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Alcatel-Lucent Unveils NFV Suite

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Light Reading
2/19/2014
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PARIS -- Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) is delivering a portfolio of virtualized mobile network function applications – evolved packet core (EPC), IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) and radio access network (RAN) - and extending them to the cloud. Mobile operators will deploy these network applications to drive breakthrough scalability and elasticity, becoming more agile, efficient and responsive as they innovate with new service offerings, speed deployments on a massive scale and expand into new markets.

Alcatel-Lucent’s network functions virtualization (NFV) portfolio combines its networking technical acumen with its cloud capabilities to help guide customers through the complex virtualizaiton journey without compromising operational performance and integrity. It is already working with 20 service providers as they begin to leverage NFV in their networks. Alcatel-Lucent and China Mobile are 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, at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in China Mobile’s booth A10 in Hall 3. Alcatel-Lucent’s virtualization portfolio will be on display in its booth 3K10 in Hall 3.

NFV appeals to mobile service providers now because it allows them to innovate more quickly and easily while providing the best return on their investments in an all-IP network infrastructure such as LTE. It enables network automation and efficient use of resources for rapid scaling up and down of services. Applied correctly, it will optimize delivery of services such as voice over LTE (VoLTE), Web real time communications (Web RTC), secure mobile communications for enterprises and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. In addition NFV will cut the time and costs of bringing these and other new services to market.

At its annual Technology Symposium in November, Alcatel-Lucent defined its cloud shift vision for building a better cloud with high performance, reliability and greater scalability using open industrial or carrier-grade virtualized networks that leverage cloud flexibility. Today the company is announcing a carrier-grade virtualized mobile portfolio that is hardware independent – by the optimal separation of functional software from the underlying hardware. This will allow it to leverage industry initiatives such as OpenStack, to operate with NFV platforms including management, orchestration, infrastructure and networking elements. 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 cloud efficiencies the functional software must be on-boarded, managed, orchestrated and optimized within the cloud network. The company is using its CloudBand 2.0 NFV platformat 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, aligns with the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), and is currently delivering on three CloudBand NFV customer contracts and 10 trials. It has signed four contracts to deliver its Nuage Networks SDN solution. It is committed to accelerating industry development of NFV, both through active participation in the ETSI NFV advisory board, as well as with the formation of the CloudBand Ecosystem Program. As one of the key members of this program, Red Hat, a leading provider of open source solutions, announced today that its Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform would be a part of Alcatel-Lucent’s CloudBand NFV Platform. Alcatel-Lucent rounds out its ability to help customers in the adoption of NFV by offering extensive professional services expertise available throughout the process.

    Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU)

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