Light Reading

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
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Then pick up your axe, put on your spandex trousers and get yourself down to Light Reading's Big Telecom Event (BTE). Kerrang!!!
LRTV Custom TV
Meeting the Demands of Bandwidth & Service Group Growth

5|1|15   |   5:35   |   (0) comments


Jorge Salinger, Comcast's Vice President of Access Architecture, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 and multi-service CCAP can meet the demands of the bandwidth and service group growth.
LRTV Custom TV
DOCSIS 3.1: Transforming Cable From Hardware-Defined Network to Software-Defined Network

4|29|15   |   03:48   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 can transform cable HFC network to a more agile software-defined network.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Predicting Traffic Patterns for Quality Mobile Broadband

4|29|15   |   6:45   |   (0) comments


Accessing information ubiquitously creates complexity and creates heavy traffic onto the network, especially at large-scale events like sporting events or festivals. In this video, Huawei's Mohammad Hussain speaks to experts about how to predict traffic and improve user experience during periods of heavy traffic.
Between the CEOs
Ciena CEO: The Web-Scale Revolution

4|28|15   |   10:32   |   (3) comments


Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders goes head-to-head with long-time Ciena CEO Gary Smith to discuss the impact of the web-scale players, the New IP and 'white box' networks.
LRTV Documentaries
Cox Eyes Cloud-Based Home Networks

4|27|15   |   05:30   |   (0) comments


Cox's Jeff Finkelstein explains how moving services to the cloud will let cable deliver services faster and eliminate constant hardware replacements.
LRTV Documentaries
CableLabs' Clarke Updates Cable Virtualization

4|23|15   |   05:41   |   (1) comment


Former BT exec now leading CableLabs' NFV and SDN efforts explains key role of open source and updates efforts to virtualize the home network.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. II

4|23|15   |   08:19   |   (1) comment


In the second installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about cultural change, network slicing and technology advances.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. I

4|23|15   |   09:27   |   (3) comments


In the first installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about the incredible transformation underway in the communications networking industry.
LRTV Documentaries
LTE Paves the Way for the 5G Revolution

4|20|15   |   4:20   |   (0) comments


Håkan Andersson, head of 5G product strategy of the Radio Business Unit at Ericsson, discusses the role of LTE, the US and other industry verticals in building a true 5G ecosystem.
LRTV Documentaries
The 3GPP's Road to 5G Standardization

4|17|15   |   4:43   |   (0) comments


Satoshi Nagata, chairman of the 3GPP's TSG-RAN group and a manager at NTT Docomo, explains the standardization process for 5G, as well as the biggest challenges and opportunities.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu CTO Makes the Case for a New 5G Air Interface

4|16|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Michael Peeters, CTO of wireless at Alcatel-Lucent, explains why 5G will require a new air interface to meet its diverse performance targets.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu + Nokia: The New Uber-Vendor

4|15|15   |   2:42   |   (4) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Gabriel Brown discusses the technological and competitive opportunities and challenges if a merger between Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia comes to pass.
Upcoming Live Events
May 6, 2015, Georgia World Congress, Atlanta, GA
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
In its latest survey covering network operators' plans and strategies for ICT transformation, Heavy Reading asked telecom operators worldwide to identify the most important goals and objectives for their ICT transformation initiatives. Heavy Reading also asked operators about the importance of a "digital first" strategy, which enables customers to complete an interaction across different digital channels, such as web and mobile self-service and social media.
Hot Topics
Eurobites: Nokia Quashes Handsets Rumor
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 4/28/2015
Verizon Builds Key Vendors Into SDN Strategy
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/28/2015
Why Is Verizon Fighting With Programmers?
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 4/28/2015
Astellia Highlights Customer Care Disconnect
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 4/29/2015
T-Mobile Beats Sprint on Subs, Eyes Verizon on Network
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 4/28/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders goes head-to-head with long-time Ciena CEO Gary Smith to discuss the impact of the web-scale players, the New IP and 'white box' networks.
Many leading communications companies can claim to have undergone significant periods of reinvention during their histories, but none have been through more major ...
Cats with Phones
Working With What You've Got Click Here
"It's pretty hard to answer these things without thumbs!"