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NFV (Network functions virtualization)

Telstra CTO: Unlike IMS, NFV Is Inevitable

The introduction of network functions virtualization (NFV) into telco operations is like "the tide rolling in -- that's going to happen," according to Hugh Bradlow, the CTO at Telstra, who is examining all sorts of technology innovations and figuring out how they will be deployed and adopted by telcos and users.

The Telstra Corp. Ltd. (ASX: TLS; NZK: TLS) technologist talked to Light Reading during the recent Broadband World Forum event in Amsterdam about his role at the Australian operator and his views on certain technology developments: You can see what he had to say in this Prime Reading feature -- Telstra CTO Explores the Tech Horizon.

I also talked with Bradlow about the previous time we sat down for a chat, which was in London some years ago, when IMS was being touted as the next big architectural shift for telcos. At the time, though, Bradlow was somewhat dismissive of the hype around IMS and, he believes, the jury is still out on the importance of the IP Multimedia Subsystem.

"IMS is neither fish nor fowl. There are some applications that need IMS but there are others that haven't taken off. We continue to wrestle with it but it's not taking over," notes the Telstra CTO, who turned to 4G voice services as an example of the uncertainty around the adoption of certain IMS capabilities.

Telstra, he notes, uses circuit-switched fallback (CSFB) to deliver voice services to 4G LTE customers, "and that works well. So is there a pressing need for [IMS-based] VoLTE? Not currently. Will there be a pressing need for VoLTE eventually? Probably. It's not an industry journey that's over yet." (See Telstra Extends 4G Coverage.)

— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

Carol Wilson 11/25/2013 | 2:14:01 PM
Singing the same song Every network operator with whom I've discussed NFV says the same thing - is anyone singing a different song, or maybe this same one but a little offkey?
DOShea 11/26/2013 | 11:47:11 AM
Re: Singing the same song What were people saying in the early days of IMS? Surely, many of them said at the time that it was invevitable, unlike, maybe ISDN? Or some other technology migration from the 1990s that didn't play out as hoped?
Carol Wilson 11/26/2013 | 11:51:46 AM
Re: Singing the same song That's not the way I remember it -- many of the same drivers were there but there wasn't the same sense of urgency around IMS. 
Liz Greenberg 11/26/2013 | 9:20:33 PM
Re: Singing the same song I agree with you Carol. Additionally, one could probably argue that there will be some confluence of IMS and NFV in reality.  Given that NFV allows for virtualization, it could easily take part within the IMS scheme.
Cellco 11/30/2013 | 1:20:37 PM
Re: Singing the same song The stipulation of 4G without IMS and the chatty nature of IMS compared to SOA are my only hesitation with IMS.  With NFV, we have similar drivers to IMS; the ability to utilize BSS data in addition to OSS and Feature parameters from vendor products (video, voice, data) in convergence.  So I agree with all three of you because of the condition Telstra puts on 4G vs LTE.  If the carriers continue to define service objects based on vendor feature parameters, we can do without IMS.
DanJones 11/30/2013 | 3:42:14 PM
Re: Singing the same song And are we certain carriers won't be saying that about NFV in 3 years? I remember when IMS was absolutely a must-have for 4G. Times change, I suppose, accronyms change, hairstyles change...
[email protected] 11/30/2013 | 4:07:03 PM
Re: Singing the same song I think that is the concern of the carrieres in the EYTSI NFV group - before they actually press ahead with the introduction of NFV they want to be sure they're not giving  themselves another headache that comes with unfulfilled promises. NOthing is guaranteed, of course, but they seem to be more wary of the pitfalls and have taken control of the process more than with other tech developments.

FYI - my hairstyle hasn't changed in 30 years...

 
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