Broadband services

Virtualized Residential Gateways Yield 40% Savings – AlcaLu

Communications service providers can cut operating costs by up to 40% by virtualizing complex residential gateway functions into the network cloud, according to a study by Alcatel-Lucent's Bell Labs.

Residential gateways are becoming more capable and complex with the increased demands from households accessing cloud applications and bandwidth of 100 Mbit/s or more. Greater complexity leads to greater support challenges and cost, according to the Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) Bell Labs study, released Tuesday.

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A virtualized residential gateway (vRGW) moves functions such as IP routing and network address translation (NAT) into the cloud, centralizing management and control and reducing operations costs.

In addition to cutting costs and improving customer experience, a virtualized gateway allows CSPs to introduce new services more rapidly and consistently, driving providers to New IP networks.

A vRGW reduces service fulfillment costs by 7% to 12%, with faster activation of upgrades and new services and fewer home visits by technicians, AlcaLu says. Service assurance costs are reduced 63% to 67%, streamlining response to trouble tickets. And lifecycle management is reduced 66% -- a big savings proportionally although lifecycle management costs are relatively small.

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Martian17 12/16/2015 | 3:02:28 PM
Re: Scale The key is simplifying the Residential Gateway by moving complex functionality out of the home and virtualizing it in the network, completely in control of the provider. These functions (for multiple homes) can be integrated on a physical BNG or a standalone router/gateway chassis, that is in the "defacto" data-path of the home traffic..or could be on a virtual (x86 based) BNG/Gateway that can horizontally scale depending on the number of homes served. There is no hair-pinning. 

Additionally, certain value-added opt-in services that typically require L4-L7 visibility and state, can be in the cloud with the vRGW steering traffic to these services on a per home (and potentially per device) basis. 

The concept as such has been under active discussions in the Broadband Forum.

mendyk 12/16/2015 | 11:11:06 AM
Re: Scale Also, the 40% opex savings is specific to the gateways themselves and not to opex in general, correct?
Mitch Wagner 12/16/2015 | 10:14:44 AM
Re: Scale Great points, dwx! I'll see if I can get AlcaLu to comment on this. 
dwx 12/16/2015 | 10:08:31 AM
Scale How would they propose doing this for a SP with 100K+ customers in the same general area with 20Mbps+ connections?  I don't know about hairpinning this amount of traffic in and out of a cloud datacenter, the traffic levels are just too high really.  You also can't build an x86 infrastructure to handle that amount of traffic either, it would be prohibitively expensive at this point.  Really there needs to be ways to handle specific flows through these higher touch type service gateways.  For the bulk of residential subscribers viewing Netflix or other OTT streaming video, using a cloud gateway doesn't make any sense since it just adds cost vs. a direct network path.  
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