Nokia Network's big news week continues Thursday with a particularly important one in the world of NFV. The vendor is making its first virtualized network function commercially available in the form of voice-over-LTE (VoLTE).
Cloud-based VoLTE is a first for Nokia Networks , which claims it's the "first commercial NFV solution" compliant with the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) NFV architecture that is still under development. The announcement builds on its February introduction of NFV-based IMS, and it's planning its first network implementation with a major operator before the end of the year. (See NSN Turns Up Pre-MWC Volume, Nokia, Juniper Team To Target Telco Cloud and Report: NFV/SDN Standards 'Myopic' on Service Management.)
According to Sandro Tavares, head of marketing for Nokia Networks' mobile core unit, running VoLTE in the cloud makes it easier to scale, more cost effective and gives it the flexibility to handle varying traffic loads automatically. (See NSN Boasts Virtual VoLTE Tests and VoLTE in a Hybrid Network World.)
"When on a cloud infrastructure, you'll have all the processing power available from the cloud data center and you can scale in and out functionality based on demand," Tavares explains.
The vendor is also unveiling its Cloud Network Director, an orchestration tool to deploy, configure, optimize and repair virtual functions such as VoLTE, which is also ETSI compliant, meaning it can integrate with existing OSS/BSS offerings and play nice with other vendors. That said, Nokia is also providing professional services and a telco cloud partner certification program, because it wants to be the vendor at the heart of operators' NFV strategy, even if it is not the only one.
"We offer the same functionality and same integration interfaces regardless of the underlying hardware architecture, so we can define together with the customer what's the easiest, most interesting way to evolve," Tavares says, adding that it doesn't matter whether the operator is using a legacy hardware architecture or wants to stick with the cloud alone going forward.
The next step for Nokia -- and the rest of the industry, Tavares says -- is virtualizing the Evolved Packet Core (EPC). He says this is the direction most operators want to move in next, but they also plan to continue to build on their new VoLTE launches. Tavares says that other communications services such as voice-over-WiFi, video calling and rich communications are also prime candidates for virtualization. (See The Rise of Virtual EPC and NSN Gets Its Cloud On.)
Nokia has been making a series of announcements this week in the build up to Super Mobility Week in Las Vegas:
- Nokia, Intel Open Apps Innovation Hub
- Nokia Networks, China Telecom Boast FDD-TDD Carrier Aggregation
- Nokia Networks Boosts RAN Capacity, Upgrades Liquid Radio
- Nokia Networks Boasts CEM Advance
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading