At Mobile World Congress this week in Barcelona, Alcatel-Lucen (ALU) expanded its relationship with Intel to combine resources and expertise, launched its suite of virtualized network functions, and joined forces with Telefonica to accelerate NFV.
Intel Collaboration to drive industry to the cloud
Alcatel-Lucent announced it has expanded its collaboration with Intel (INTC) to help operators worldwide improve their time to market and operational efficiency, and to drive the creative development of new products and services for consumers and business customers with the use of cloud technologies. Specifically the expanded collaboration will focus on Virtualized Radio Access Networks (RAN) portfolio, developing and optimizing Alcatel-Lucent's CloudBand NFV platform, and high-performance packet processing for advanced IP/MPLS platforms and cabinets.
“There are billions of devices and machines making up the Internet of Things that will connect to the network in the next few years consuming increasing amounts of bandwidth and network resources. However, the current economics and lack of flexibility in telecom networks is unsustainable,” said Renee James, President of Intel Corporation. “Intel is working with industry leaders such as Alcatel-Lucent to leverage server and virtualization technology in telecom networks, data centers and the cloud, with the goal of reducing costs and making it easier to deploy new services.”
Virtualized mobile network functions virtualization
Alcatel-Lucent also announced that it is delivering a portfolio of virtualized mobile network function applications – evolved packet core (EPC), IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) and radio access network (RAN) - and extending them to the cloud. Alcatel-Lucent and China Mobile are co-demonstrating voice and video delivered over a virtualized proof of concept LTE RAN Baseband Unit (BBU) and virtualized evolved packet core (vEPC) onboarded to the cloud by CloudBand 2.0. NFV enables network automation and efficient use of resources for rapid scaling up and down of services. Applied correctly, it will optimize delivery of services such as voice over LTE (VoLTE), Web real time communications (Web RTC), secure mobile communications for enterprises and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications.
“Each mobile operator will have different priorities and want to take their own specific path to NFV, based on their business priorities and the state of their network and operations readiness," said Marcus Weldon, Corporate Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Alcatel-Lucent and Bell Labs President. "Building on our strong IP foundation, we have pioneered an open SDN and NFV architecture that combines the best of IP with the best of IT, to create a truly carrier-grade cloud network solution. Our accelerated investments in virtualized telecom applications, our CloudBand 2.0 platform and our Nuage Networks SDN venture are clear proof points that we have all the elements to help operators create an open agile, efficient cloud environment at a speed that meets their individual needs.”
Alcatel-Lucent and Telefonica co-innovate for network virtualization infrastructure
Alcatel-Lucent announced that it has signed a co-innovation agreement with Telefónica to drive innovation and adoption of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) by the telecommunications industry, building on the strength of a shared vision. The partnership will use the CloudBand NFV platform to identify and develop process models to help service providers decide which elements within the network should be virtualized and when. Virtualization of network functions allow decoupling of the software-based functions from the physical infrastructure enabling service providers such as Telefónica to greatly reduce operating costs through a more efficient management of the physical infrastructure, which can be reused for playing different functionalities.
Using Alcatel-Lucent’s CloudBand platform, the co-development program with Telefónica will define NFV-evolved architectures, identify and test different NFV scenarios and environments. The companies will create will create a joint NFV research facility, as well as invest in certification programs, and engagement with other service providers. As The Shift Plan industrially repositions Alcatel-Lucent as a specialist vendor of IP, cloud and ultra-broadband access, the agreement with Telefónica underlines the operator’s endorsement of this strategic direction, and the value it will bring to operators and service providers.
“The intimacy required for a successful collaboration between large enterprises does not come easily," said Enrique Blanco, Global CTO of Telefónica. Fortunately, we have an excellent track record of successfully working with Alcatel-Lucent around the world. We know each other very well. I am confident that what we achieve over the course of the next year in the realm of virtualization will have major benefits for our two companies and the industry as a whole.”