Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Blueprint: NFV Brings Changes to Carrier Purchasing Patterns

by Greg Collins, Founder, Exact Ventures

Spurred by increasing competition from over-the-top (OTT) service providers like Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, many network operators have an urgent need to transition and adapt their networks in order to be able to quickly develop, deploy and monetize competing services as well as to open their networks to new services that may originate from outside of the operator.  This need for ‘service agility’ for network operators is being enabled by the increasing maturity of Network Function Virtualization (NFV) technology whereby many network nodes will increasingly be virtualized.   In other words, over time mobile network cores will look more like the datacenters you would find at the OTT service providers, than more traditional central offices with many racks of purpose-built equipment.

While practically every network operator has virtualization as a key criteria in evaluating core network element, most current deployments are of legacy physical platforms consisting of both hardware and software.  AT&T’s Domain 2.0, Deutsche Telecom’s Terrestream, and Telef√≥nica’s UNICA efforts are prominent examples of network operators aggressively driving this change through their supply chain.  While we are at the very early stages of IT and datacenter technology spreading to operator core networks, we believe that this architectural transition is generational and will gradually increase over the next decade.

Those network elements that are low-bandwidth and compute-intensive can be moved into a virtualized datacenter, either in an operator’s network or a public cloud network, more easily than data intensive network functions that benefit from specific packet processing or transcoding.  This change offers operators several advantages like cost savings, scale and efficiency.  Deploying common, off-the-shelf (COTS) server hardware and virtualization software is potentially less expensive than purchasing dedicated hardware for each network node or function.  System capacity can also be scaled up or down almost instantly depending on demand.  Redundancy and high-availability features are often inherent in datacenter infrastructure and would not have to be duplicated, as is the case in many network functions today.  As service providers begin to trial and evaluate NFV architectures and individual virtual network functions (VNFs), this process will likely trigger another round of vendor selection for network elements centered on the NFV and management and network orchestration (MANO) architectures.

Given this change, the value of the funds spent on networking infrastructure is slowly being reallocated.  Network specific hardware spending is trending downward—toward zero perhaps—while these funds will ostensibly be reallocated to software elements that perform the same function on top of COTS hardware.  These software elements will come at a lower price than the hardware-based networking solutions.  Moreover, the software elements, or VNFs, will be sold in the traditional manner of perpetual licenses with an annual software maintenance fee, but also as an annual or multi year subscription aka networking-as-a-service (NaaS) or infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS).  Service providers will increasingly but gradually look at their infrastructure costs in terms of opex versus capex, which will change the way they budget and plan as well as how they communicate with the investment community.  This can be quite a change for some network operators who expect to purchase networking equipment once and then squeeze every bit of value that they can get from it over the next five to ten years or more.

About the Author

Greg Collins is a technology analyst and strategist with extensive experience in creating innovative, highly analytical and enduring market segmentation and research practices in technical networking, telecommunications, and wireless markets. Greg founded Exact Ventures in 2011 in order to provide market intelligence with greater depth and context than traditional, static pillars of market data. - See more at:

About Exact Ventures

Exact Ventures covers NFV in each of its research areas: Evolved Packet Core, IMS/VoLTE, Policy Servers/PCRF, Session Border Controllers, Signaling, etc.

Verizon Enhances its Collaboration Portrfolio with Cisco

by James E. Carroll

Verizon is expanding its global Collaboration portfolio with the introduction of additional rich conferencing and mobile collaboration tools based on Cisco WebEx Cloud Connected Audio, Collaboration Meeting Room and Verizon’s  UCCaaS Mobile First service.

Verizon is rolling out UCCaaS Mobile First, an advanced collaboration solution based on Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution.  The service is aimed at an increasingly mobile workforce that offers end-users the ability to boost the audio and video performance of the Cisco Jabber mobile unified communications client application on Verizon’s 4G LTE network for a high quality experience.
Cisco Jabber enables users to make and receive voice and HD video calls and access other tools such as instant messaging and WebEx conferencing on their preferred device, whether it is a smartphone, tablet, PC or MAC.

Verizon said that by leveraging its UCCaaS in conjunction with its Private Network Traffic Management solution, which offers QoS over 4G LTE, workers can benefit from prioritized voice and video calls when using the Cisco Jabber client from select 4G LTE smartphones and tablets in the United States.

