NFV Strategies

Leading Lights 2015 Finalists: Most Innovative NFV Deployment

Service provider finalists for the Most Innovative NFV Deployment Strategy (Network/Data Center Operator) category of Leading Lights are looking to network virtualization to help achieve cost savings and business agility.

Our two shortlisted entries have both of those goals very much in mind.

Serbian operator Vip mobile is part of the Telekom Austria Group , which has an ambitious plan to virtualize all network functions.

CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL) is combining network functions virtualization with a company realignment from a traditional telco to an IT-based organization.

Vip mobile
The goal for Telekom Austria Group, the parent company of Vip mobile, is to have all network functions running on commercial off-the-shelf hardware in distributed telecom data centers, with vendor interoperability allowing mixing and matching network functions arbitrarily. Achieved milestones include virtualized EPC, virtualized open source IMS and virtualized PCRF, culminating in deployment of a fully virtualized VoLTE stack in a live network.

The company expects the virtualized EPC will yield savings as data traffic grows and the company can rely on specialized hardware and software vendors for economies of scale.

The company looks to the virtualized open source IMS to define a fresh relationship with open source communities after some success using open source for IT.

The company plans for its virtualized PCRF solution to improve flexibility, time to market and improved costs.

During the past year, Telekom Austria performed and reported successful trials including proof of concept for a virtualized EPC solution in Mtel, a Bulgarian subsidiary and Vipnet, a Croatian subsidiary. The EPC trials were done in conjunction with vendors Connectem and Affirmed Networks.

Vip Operator, the Macedonian subsidiary of Telekom Austria, tested a VoLTE service with virtualized Telephony Application Server (TAS) running on a virtualized IMS, improving network flexibility and innovation, as well as rapid release cycles for voice services.

As for Vip mobile, it completed a project based on a virtualized open-source IMS, verifying that open source is easily available and ready for commercial deployment.

The Serbian operator deployed a fully virtualized VoLTE stack on its live network, with virtualized EPC capabilities from Connectem, virtualized IMS based on Project Clearwater from Metaswitch and virtualized VoLTE application server using OpenCloud's Rhino Sentinel system. The project started in December 2014 and VoLTE was deployed in less than two months, by the end of January 2015.


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Led by CTO Aamir Hussain and VP of Network Strategy and Development James Feger, CenturyLink is realigning its cloud and on-demand network-service plans in order to transform itself from a traditional telco to an IT-based company that can offer advanced cloud IP services.

CenturyLink is building its new organization around a cloud platform, combining both cloud and network operations, to improve agility, with the flexibility to innovate much more quickly. Implementing more software elements into the network is a key part of the transition, leveraging NFV and SDN to enable more on-demand services to customers beyond CenturyLink's cloud centers. CenturyLink is looking to enable customers to control more of their user experience, using one simplified and automated platform. CenturyLink is also working to deploy new services to enterprise and SMB customers across the company's footprint more rapidly and cost effectively.

To achieve its goals, CenturyLink devised its Programmable Services Backbone (PSB), which provides an SDN-based platform for the carrier to deliver new business services, and selected Cyan's Blue Planet NFV orchestrator for the delivery of virtualized functions. This functionality enables CenturyLink to instantiate virtual network functions (VNF) from multiple vendors, tying together virtualized functions and legacy hardware elements to more quickly build and deploy new services. Additionally, the technology allows CenturyLink to tie together internal resources such as data centers, networks and managed services.

Targeting the SMB market requires significant time, money, effort and people. Because of the complexity, SMBs have typically turned to local communications service integrators to help source what they need, rather than traditional telcos. CenturyLink is seeking to fill a need for quicker, more automated service configuration and provisioning.


The Leading Lights 2015 winners and newest class of Hall of Fame inductees will be unveiled at the Leading Lights awards dinner, which will be held the evening of Monday, June 8, at Chicago's Field Museum. The star-studded soirée will follow a day of special workshops covering topics such as SDN, 5G and Carrier Ethernet for the Cloud that take place ahead of Light Reading's Big Telecom Event (BTE), which this year is being held at the McCormick Place Convention Center on June 9 and 10. (Details and the agenda are on our show site, Big Telecom Event.)

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to [email protected]

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