DOCOMO completes trials on ‘Network Functions Virtualization’

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Japan’s NTT DOCOMO, INC., a personalized mobile solutions provider for smarter living, has been working separately with three different world-leading vendors — Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco and NEC on NFV — and it has completed proof-of-concept (PoC) trials verifying the feasibility of network functions virtualization (NFV).

Using the virtualized Evolved Packet Core (EPC), the core network of LTE systems, DOCOMO and each of the three vendors verified cutting-edge network control mechanisms, such as scalable user-data processing capability that can handle concentrated user traffic efficiently and improve service delivery stability by means of fast, automatic network-recovery techniques in the event of hardware failure.

Following the successful PoC trials, DOCOMO now aims to commercially deploy services utilizing a virtualized mobile network by the fiscal year ending in March 2016. The company has been collaborating with the three vendors on this feasibility verification since November 2013.

“NFV is highly expected to change the ecosystem of network industries,” said Seizo Onoe, Executive Vice President and Chief Technical Officer at DOCOMO. “But without a high degree of collaboration among the players, such hopes could end up like pie in the sky. Therefore, I am delighted that we have been successfully collaborating in PoC trials with the industry’s leading vendors.”

NFV is expected to offer key advantages, such as improved connectivity for dense data traffic, operational sustainability when network equipment fails, promptness of new service delivery and high cost effectiveness. NFV has attracted the attention of industrial groups and IT vendors, who have been accelerating efforts to standardize architecture and design cutting-edge products since 2012.

DOCOMO, which is a member of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), is deeply committed to the standardization of networks incorporating virtualization technologies.

Going forward, DOCOMO will continue to collaborate with these and other vendors to facilitate the accelerated realization of advanced mobile networks through network virtualization.

Sri Reddy, VP and GM of Alcatel-Lucent’s SR Product Business Unit, joined by Dor Skuler, VP and GM of Alcatel-Lucent’s CloudBand Business Unit, said: “It is an honor to work with DOCOMO in the development of the virtualization of core mobile technology. This project demonstrates an accelerated path to NFV commercial deployment that is leading the industry. Our CloudBand NFV Platform and virtualized EPC (vEPC) are open and multi-vendor, two characteristics that are essential in an NFV environment.”

Kelly Ahuja, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Mobility Business Group of Cisco, said: “We would like to commend DOCOMO for their continued work on innovations in business and technology in mobile communications. We are delighted to collaborate with DOCOMO toward the realization of a virtualized mobile Internet architecture. It is exciting to see a world leader in mobile industry being fully committed to virtualization in their network architecture where and when it makes sense for their customers. ”

Shunichiro Tejima, Executive Vice President of NEC, said: “NEC is honored to collaborate with DOCOMO in the trial of this virtual mobile core technology. With these tests, the companies have verified that virtualization platforms provide the functions required for NFV. NEC will continue to cooperate with DOCOMO and NFV industry partners by providing global solutions that contribute to the realization of advanced carrier networks that are flexible, fast and optimized for services.”


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