& cplSiteName &

Ex-Stoke Startup Aims to Shake Up 4G Core

Michelle Donegan
LR Mobile News Analysis
Michelle Donegan
12/10/2012
50%
50%

A U.S.-based startup called Connectem Inc. has developed software for the simulation of 4G Evolved Packet Core (EPC) network elements that will enable operators to add data capacity quickly during peak traffic times.

Founded in February 2011 by a group of former Stoke Inc. employees, the company claims it can simulate the whole 4G packet core network and not just any one element, such as the packet gateway, serving gateway, Mobility Management Entity (MME) or Policy and Charging Rules Function (PCRF).

Not surprisingly, they're excited. "We don't lack ambition taking on the entire packet core," says Barry Hill, founder and executive VP of sales and marketing at Connectem. "This is an incredibly disruptive technology we're putting on the table."

The company's Virtual Core for Mobile (VCM) software is in trial with Australian carrier SingTel Optus Pty. Ltd. , which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore's Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel) (OTC: SGTJY) and had 9.5 million mobile customers at the end of September 2012. Optus has checked out the VCM product in its lab and now it is testing the software with friendly users on its Macquarie Park campus network. (See Optus Tests Cloud-based Core Tech.)

Optus is interested in the flexible networking technology in the short term because it could be a tool for handling surges in data traffic at big events, such as sports matches or concerts. But longer term, the operator wants to evaluate whether such virtualization technology could be part of its future network strategy.

Connectem founder and CEO Nishi Kant explains that the company's software runs on IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)'s PureFlex System platform. Essentially, the packet core network elements are broken down and their functions are written into Connectem's software so that it can run on commercial hardware, thereby creating a more flexible way to build EPC networks, increase data capacity and process surges in signaling traffic.

He used Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) as an analogy to explain the VCM proposition: "What Amazon does from a digital shopping experience is very similar to what happens in a mobile data experience," Kant says. "There's an attach procedure, handover and they're moving data on your behalf."

An Internet company like Amazon has "distributed their connection management," he adds. And Connectem is aiming to adapt that kind of networking technology to meet the needs of mobile service providers.

Kant also notes that while there are elements of software-defined networking (SDN) in the VCM proposition, the startup did not want to be labeled as an "SDN company." (See SDN & the Commodity Question and Ericsson CTO: Let's Redefine SDN.)

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company, which has about 22 employees, did not reveal details about its financial arrangements, but said it had adequate funding from angel investors and recently attracted support from a "large public company."

Why this matters
This is an early example of the virtualization of complex mobile network elements designed to run on commercial hardware. If Connectem's proposition is successful, it could give the likes of Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and Nokia Networks something to worry about. And even if it isn't, this will mark the latest episode in the industry's series of efforts to bring IT networking techniques to the world of telecom networks.

For more



— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Featured Video
From The Founder
Light Reading is spending much of this year digging into the details of how automation technology will impact the comms market, but let's take a moment to also look at how automation is set to overturn the current world order by the middle of the century.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue – London
November 10, 2017, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
November 16, 2017, ExCel Centre, London
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
May 14-17, 2018, Austin Convention Center
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Muni Policies Stymie Edge Computing
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/17/2017
'Brutal' Automation & the Looming Workforce Cull
Iain Morris, News Editor, 10/18/2017
Worried About Bandwidth for 4K? Here Comes 8K!
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 10/17/2017
What Does Automation Mean to You?
Ray Le Maistre, International Group Editor, 10/17/2017
Animals with Phones
Selfie Game Strong Click Here
Latest Comment
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Partner Perspectives - content from our sponsors
The Mobile Broadband Road Ahead
By Kevin Taylor, for Huawei
All Partner Perspectives