& 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.
    From The Founder
    Either we perform a complete 'factory reset' on the way the telecom industry creates and deploys virtualization, or we face the consequences.
    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 Custom TV
    The Urgency of Commercial 5G Services

    4|26|17   |     |   (0) comments


    The progress of 5G has been closely monitored in the industry. At the 2017 Brooklyn 5G Summit, the sense of urgency for a commercial 5G launch had started to surface among operators.
    Women in Comms Introduction Videos
    How Diversity Helps Comcast Mirror Its Customer Base

    4|26|17   |   2:55   |   (0) comments


    Diversity brings innovation, creative ideas and a way to reflect the broad spectrum of your customer base, Comcast Director of Customer Experience Jenelle Champlin says.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    Mobile Operators & Video

    4|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


    Ovum's Ed Barton discusses the latest mobile operator strategies for mobile video.
    LRTV Custom TV
    Infinera Introduces Instant Network

    4|20|17   |     |   (1) comment


    Mike Capuano, vice president of marketing at Infinera, discusses the advancement from Instant Bandwidth to new Instant Network capabilities, which include Bandwidth License Pools, Moveable Licenses and Automated Capacity Engineering (ACE).
    Women in Comms Introduction Videos
    Vodafone's Eubank on Sponsors, Mentors & Moving On Up

    4|19|17   |   4:25   |   (0) comments


    Vodafone America's Head of Operations Kimberly Eubank breaks down the difference between a sponsor and a mentor and shares why both made a big difference in her career.
    LRTV Custom TV
    NYC Auto Show: Are We Smart Yet?

    4|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


    The auto industry is facing some big transformations as electric vehicles, autonomous technology and connected cars are seen as the future of the industry. During the much-anticipated NY international auto show, there was an emergence of new technology and mobility service on the show floor. Aside from performance, brands like Lincoln, Hyundai, Honda, Mercedes and ...
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    The Impact of Video

    4|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


    David Mercer from Strategy Analytics discusses the impact of video on current strategies.
    LRTV Custom TV
    Pardeep Kohli Discusses Network Transformation & the Market Opportunity for the 'New' Mavenir Systems

    4|13|17   |     |   (0) comments


    In a brief discussion at MWC 2017, Heavy Reading analyst Adi Kishore talks to Pardeep Kohli, CEO, Mavenir Systems about the creation of the 'new Mavenir' and some of the key challenges facing operators in today's market. A key theme of the discussion centers around operator need for software-only, virtualized solutions and how they will need to adapt to ...
    Women in Comms Introduction Videos
    Tech Maverick Shares Her Tips for Gender Inclusivity

    4|12|17   |   7:28   |   (0) comments


    Wendy Hall Bohling, a corporate escapee, author and gender exclusivity consultant, tells her story of sexism, bias and progress along the road to gender equality in the workforce.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    Huawei at MWC 2017

    4|11|17   |     |   (0) comments


    At Mobile World Congress 2017, the biggest mobile industry gathering of the year, Huawei showcased its new innovations and solutions with the theme "Open Road," which focuses on cloud, 5G, operation transformation, videos and consumer-oriented products. Its campaign has been recognized by three awards given by GSMA.
    LRTV Custom TV
    China Telecom NFV Infrastructure on RSD

    4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


    Lynn Comp, senior director of market development of Intel, is joined by Chong Zhang, storage engineer at Inspur and Ou Li Yan, architect for technology strategies of China Telecom, for a discussion of what NFV brings.
    LRTV Custom TV
    Nokia's IMPACT Software Demo

    4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


    Khamis Abulgubein of IoT market development at Nokia demonstrates IMPACT (intelligent management platform for all connected things), a software solution with a horizontal approach to managing any device on any application.
    Upcoming Live Events
    May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
    May 15, 2017, Brazos Hall - Austin, TX
    May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
    June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
    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
    Surprise! AT&T Markets 4G Advances as '5G Evolution'
    Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/25/2017
    Did Verizon Outbid AT&T for Straight Path?
    Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/25/2017
    First Year TIPs the Scale Toward Success
    Denise Culver, 4/24/2017
    Ericsson's Q1 Even Worse Than Feared
    Iain Morris, News Editor, 4/25/2017
    Like Us on Facebook
    Twitter Feed
    BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
    One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
    TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
    Live Digital Audio

    Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.