier-Ethernet functionality with flexible Quality of Service, VLAN awareness, Provider Bridging, Congestion Management and Ring Protection. Carrier-Ethernet capabilities are further enhanced by comprehensive Ethernet OAM management and advanced timing through support of SyncE and 1588v2.

“The holy grail in MMW backhaul has been the combination of high capacity in a lightly utilized and licensed frequency band with a cost structure comparable to that of traditional microwave products”, said Amir Makleff, president and CEO of BridgeWave Communications. “Flex4G achieves this mission based on BridgeWave’s highly integrated Silicon Germanium, mQFN packaging and digital signal processing technologies.”

Orange Tests L-Band Supplemental Downlinks

Orange, Ericsson and Qualcomm have demonstrated the use of  L-band frequencies (1452-1492 MHz) as a supplemental downlink technology on a mobile network.

The European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administration has decided to harmonize use of the L-band, reserving it specifically for supplemental downlink technology.

The demonstration was carried out on Orange's network in Toulouse, France, on 21 February 2013.  The trial system, which uses L-band frequencies for testing, was authorized by the French telecoms regulator, Arcep, in June 2012. The system combines L-band frequencies in the downlink mode with traditional 2.1 GHz frequencies owned by Orange to boost downlink capacity. The trial network uses radio base stations supplied by Ericsson and devices equipped with Qualcomm chipsets.

Ericsson said supplemental downlink technology represents a significant step forward in traditional spectrum aggregation systems that are already used for HSPA+ and LTE networks by the 3GPP standardization group. 

Gigamon Targets Big Visibility for Big Data

Gigamon announced a holistic approach for ensuring visibility across mobile operator networks being deluged by big packet flows. Whereas conventional networking monitoring and test approaches are struggling to keep up with the rising traffic volumes, Gigamon's Visibility Fabric architecture promises the volume, port density and scale for the biggest networks.  Gigamon recently introduced 100 Gbps and 40 Gbps line cards for its GigaVUE H Series platform.

Gigamon deploys highly port-dense 1Gb, 10Gb, 40Gb and 100Gb solutions, facilitating connections with all processing taking place over the built-in backplane. This design allows for enhanced tool integration features, filtering and load balancing across tool

“Big Data is no a longer a problem unique to enterprise data centers. Mobile carriers are now facing a deluge of traffic in their pipes, from an increasingly mobile workforce and the proliferation of smart devices and applications. Mobile carriers must have the capacity to connect pipes to individual analytics tools at the network core and concentration points, to ensure accurate data processing and analysis, as they have already invested a tremendous amount into their existing tools. Gigamon’s technology uniquely provides the necessary volume, port density and scale that enables each tool to function at maximum efficiency whilst keeping monitored traffic off the production network, saving the carrier significant costs that translate into cost savings for the subscriber,” said Andy Huckridge, director of Service Provider Solutions at Gigamon.

NTT Docomo Develops LTE-A C-RAN Architecture

NTT DOCOMO will begin developing high-capacity base stations built with advanced Centralized Radio Access Network (C-RAN) architecture for its next-generation LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) mobile system.

The carrier is looking to accelerate the deployment of base stations, especially in high-traffic areas such as train stations and large commercial facilities, for significantly improved data capacity and throughput.

The new C-RAN architecture will enable small "add-on" cells for localized coverage to cooperate with macro cells that provide wider area coverage. This will be achieved with carrier aggregation technology, one of the main LTE-Advanced technologies standardized by the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP).

High-capacity base stations utilizing advanced C-RAN architecture will serve as master base stations both for multiple macro cells covering broad areas and for add-on cells in smaller, high-traffic areas. The base stations will accommodate up to 48 macro and add-on cells at launch and even more later. Carrier aggregation will be supported for cells served by the same base station, enabling the flexible deployment of add-on cells. In addition, maximum downlink throughput will be extendible to 3Gbps, as specified by 3GPP standards.

Docomo estimates that the small add-on cells will significantly increase throughput and system capacity while maintaining mobility performance provided by the macro cell.

NTT Docomo Tests Active Antennas for LTE-A

NTT DOCOMO successfully connected an active antenna to a commercially operational LTE base station.

Active antennas are expected to be widely used in LTE and LTE-Advanced base stations to improve range and lower power consumption.

The antenna, jointly developed by Tokyo-based Nihon Dengyo Kosaku Co., Ltd. and Ubidyne GmbH of Germany, was connected to a DOCOMO LTE base station via an ORI-standard interface.

The base station used in the experiment is a remote installation-type base station comprising one master station and multiple secondary stations. A conventional secondary station is equipped with an antenna and separate remote radio heads (RRH) for sending and receiving signals. An active antenna, however, has a built-in RRH, allowing the secondary station to be smaller in size and installed in more confined spaces, resulting in denser LTE coverage and reduced installation costs.

DOCOMO said the experiment indicates that it eventually will be able to install active antennas quickly and inexpensively without having to set up new base stations. DOCOMO already operates base stations that use the ORI interface, a specification of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute.

Internap: Interest Grows for “Cloudy Colo” Services

IT organizations are seeking to transform their traditional colocation environments with “cloudy colo” capabilities that deliver hybridization with cloud services as well as cloud-like visibility and control, according to a survey conducted by Internap Network Services.

Internap polled more than 100 IT decision makers in the U.S. responsible for purchasing a range of IT Infrastructure services from colocation to cloud and hosting.  Internap said the results reveal strong interest in accessing the following cloud-like colocation services:

  • 88% – Bandwidth monitoring: gain insight into IP bandwidth utilization and trends, enhancing network capacity planning
  • 85% – Power utilization: view circuit-level power usage trends and logs of all initiated power cycle actions, improving planning for future power requirements
  • 77% – Equipment reboot: reboot or power down any configured device without incurring the expense of remote hands services or visiting the data center
  • 76% – Server health monitoring: check device power status and create alerts, helping to ensure equipment uptime
  • 72% – Hybridization with cloud and other IT Infrastructure services: procure cloud and hosting services and hybridize with colocation environment, more efficiently meeting diverse application needs
  • 67% – Inventory management: create and view colocation equipment for device-level inventory management and tracking

In addition, the survey showed that 57% of respondents are interested in a hybrid IT Infrastructure environment that includes a mix of colocation, cloud and hosting services to meet a range of application and use case requirements.

“Colocation, with its capex model, security, control and customization advantages, continues to be a critical infrastructure choice for many organizations. While cloud services are another important option, an all-cloud strategy isn’t appropriate for every situation. As a result, there’s growing interest not only in hybrid infrastructure solutions but in redefining the limitations of traditional colocation services by integrating the benefits of the cloud,” said Raj Dutt, senior vice president of technology at Internap.

More online.

Mexico's Metrored Picks Ciena's 6500 Packet-Optical Platform

Metrored has selected Ciena's 6500 Packet-Optical Platform equipped with WaveLogic Coherent Optical Processors to support a new international long-haul link between Mexico and the United States.

The upgraded connection will operate at 40 Gbps with seamless evolution to 100G when needed. This additional capacity will allow Metrored to support the delivery of high-bandwidth applications like high-speed Internet, IPTV, HD programming and mobile video phones.

Metrored, which owns and manages one of the largest networks in Mexico, has been a Ciena customer for many years.  Financial terms were not disclosed.

Service Provider SDN Video Panel Discussion: Verizon, Ericsson, Metaswitch

Service Provider SDN


Service Chaining and Big Data Analytics Use Case for SDN

SDN and Open Flow