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        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.
    Educational Resources
    sponsor supplied content
    Educational Resources Archive
    From The Founder
    Against the odds, Huawei is growing its telecoms networking equipment business in the US -- that should be ringing some alarm bells for domestic vendors.
    Flash Poll
    Live Streaming Video
    CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
    Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
    Between the CEOs
    Metaswitch's New CEO Martin Lund Discusses His Role

    9|2|15   |   11:27   |   (3) comments


    Technology industry veteran Martin Lund joins Metaswitch Networks this week as the company's new CEO. In this interview, Lund discusses his new role and the industry's progress with Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders. Lund believes that the industry disruption caused by SDN and NFV is creating opportunities for companies like Metaswitch – network software providers ...
    Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
    Nominum on Leveraging the Power of DNS to Deliver Superior Subscriber Experiences

    9|2|15   |   07:13   |   (0) comments


    Nominum CEO Gary Messiana talks about the challenges service providers face in competing for a much more sophisticated customer, a customer that has heightened expectations for more personalized and compelling digital experiences. Providers are focusing their efforts on delivering higher value subscriber services, retaining their existing customers and increasing ...
    Between the CEOs
    CEO Chat With Jeff Miller, ActiveVideo

    8|28|15   |   19:05   |   (0) comments


    Jeff Miller, President and CEO of ActiveVideo, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the impact of virtualization on the TV and video distribution market.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    Vodafone: Mobile Money Is About Customer Trust

    8|27|15   |   06.36   |   (0) comments


    Light Reading spoke with Vodafone's Ian Ravenscroft about the unique responsibilities and opportunities facing operators handling customers' financial transactions over the network.
    Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
    Palo Alto Networks on Expanding in the Carrier/Service Provider Market

    8|26|15   |   07:54   |   (0) comments


    Alfred Lee from Palo Alto Networks tells Steve Saunders about their new chassis-based system, the PA-7080, and how it can benefit service providers compared to legacy firewalls.
    LRTV Custom TV
    Global Services Forum Preview

    8|25|15   |   02:36   |   (0) comments


    Light Reading's CEO and Founder Steve Saunders talks about Huawei's upcoming Global Services Forum with the help of Heavy Reading's Patrick Donegan and Teresa Mastrangelo.
    Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
    Infoblox on DNS Threat Index

    8|19|15   |   04:39   |   (0) comments


    Dilip Pillaipakam from Infoblox talks to Steve Saunders about his company's core network services.
    Between the CEOs
    CEO Chat With Ihab Tarazi, Equinix

    8|14|15   |   20:18   |   (1) comment


    Equinix CTO Ihab Tarazi talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the dramatic changes in the data center, cloud and interconnect markets and discusses the impact of SDN and NFV in the coming years.
    Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
    The Netformx Ecosystem

    8|14|15   |   09:39   |   (1) comment


    Ittai Bareket, CEO of Netformx, talks with Steve Saunders about the Netformx Ecosystem, which employs cutting-edge prescriptive analytics to help solution providers maximize profits.
    Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
    Versa Networks on Leveraging VNFs

    8|12|15   |   07:37   |   (0) comments


    Kumar Mehta, founder and CEO of stealth mode startup Versa Networks, talks with Steve Saunders about how providers can best leverage virtualized network functions (VNFs).
    LRTV Custom TV
    Transforming the Network Through OPNFV

    8|5|15   |   7:09   |   (0) comments


    Sandra Rivera, VP Data Center Group; GM Network Platforms Group, Intel Corporation, on OPNFV Arno and how the industry is coming together to accelerate the deployment of NFV and transform the network.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    Huawei ONS Product Demo

    8|3|15   |   6:01   |   (0) comments


    Huawei shows at Open Networking Summit 2015 in Santa Clara how its SDN and NFV solutions embrace openness.
    Upcoming Live Events
    September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
    September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
    September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
    September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
    October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
    November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
    November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
    December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
    December 2, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
    All Upcoming Live Events
    Infographics
    Cisco's cloud and virtualization portfolio can increase business agility and innovation by building a more flexible network architecture.
    Hot Topics
    T-Mobile CEO Plays Data Traffic Cop
    Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 8/31/2015
    CEO Chat With Bill Gates
    Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 8/31/2015
    Time to Monetize Cable WiFi
    Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 8/31/2015
    Carolina Town Becomes First US 10-Gig City
    Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 9/3/2015
    Eurobites: Anite in OSS Tie-Up With Nokia
    Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 9/4/2015
    Like Us on Facebook
    Twitter Feed
    September 22, 2015
    Media Begins With “Me”
    Webinar Archive
    BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
    Technology industry veteran Martin Lund joins Metaswitch Networks this week as the company's new CEO. In this interview, Lund discusses his new role and the industry's progress with Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders. Lund believes that the industry disruption caused by SDN and NFV is creating opportunities for companies like Metaswitch – network software providers with the agility to embrace new technologies quickly and the ability to deliver on substantial projects for global network operators.
    The scene: Last Saturday, lunchtime, the interior of a shi-shi-foo-foo eatery in Manhattan's SoHo district.
    Cats with Phones
    It's a New Age... Click Here
    When smartphones replace stuffed animals.