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Packet core

Juniper & Affirmed Target Virtual Core

Juniper is getting into the core of virtual mobile networks through a new deal with startup Affirmed Networks.

Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) and Affirmed Networks Inc. are looking to build on the startup's virtual Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) success with a virtual network architecture aimed at helping operators deploy new services faster and more cheaply. The reference architecture combines Affirmed's Mobile Content Cloud virtualized evolved packet core solution (vEPC) with Juniper Networks' virtualization portfolio.

In case you've forgotten, a vEPC takes the traditional 4G LTE packet core gateway functions -- tracking user mobility on the network, maintaining wireless data connections, and more -- and runs it via software on Intel X86-based servers. Affirmed is a leading player in this emerging space with 35 carrier customers now using its software, and more trials underway. (See Evolved Packet Core (EPC), Juniper, Affirmed Team on NFV, Affirmed Lands Deal in Spain, NFV Made IoT Profitable for STC, Says Affirmed and CEO Chat With Hassan Ahmed, Affirmed Networks.)

Virtualizing core mobile network functions gets increasingly significant when operators are looking to deploy machine-to-machine (M2M) communications services to get in on the anticipated Internet of Things (IoT) boom. Software makes much more sense than costly custom hardware additions to the network because typically each IoT device only makes a small amount of revenue, but networks may need to support millions -- perhaps billions -- of IoT devices over time. Affirmed has been selling the idea that software makes such services economically feasible of late.

Affirmed is checking for us exactly when the joint product will be generally available.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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