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NFV (Network functions virtualization)

Genband Starts NFV Push With Distributed SBC

ORLANDO, Fla. – Genband Perspectives -- Genband has been relatively quiet about its plans for NFV, but that is set to change this week at its annual Perspectives show, where the networking vendor will highlight plans for a "full-blown NFV architecture" starting with a distributed SBC.

In its most recent show last fall, a dominant theme was Genband's move to virtualization, but CMO Brad Bush recognizes that there is a big difference between being "virtual" and hardware independent and actually supporting NFV. Right now, all of Genband's software can run on non-proprietary hardware, but its first step on the path to a full NFV trial system will start with a distributed session border controller (SBC). (See Genband Goes Virtual at (Actual) Show.)

In this model, signaling would happen at the edge of the network, while media is handled by a much larger server at the core. "We can take and build a big box to handle media," Bush says. "We can make smaller virtualized boxes at the edge, so you get best of both worlds."

Bush says its distributed SBC is in technical trials now and will begin full trials in the third quarter. In the meantime, it will continue to work on aligning its products with NFV's core tenants of elasticity and orchestration, adds Sanjay Bhatia, Genband's senior director of product marketing. He says Genband will remain agnostic and work on multiple cloud environments, including OpenStack.

"Telecom is five to 10 years behind IT industry in virtualization," Bush adds. "In NFV as an architecture, it's different. I think with SDN and NFV combined where you can take care of the transport side and application side, you'll start to see more virtualization at a more rapid pace."

WebRTC & IP in focus
Outside of NFV, the other big focus of the show will be WebRTC, which Bush claims Genband is six months ahead of the competition with its SpiDR gateway currently in several customer deployments. WebRTC, he says, is the catalyst for communications being more ubiquitous, device independent, and embeddable in apps. Perspectives will also tackle the important topic of how to make money with WebRTC in different verticals, an issue that has held a lot of wireless operators back. (See Genband Builds a Gateway to WebRTC, WebRTC in the Wild, and What WebRTC Means for Telcos.)

And, finally, Genband will continue to play up one of its most important themes: network transformation. The vendor is launching a new campaign to help operators migrate from TDM to IP, including new ways to finance the transformation through green energy credits. Bush sees the IP transformation picking up steam with the FCC's rural broadband transition initiative, and Genband is busy talking to its big customers about how to make the move themselves. (See Bolder Is Better for IP Transformation and Genband Plots Funding of TDM Death March.)

"They're excited about wrapping up green energy savings with finance, power, and heating changes to their network, and the good thing is when you transform, you get all the other things like IP communications that comes with it," he says.

Light Reading is in hot and sunny Orlando for the show, so check back for more updates on NFV, WebRTC, and pictures of whatever other Cheap Tricks Genband has in store this week.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

kingcharles 6/9/2014 | 2:51:54 PM
Re: NFV Perspectives Genbands roadmap is a joke. Don't expect a real product for another 18 months...
Mitch Wagner 6/9/2014 | 12:54:10 PM
Re: NFV Perspectives Genband is one of several vendors starting to deploy NFV in products (and if I wasn't congenitally lazy I'd post company names and links to articles here). We can expect to see those products rolling out into carriers presently.

In other news: I admit to only having a vague idea of what WebRTC is and what it does, so I've bookmarked a few past LR articles with headlines promising to deliver explanations. Expect me to be an expert by the end of the week.
sarahthomas1011 6/9/2014 | 12:32:29 PM
NFV Perspectives Any questions for Genband, let me know here. I'm looking forward to a good show with lots of discussion on NFV. It will be interesting to see the vendor lay out its roadmap now that some of its competitors (MetaSwitch, for one) have. Genband has been quiet on it in the past, but that will change this week. 

 
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