Verizon is also enabling a more cost-effective conferencing solution through Cisco WebEx with Cloud Connected Audio and Collaboration Meeting Rooms – an “any device” solution in more than 150 countries and 2,700 cities worldwide.  The Meeting Rooms offer a personalized, 24x7 collaboration meeting resource to meet at an instance’s notice with a simple click.

“The rise of the mobile enterprise and necessity for voice, video and collaboration anywhere, at any time, requires solutions which can provide a seamless high-quality experience that doesn’t distinguish between working in an office, from home or on the road,” said Tony Recine, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Verizon Enterprise Solutions. “With Verizon’s cloud-based Collaboration Suite, Verizon is putting all the right tools in place to provide a simple, secure and reliable experience for corporate workers when meeting and collaborating with colleagues, partners and customers.”

Deutsche Telekom Launches Public Cloud based on Cisco

Deutsche Telekom launched of a new public cloud service compliant with German data sovereignty legislation. T-Systems, the business division of Deutsche Telekom, will operate and manage the new infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offering – DSI Intercloud – from its highly secure data centers in Germany.

Services include computing, storage and networking in a pay-as-you-go model through Telekom’s new cloud portal. The service will be available without minimum purchase requirements and contract periods, starting from EUR 0.05 per hour. Additional storage starts at EUR 0.02 per gigabyte.

Deutsche Telekom said its public cloud also creates the foundation for a secure European Internet of Things that offers the highest availability and scalability for real-time analytics. Innovative platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings are slated to follow in the first half of 2016.

Deutsche Telekom's public cloud is based on the Cisco cloud platform and its Intercloud initiative.  Cisco and Telekom will focus on delivering the necessary high availability and scalability for real-time analytics at the edge of the network to make Telekom’s cloud the foundation for innovative IoT experiences.

T-Systems has been providing cloud services for business customers for ten years, including for multinational companies such as Shell, Daimler and Thyssen-Krupp.

BT to Deploy Virtual Riverbed SteelHeads to Accelerate Cloud Services

BT will deploy virtual Riverbed SteelHead application acceleration technology in the core of its global network, providing superior application performance for customers accessing BT’s own cloud services as well as other leading Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings. It is the first time Riverbed technology has been deployed into the core of a global telecoms network.

Specifically, BT and Riverbed are embedding their services at global business hubs in Europe, North America and Asia in locations where BT has direct links to leading cloud providers and high-capacity internet breakout. The service will be available globally from early 2016 and accessible through BT’s IP Connect VPN from 198 countries and territories.

BT said the deployment is part of its Cloud of Clouds vision, which is about allowing customers to connect easily and securely to the applications and data they need, regardless of where they’re hosted and where they are based.

Keith Langridge, vice president, network services at BT Global Services, said: “Our Cloud of Clouds vision is rapidly coming to fruition. By including Riverbed-as-a-service in our offering, we address one of the key issues faced by our customers: the performance and reliability of applications hosted in the cloud. The new service builds on the direct network connectivity we already provide to major cloud providers by bringing better speed, performance and control to applications hosted with these cloud providers. This joint offering with Riverbed is a milestone on the journey to software-defined networks, and creates an additional differentiator against our competitors.”

Paul O’Farrell, Senior Vice President and General Manager, SteelHead and SteelFusion, at Riverbed said, “CIOs want to enjoy all of the benefits of the hybrid enterprise while solving the challenges of application delivery in this complex environment. Riverbed invented WAN optimization in 2004 with the launch of SteelHead and is today the leader in application performance infrastructure. The new integrated cloud-based solution from BT and Riverbed will provide unmatched application availability and acceleration as a service, offering an easier on-ramp to cloud computing via BT’s Cloud Connect service.”

HPE Opens OpenNFV Solution Portal

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is launching an OpenNFV Solution Portal, providing communication service providers (CSPs) access to pre-validated virtual network function (VNFs) solutions from HPE OpenNFV partners.
The OpenNFV Solution Portal provides CSPs access to a catalog of more than 60 OpenNFV partners. CSPs can search the catalog by use case or vendor, connecting them with the solutions that best address their specific requirements. By providing CSPs access to pre-validated VNFs, HPE is delivering a critical component of the NFV service lifecycle management process, helping streamline onboarding and accelerating time-to-market, while reducing capital and operational expenditures.

