& cplSiteName &

Alcatel-Lucent Lays Out Its NFV Plans

Mitch Wagner
2/19/2014
50%
50%

Alcatel-Lucent has outlined its plans for a big strategic shift centered around network functions virtualization (NFV) as the vendor begins its transition from selling boxes to selling services that run in the cloud.

The vendor is effectively migrating mobile network functions to the cloud, including the evolved packet core (EPC), IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) capabilities and Radio Access Network (RAN) functions. The services are designed to help network operators offer more scalable services to customers, with flexible pricing and greater innovation.

Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) says it's already working with 20 providers to introduce its NFV capabilities to their networks. At the upcoming Mobile World Congress 2014, Alcatel-Lucent and China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE: CHL) are demonstrating voice and video delivered over a virtualized proof of concept LTE RAN Baseband Unit (BBU) and virtualized evolved packet core (vEPC) using CloudBand 2.0, the vendor's second-generation NFV platform. (See Alcatel-Lucent Opens Cloud R&D Facility in Israel and NFV Requires Redefined Reliability: AlcaLu.)

NFV allows mobile service providers to innovate more easily and rapidly scale services up and down as needed, Alcatel-Lucent said in a statement. It optimizes delivery of service including voice-over-LTE (VoLTE), web real-time communications (WebRTC), secure mobile communications for enterprise, and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications.

"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," Alcatel-Lucent noted in a statement.

"The whole idea is to be able to respond to rapidly varying demand patterns to users as well as growing the network," Marcus Weldon, Alcatel-Lucent CTO and head of Bell Labs, told Light Reading. "We have to scale the network rapidly to provide new services."

The NFV portfolio comprises three key elements:

  • A virtualized Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) automates authentication and management of subscribers and the services they access, as well as creating and connecting to services within the operator's network and on the wider Internet.

  • A virtualized IMS (vIMS) delivers multimedia services over IP networks.

  • A virtualized RAN portfolio, including 3G Radio Network Controller and virtualized proof of concept for LTE and LTE-Advanced Radio Access Networks.

    Heavy Reading senior analyst Caroline Chappell notes, in a statement included in the vendor's official announcement, that the "arguments for NFV are compelling for mobile operators. When combined with SDN, NFV will enable them to deliver new services flexibly and faster, with positive implications for revenue generation and their ability to expand into new markets. NFV is timely as operators migrate to LTE and look for new ways to take full advantage of this technology."

    Chappell adds, though, that it's "critical that virtualized network functions for LTE maintain the features and stringent performance requirements of the same functions in non-virtualized networks."

    Alcatel-Lucent's new strategy, which parallels industry-wide trends, will put service providers on a pay-as-you-go model, rather than having to buy new equipment to scale capacity, Gartner analyst Akshay Sharma said in an interview.

    Alcatel-Lucent has been working towards the unveiling of NFV capabilities for a while, having previously announced support for both the cloud and functions virtualization, developing capabilities such as the Virtual Service Platform (VSP) at its software-defined networking (SDN) venture Nuage Networks, and stating that its VoLTE support strategy would be based around virtualized functions. (See Alcatel-Lucent Creates NFV Community, Nuage Unveils SDN Gateway, and Alcatel-Lucent CTO States the Case for NFV.)

    "They've been announcing parts of this for a long time, but now they're connecting the dots," Sharma said.

    "The weakness is there may be negative earnings for all vendors with proprietary solutions," Sharma said. But the positive side for vendors such as Alcatel-Lucent is that they'll move from selling equipment to an annuity stream of income that comes from offering services. Vendors may take a hit in the short term, "but it'll benefit companies that are in it for the long haul," he said.

    Related posts:

    — Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to mwagner@lightreading.com.

    (3)  | 
    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
  • Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
    mhhf1ve
    50%
    50%
    mhhf1ve,
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    2/26/2014 | 6:26:23 PM
    Re: NFV Hot House
    MWC seems to have a ton of "wireless networking in the cloud" announcements this year. Datacenters that can optimize and control wireless networks seem to be all the rage, coming from big companies like Intel and startups like Pcell.

    If NFV tech really lowers wireless networking costs, you'd expect AT&T and others to adopt it pretty quickly.. but we'll see how that really plays out. Hopefully the aggresive moves by Tmobile force the bigger players in the US to move quicker and bring down the prices for wireless services.
    smkinoshita
    50%
    50%
    smkinoshita,
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    2/19/2014 | 7:41:01 PM
    Re: NFV Hot House
    I wonder how quickly things will be ramping up?  "Where are we with NFV?" mentions that due to the organizational changes that will be required, it's going to take a pain-based pushed before an organizaiton adopts NFV.

    I've read that AT&T is racing to adopt NFV, which is good news to me since I'm hoping it means Rogers in Canada will too (as if you move to the U.S., you switch carriers to AT&T from what I've been told -- the two have some sort of deal).  

    Internet and mobile in Canada isn't terrible, but compared to the U.S. it's lacking.
    Ray@LR
    100%
    0%
    Ray@LR,
    User Rank: Blogger
    2/19/2014 | 7:15:25 AM
    NFV Hot House
    Wow - Feb 2014 could be called NFV Month....

