NTT DOCOMO, INC., a personalized mobile solutions provider for smarter living, has announced that it has completed proof-of-concept (PoC) trials that have verified the feasibility of network functions virtualization (NFV) using the software and equipment of six world-leading ICT vendors — Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Ericsson, Huawei, NEC, and Nokia Networks.
The PoC trials will help to leverage technologies for next-generation virtualized mobile networks. Using the virtualized Evolved Packet Core (EPC), the core network of LTE systems, the trials successfully verified the interoperability of each vendor’s EPC software with a different vendor’s equipment, such as scalable data processing capability for congested data traffic and immediate network recovery in the event of hardware failure.
The verified technologies will enable communication software designed originally for dedicated hardware to run on multipurpose hardware. In the future, such technologies will allow mobile operators to combine network hardware and software components of any vendor for deployment of network systems.
“Thanks to collaborative efforts in the mobile network industry, NFV is soundly moving toward practical realization, rather than just ending up as a pie-in-the-sky dream,” said Seizo Onoe, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at NTT DOCOMO. “I am delighted that we have confirmed the feasibility of NFV through multi-vendor initiatives with many of the top ICT players.”
Network virtualization is expected to offer key advantages, such as operational sustainability with improved connectivity for dense data traffic and during natural disasters, as well as in the event of hardware failure. It also will accelerate delivery of new services and drive more efficient infrastructure investment.
DOCOMO, as one of the founding member firms of the Open Platform for NFV, an open-source project formed last month, is teaming up with world-leading mobile operators and ICT vendors to support development of an open-source platform for virtualization. DOCOMO aims to utilize a virtualized mobile network for the commercial deployment of services by the fiscal year ending March 2016.
Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing and Transport Business Line, Alucatel-Lucent, said: “We are glad to be a part of these PoC trials with DOCOMO, an acknowledged industry leader and innovator contributing to the virtualization of mobile technology. Through this PoC with the use of our virtualized EPC (vEPC) and CloudBandTM NFV platform, realization of a multi-vendor environment with open interfaces was proven. This outcome is invaluable for the commercial launch of a virtualized mobile network as well as the advancement of NFV technology for the entire industry.”
Kelly Ahuja, Senior Vice President, Service Provider Business, Cisco, said: “The network is increasingly becoming virtualized, and virtualization is increasingly becoming networked. DOCOMO demonstrates that there are ways to get greater value by virtualizing network functions and to automate and orchestrate the applications and network elements for infrastructure efficiency. Cisco applauds DOCOMO for this and is honored to continue to collaborate with them toward the realization of our shared vision.”
Håkan Djuphammar, Head of Technology, Business Unit Cloud & IP of Ericsson, said: “We are honored to be able to work with DOCOMO in the NFV arena. This shows that Ericsson is ready to deploy network functions virtualized on a broader scale, with vEPC as one example.”
Ryan Ding, Executive Director of the Board and President of Products & Solutions, Huawei, said: “Huawei is pleased to have joined the industry’s largest and most successful NFV PoC trial led by DOCOMO. We believe this PoC trial will greatly contribute to future NFV standardization and commercialization. As a member of the ETSI Industrial Specification Group for NFV and one of 17 founding members of Open Platform for NFV, Huawei will continue to increase its investment in NFV and to cooperate closely with DOCOMO to accelerate the progress of NFV standardization and global commercialization.”
Shunichiro Tejima, Executive Vice President of NEC, said: “NEC is honored to have worked with DOCOMO and major vendors around the world to successfully conduct tests of virtualization-based mobile core technologies in multi-vendor environments. Based on the issues and results revealed by the testing, we plan to hold discussions with standardization groups, including the ETSI Industry Specification Group for NFV to ensure that carriers around the world can fully reap the benefits of virtualization-based mobile core technologies.”
Michael Clever, Senior Vice President of Core at Nokia Networks, said: “The success of these multi-vendor PoC trials is an important step towards the achievement of NFV, and it is our honor to join and support DOCOMO here. We believe that open standards are key for NFV, and as we continue to establish an open and flexible NFV technology through ongoing cooperation with DOCOMO and the entire industry, we see our direction and concept confirmed by these trials.”