Sunday, July 21, 2013

NFV Video Series: Overview and Objectives

In this 5-minute video, Dr. Christos Kolias, Senior Research Scientist at Orange Silicon Valley and one of the founding members of the NFV initiative within ETSI, introduces the basic concepts and objectives of network functions virtualisation. An ETSI meeting is underway this week in Bonn, Germany to further advance the initiative.

NFV, in a nutshell, is about implementing and running network functions and services purely in software, on commoditized servers.  The NFV vision is summarized as being able to operate in an environment where most if not of all of telecom boxes have given way to software-based solutions.

Back in fall of 2012, a number of operators got together and decided to form an industry specifications group under the European telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) in order to pursue the development of NFV.  The clear objective and mandate of the group is to produce a set of requirements (as laid by the operators) and an overall specifications framework that could lead to further standardization efforts - but the latter is a sought goal of this group.  Other goals include the exposure of use cases and the in-lab development of Proofs-of-concepts.

00:12 - What is NFV?
01:41 - What is the vision of NFV?
02:29 - Is NFV the same as SDN? How does NFV bring an Open Paradigm to Networking?
03:48 - Who is developing NFV? Will it be standardized?
04:32 - What are some basic NFV concepts?
05:04 - How can I learn more about NFV?

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    Ericsson Demos VoLTE in Virtualized Core

    Ericsson has demonstrated VoLTE in a virtualized core-network environment.

    Specifically, a large European operator was invited to the Ericsson Eurolab in Aachen, Germany in early June to experience the first proof-of-concept demonstration of Ericsson’s VoLTE (Voice over LTE) solution in a virtualized core-network environment. The VoLTE solution was shown for the first time in a virtualized telecom-core-network environment, and was run on commercial Ericsson IMS equipment, including the Call Session Control Function (CSCF), the Multimedia Telephony Application Server (MTAS), and Ericsson Enriched Messaging. Commercial VoLTE/LTE smartphones were used in the demonstration.

    Ericsson said the operator benefits from this approach could include easily scalable hardware infrastructure and the speedier launch of new communication services over IP.

    The company has repeated the demo for other operator representatives.

    Marton Sabli, Head of IMS Control and Media Plane, Product Line IMS, Business Unit Networks, says: "Ericsson demonstrated for the first time that a VoLTE system can automatically scale within a telecommunication cloud and fulfill telecom-grade service availability. This availability – 99.999 percent uptime over a year – is achieved with a combination of a high-availability, telecom-grade cluster on application level and cloud mechanisms, such as hot migration."

    Siemens Enterprise Communications Launches Project Ansible

    Siemens Enterprise Communications unveiled Project Ansible, a dynamic unified communications and collaboration platform that is hosted in the cloud.

    The new platform, which was developed in collaboration with frog, features a modern interface that brings together voice, video, social communications, search, business process applications, and other channels on a desktop, notebook, tablet or smartphone.

    The company said its goal with Project Ansible is to present a "single pane of glass" providing visibility across a workgroup, an enterprise and the Web at the same time. Project Ansible is designed to pull together and manage the daily flow of communications into rich and meaningful conversations in an intelligent, intuitive and personalized way. It will offer advanced search capabilities  within communication and collaboration applications, including transcribed voicemails, emails, social aggregated content, text messages, and beyond. Siemens Enterprise Communications terms this concept "Thought Trails" -- where users have real-time, searchable access to the content they need by topic and conversation.

    “Project Ansible is designed to address core challenges faced by so many organizations today: enterprises are at the center of a complex web of interconnected systems that are hard to manage; companies are failing to drive the full value of those investments; and, while communications tools increasingly play a more central role in business, the user experience is broken,” said Hamid Akhavan, CEO of Siemens Enterprise Communications.

    Siemens Enterprise Communications will offer the solution as a white label UC solution that could be hosted by telcos or cloud providers.  Large enterprises could host the platform in their own data centers.  Siemens Enterprise Communications may also host the platform in its facilities for special clients.

    Enterprise security is a top concern, stated Torsten Raak, Head of Corporate Marketing for Siemens Enterprise Communications. Encryption is provided end-to-end, including 256-bit SSL VPNs on the transport side and 256-bit AES for storage.  Users are provided the option of deactivating the features that create a "thought trail"across integrated voice, email, chat and other applications.  Moreover, enterprise could choose the specific geographic location to host the UC platform, thereby conforming to online privacy directives.

    Project Ansible is expected to begin limited customer trials at the end of 2013 and be generally available later in 2014.  The company said it is working to ensure interoperability with leading on-premise PBX vendors. Its own systems will support many of the advanced features.

    Dell'Oro: LTE RAN Equipment Revenues to More than Double by 2015

    The Mobile Radio Access Network (RAN) LTE equipment market is forecast to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 20 percent over the next five years, according to a newly published forecast report by Dell’Oro Group.

    Top LTE RAN vendors in first quarter 2013 included Ericsson, Nokia Siemens, Huawei.

    “Even though commercial LTE networks are deployed in more than 70 countries, it is important to keep in mind that in excess of 80 percent of the worldwide LTE subscription installed base resides in just three countries,” said Stefan Pongratz, RAN Analyst at Dell’Oro Group.  “So even if some of the advanced LTE markets will see their eNodeB shipments peak in 2013, in many other parts of the world we are still at the very beginning of the transition towards 4G.  For the early LTE adopters, the shift from coverage to improving performances at the cell-edges, indoor, and adding capacity will be significantly faster in the 4G versus the 3G era, and will drive recurring LTE investments in many of the advanced LTE markets,” continued Pongratz.

    The report also shows that total RAN revenues in Europe and Asia Pacific are expected to generate the highest CAGRs over the next five years while the North America RAN market is expected to have the most negative CAGR.

    U.S. Navy's 2nd MUOS Satellite Launched

    The second Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite, which will provide simultaneous voice, video and data communications to U.S. military combatants, was successfully launched from Cape Canaveral aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

    MUOS is a next-generation narrowband tactical satellite communications system designed to significantly improve beyond-line-of-sight communications for U.S. forces on the move. MUOS will provide military users 10 times more communications capacity over the existing system by leveraging 3G mobile communications technology, and will provide simultaneous voice and data capability.

    The MUOS constellation replaces the legacy Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Follow-On system and delivers secure, prioritized voice and data communications, a first for mobile users who need high-speed mission data on the go.

    Lockheed Martin said first MUOS satellite, launched in 2012, is currently providing high quality legacy voice communications for users.  More than 20,000 existing terminals are compatible with and can access the MUOS legacy UHF payload, and with the release of the new waveform developed for increased data-handling capacity, many of these terminals could be retro-fitted to access the Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) payload. This advanced WCDMA payload incorporates commercial technology designed to provide 16 times the number of accesses as the legacy UHF Follow-On system that it replaces.

    The geosynchronous constellation consists of four satellites and one on-orbit spare, which are expected to achieve full operational capability in 2015, extending UHF narrowband communications availability well past 2025.

    Lockheed Martin Space Systems is the MUOS prime contractor and system integrator.

    • A single MUOS satellite will provide four times the capacity of the entire legacy UFO constellation of 10 satellites. The satellites also include a hosted legacy UHF payload that will be fully compatible with the current UFO system and legacy terminals.