    The work on Cloudband, which the ALU team was excited about 2 years ago is paying off -- this looks a strong and well-thought out proposition.

    There will be lots of competition for NFV attention at MWC, but showing off at MWC with China Mobile is a good way to get attention and visitors.
    Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
    NEXT COURSE
    Wednesday, September 28, 1:00PM EDT
    Gigabit 101
    Will Barkis, Senior Technology Analyst, Orange
    UPCOMING COURSE SCHEDULE
    Friday, September 30, 1:00PM EDT
    Gigabit & the Great Migration
    Robert Howald, Vice President, Network Architecture, Comcast
    Wednesday, October 5, 1:00PM EDT
    Gigabit & Smart Cities
    Joe Kochan, COO & Co-Founder, US Ignite
    Friday, October 7, 1:00PM EDT
    Gigabit & DOCSIS 3.1
    Ty Pearman, Director, Access Architecture, Comcast
    in association with:
    From The Founder
    Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
    Flash Poll
    Live Streaming Video
    Charting the CSP's Future
    Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
    LRTV Documentaries
    MEC Congress: The Key Takeaways

    9|22|16   |   03:25   |   (3) comments


    Three key takeaways from the Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) Congress in Munich, Germany.
    Wagner’s Ring
    Time to Shut Up About 'Dumb Pipes'

    9|22|16   |     |   (12) comments


    Service providers can't compete with OTT players. It just isn't in their DNA. Instead, service providers need to embrace what they're good at -- providing reliable, secure connectivity.
    Wagner’s Ring
    Keeping Your Tech Career Going After 50

    9|21|16   |     |   (13) comments


    How do you keep your career moving forward when you're past the half-century mark?
    LRTV Interviews
    Peering Into the Digital Future

    9|20|16   |   04:25   |   (0) comments


    Nick Thomas, practice leader of digital media at Ovum, talks about how digital transformation in the technology, media and telecom sectors will enable the development of a new range of applications and services for enterprises and consumers and how the upcoming Digital Futures event in London will examine ...
    LRTV Custom TV
    Napatech Tackles NFV's Major Challenge

    9|7|16   |   08:42   |   (0) comments


    One of the main challenges for network operators introducing NFV is to combine performance and flexibility in a cost-effective way, but there is a solution, explains Napatech's Dan Joe Barry.
    LRTV Custom TV
    Huawei Optical Innovation 2016

    9|6|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Highlights of the 2016 Huawei Optical Innovation forum.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    Are You Ready for Huawei Connect 2016?

    8|31|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Join us for an exclusive sneak peak of Huawei Connect, an integrated conference for the global ICT ecosystem taking place in Shanghai.
    Between the CEOs
    CEO Chat: UXP's Gemini Waghmare

    8|26|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders and UXP Systems CEO Gemini Waghmare discuss the strategic importance of digital identity for operators in the midst of transformation.
    LRTV Custom TV
    F5 Virtual Network Function Integrations With Partner Orchestration Platform

    8|24|16   |   6:38   |   (0) comments


    F5's Kishore Patnam, product manager for F5's service provider solutions, discusses why service providers are moving towards virtualization and how his clients are utilizing F5's solutions.
    Between the CEOs
    CEO Chat: Intel's Alexis Black Bjorlin

    8|17|16   |   06:23   |   (0) comments


    Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
    Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
    Accelerating Telecom Digital Transformation With Nominum DNS

    8|1|16   |   12:04   |   (0) comments


    Light Reading's Steve Saunders gets an update from Nominum CEO Gary Messiana on how his company is helping carriers on the digital transformation journey.
    LRTV Custom TV
    Reinventing Operations for a Virtual, Software-Defined World

    7|28|16   |   5:23   |   (0) comments


    Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Jim Hodges speaks with Accenture's Larry Socher and Matt Anderson about what service providers must do to transform their business to get the benefits of SDN and NFV including: leveraging DevOps, introducing real-time OSS and implementing analytics.
    Upcoming Live Events
    November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
    November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
    December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
    December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
    May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
    All Upcoming Live Events
    Infographics
    Hot Topics
    Keeping Your Tech Career Going After 50
    Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 9/21/2016
    Time to Shut Up About 'Dumb Pipes'
    Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 9/22/2016
    Comcast Will Go Wireless in 2017
    Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 9/20/2016
    Sprint CEO: We'll Lease Spectrum as Soon as Possible
    Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 9/20/2016
    Like Us on Facebook
    Twitter Feed
    BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
    Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders and UXP Systems CEO Gemini Waghmare discuss the strategic importance of digital identity for operators in the midst of transformation.
    Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
    Animals with Phones
    You Thought Your Customer Service Was Unreliable... Click Here
    Live Digital Audio

    A vital part of increasing the number of women in comms is transforming the ways companies can support and empower women. While progressive company policies that support both men and women in achieving work-life balance are a step in the right direction, creating a company culture that supports those policies can at times be more challenging.

    During this show, we'll talk to Lynn Comp, Senior Director of Industry and Sales Enabling (ISE) in the Network Platforms Group at Intel, about why those challenges exist and how companies can overcome them. She'll provide insight into how Intel has worked to create a culture that supports work-life balance, and provide steps and guidance for other companies wishing to do the same. We will also leave plenty of time to get your questions answered live on the air.