“Providing CSPs with an array of pre-validated VNFs is critical to accelerating their journey to the telco cloud,” said Werner Schaefer, vice president, Network Functions Virtualization, Hewlett Packard Enterprise. “The HPE OpenNFV Portal gives CSPs access to the breadth of the OpenNFV partner ecosystem and ready-to-deploy solutions, helping them offer more compelling services and adapt quickly to changing demands.”

The catalog containing pre-validated VNFs, is available now. Future phases, including a marketplace to acquire pre-validated VNFs, a solution designer and deployment services are planned for release in 2016.

Australia's NBN Sees 50 Mbps Fixed Wireless Home Connections

Australia's nbn announced an upgrade to its fixed wireless service, which aims to reach half a million homes and business in rural areas of the country.

nbn said its fixed wireless service can provide access to wholesale speeds of up to 50 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload. It is currently available in hundreds of communities across the country.

“Following the launch of Sky Muster, nbn’s first satellite, this milestone is yet another critical part of our plan to help bridge the nation’s digital divide. We’re closer than ever before to being on a level playing field between the city and the bush by providing kids in rural areas with access to digital textbooks, farmers with the latest technology and creating a world of new possibilities for regional small businesses,” stated Gavin Williams, Executive General Manager, Fixed Wireless and Satellite Product.

IP Infusion Intros SDN OS for Data Centers

IP Infusion introduced its network operating system for data center and enterprise networking based on SDN.

OcNOS provides protocol support for enterprise class routing, switching and MPLS.  The company said its code can be used to build scalable network platforms that align with the Open Compute Project.

IP Infusion also announced that Dell customers are now able to purchase the OcNOS network operating system to run on Dell’s S6000 high performance Open Networking systems through a distribution agreement both companies signed in April 2015. Under this partnership, Dell worked closely with IP Infusion to help provide enterprise customers with a cost-effective and scalable Data Center Switching, enterprise class Layer 2, Layer 3 switching and MPLS-based network virtualization solution that provides secure connectivity and aggregated management. This joint solution enables enterprise customers to adopt MPLS virtualization capabilities within their data centers and campus environments at a fraction of the cost, power, space and cooling requirements as compared to today’s market offerings.

CommScope's Frame Connects High-Density Fiber Blocks

CommScope has significantly enhanced its Next Generation Frame (NGF) portfolio by introducing an Enhanced High Density NGF for data center owners and network operators.

The new frame accommodates increased fiber density blocks to seamlessly add fiber terminations without requiring significant changes to the data center layout while conserving floor space. It measures seven feet in height and 24 inches in depth and can be installed directly next to existing traditional 30-inch wide NGF frames. The pre-terminated fiber blocks eliminate the need to individually plug in hundreds of connectors at the rear of the panel, thus replacing a large number of installation steps. Installers plug pre-terminated MPO assemblies directly into modules at the rear, which distribute trunk fibers into 10G or 40G channels at the front. All pre-populated blocks are factory tested, assembled, and packaged to provide maximum craft friendliness. Pre-terminated blocks with cable stubs are also available.

“Network managers need rapid deployment and space efficiency to cope with the accelerated need for bandwidth due to increased mobile traffic, big data demands, and other factors,” said Jaxon Lang, general manager and vice president of Broadband Network Solutions for Central and North America, CommScope. “Our Enhanced High Density NGF system promotes speed and efficiency by delivering outstanding density and flexibility.”

VI Systems Launches Opto Wafer Test Services

VI Systems GmbH, which specialized in high performance optical semiconductor components, is expanding its service portfolio for optic semiconductor wafers of up to 6 inches.

The new semi-automatic wafer prober station performs high-speed electrical and optical testing of wafers early in the manufacturing process. The test parameters include optical output power and optical spectrum. Electrical parameters which can be tested include operation voltage, bias voltage, drive current and dark current.

In addition, high frequency characterization test of up to 38 GHz can be performed including digital transmission experiments of up to 64 Gbps. The new facilities also include nearfield and farefield analysis tools as well microscopic characterization equipment.