Packet core

Affirmed & Elephant Talk Build a Virtual EPC

Managed SDN platform specialist Elephant Talk has added NFV capabilities from Affirmed Networks to its architecture, enabling the pair to offer virtualized evolved packet cores (EPCs) to mobile operators.

Elephant Talk Communications Corp. (NYSE MKT:ETAK) announced the addition of Affirmed Networks Inc. to its software platform, which also includes HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ), on Monday. Specifically, it's adding Affirmed's GGSN/DPI functionality for core networks to its Software DNA 2.0 core network management platform. The pair say the combo is already powering fully virtualized EPCs for operators of both 3G and 4G networks in Europe and the Middle East.

Affirmed is one of the vendors included in AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s Supplier Domain 2.0 program, although the US carrier wasn't among those named as an Elephant Talk customer in today's release. Elephant Talk says it's providing its virtualized core network management platform to Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) in Spain, Zain Group in the Middle East and Grupo Iusacell S.A. de C.V. in Latin America. (See AT&T Adds Brocade, Ciena, Cisco to Its SDN, NFV Program and AT&T's Cloud Future Takes Shape.)

For more on virtualization, head over to the carrier SDN content channel on Light Reading.

Why this matters
Virtualizing the EPC is an important priority for any wireless operator pursuing SDN and NFV. Deploying a standard software platform to replace custom hardware in the EPC boosts the potential for faster time to market for new services, operational flexibility and cost savings. Having actual operator deployments under their belts is good validation for Affirmed Networks and Elephant Talk -- which are competing against bigger names such as Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) -- and also provides reference points for virtualized EPCs in general.

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— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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