Light Reading

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
    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.
    Educational Resources
    sponsor supplied content
    Educational Resources Archive
    Flash Poll
    From The Founder
    Networks of the future will rely on "white box" switches and servers rather than proprietary hardware and that's going to alter the shape of the communications industry. Who says so? John Chambers.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    eLTE Rapid Meets the Need for Speed

    3|26|15   |   4:45   |   (0) comments


    Designed especially for emergency and dedicated ad hoc local mobile communications coverage, Huawei's eLTE Rapid solution can deliver trunked voice, video and data coverage for multiple users over a 6km range and be set up in just 15 minutes, explains Huawei's Norman Frisch.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    On Videos: Challenges & Opportunities

    3|26|15   |   5:56   |   (0) comments


    Most everything is now connected. And along with 4K and 4G technologies, everyone could be creating and broadcasting video contents. Users are expecting better video experience with any screen, anywhere and anytime. Operators will meet new challenges, but also see some big opportunities.
    LRTV Custom TV
    JDSU: Delivering Dynamic Networks for a Personalized Experience

    3|26|15   |   5:59   |   (0) comments


    Light Reading speaks to JDSU at Mobile World Congress 2015 about new solutions in the areas of HetNets, VoLTE, backhaul, virtualization, big data analytics, and real-time intelligence.
    LRTV Custom TV
    Smarter Service Chaining & New Ways to Benefit From Qosmos Technology

    3|25|15   |   03:11   |   (0) comments


    David Le Goff, director of strategic and product marketing at Qosmos, explains how the company has added application awareness to subscriber information to make service chaining more efficient and reduce costs for networking and infrastructure. In addition, Qosmos technology, which has been delivered as C libraries, is now also available as a virtual machine, ...
    Between the CEOs
    Qosmos CEO: The Changing Face of DPI

    3|24|15   |   13:53   |   (0) comments


    LR CEO and Founder Steve Saunders sits down with the head of Qosmos to talk about the changing state of the art in deep packet inspection technology, including its role in SDN and NFV architectures. Also, how the comms market is becoming more like the automotive industry.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    FC Schalke Scores With Its Agile Stadium

    3|24|15   |   6:23   |   (0) comments


    Top German soccer club FC Schalke 04 has deployed a new, agile WiFi network from Huawei in its Veltins-Arena stadium and is reaping the benefits in terms of customer satisfaction and business opportunities, explains marketing chief Alexander Jobst.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    Huawei’s Insights on Mobile Video

    3|24|15   |   7:51   |   (0) comments


    More people than ever are now watching videos on smartphones. Seventy percent of mobile traffic will be video traffic until 2018. In this video, Huawei's exports give their insights on mobile video in terms of business model, network planning and 4G network construction.
    LRTV Documentaries
    The Rise of Industry 4.0

    3|24|15   |   02:26   |   (8) comments


    Are you ready for the fourth industrial revolution? It's a big deal for influential operators such as Deutsche Telekom.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    Getting Connected With eLTE

    3|23|15   |   06:04   |   (0) comments


    Trunked radio communications have entered the 4G LTE world, and with Huawei's eLTE solution, can now deliver a full range of data and video services as well as push-to-talk voice, explains Huawei's Norman Frisch.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    Funkwerk’s on Track With Huawei

    3|19|15   |   3:23   |   (0) comments


    GSM-R technology specialist Funkwerk and Huawei have forged a partnership that is benefiting both parties, notes Funkwerk's Gottfried Winter.
    LRTV Documentaries
    How EANTC Tested Cisco's Virtualization Solutions

    3|18|15   |   5:49   |   (0) comments


    Carsten Rossenhövel, managing director of independent test lab EANTC, tells Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the innovative approach his team had to take when validating Cisco's service provider virtualization and cloud solutions.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    Converged Communications: Working Simply & Smartly

    3|17|15   |   03.24   |   (0) comments


    Edwin Diender, CTO of Huawei's Enterprise Switch & Communications division, outlines the four main pillars of Huawei's unified communications portfolio and explains how the addition of 4K video capabilities has helped Huawei develop a groundbreaking videoconferencing solution.
    Upcoming Live Events
    April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
    May 5, 2015, Hyatt McCormick Place, Chicago, IL
    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
    All Upcoming Live Events
    Infographics
    Hot Topics
    Women in Tech Coming Into Focus
    Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 3/20/2015
    Will Open Source Groups Keep Windows Open?
    Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 3/20/2015
    Google Hires Wall Street's Most Influential Woman as CFO
    Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 3/24/2015
    The Rise of Industry 4.0
    Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 3/24/2015
    Net Neutrality Suits: Only The Beginning?
    Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 3/24/2015
    Like Us on Facebook
    Twitter Feed
    Webinar Archive
    BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
    LR CEO and Founder Steve Saunders sits down with the head of Qosmos to talk about the changing state of the art in deep packet inspection technology, including its role in SDN and NFV architectures.
    Chattanooga’s EPB publicly owned utility comms company has become a poster child for how to enable a local economy using next-gen networking technology. Steve Saunders, Founder of Light Reading, sits down with Harold DePriest, president and CEO of EPB, to learn how EPB is bringing big time tech to small town America.
    Cats with Phones
    More Is More Click Here
    T-Mobile's Buy One Get One Free deal was too much for Fluffy to pass up. He decided more was more.
    Latest Comment