Juniper, Affirmed Networks Partner to Drive NFV Adoption for Operators


Juniper Networks and Affirmed Networks, an enabler of virtualized mobile networks, are partnering to drive the development of solutions that help service providers transition quickly and efficiently to a virtualized mobile architecture.

The goal of the partnership’s virtualized mobile network reference architecture is to enable wireless service providers to deploy new services faster and at a lower cost than legacy solutions.

The reference architecture combines Affirmed Networks’ Mobile Content Cloud™ virtualized evolved packet core solution (vEPC) with Juniper Networks’ virtualization portfolio, which includes the Juniper Networks® vSRX Virtual Firewall, Contrail Cloud Platform and MetaFabric™ Architecture for data center deployments.

Mobile service providers increasingly face new competitive pressures from nimble startups and over-the-top (OTT) providers, requiring a faster pace of innovation and agility than what is typically permitted by traditional networks. Additionally, as today’s networks must support millions of new connected devices, the underlying infrastructure requires the flexibility and scalability that only a virtualized architecture can deliver.

“Network Functions Virtualization offers several benefits in terms of capital and operational savings, agility and service creation, but, as is the case with the adoption of any new technology architecture, operators are looking to the vendor community for best practices and guidance for accelerating initial deployments,” stated Michael Howard, senior research director and advisor at IHS. “We believe that service providers will want to consider the combination of Juniper Networks and Affirmed Networks’ proven technology and real-world experience with deploying virtualization in commercial networks. They are providing a valuable blueprint that will help operators to quickly begin experiencing the positive impact that virtualized mobile networks can deliver.”

Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) has emerged as an ideal solution to enable telecommunication service providers to quickly, easily and profitably deliver new services. The joint reference architecture by Juniper Networks and Affirmed Networks is being developed to simplify the transition to NFV with a clear path for operators to successfully and profitably deploy virtualized mobile networks.

“The debate is over — the architectures supporting mobile networks will be virtualized, the only question remaining is how successfully and how profitably this evolution will occur,” said Amit Tiwari, vice president of Strategic Alliances and Systems Engineering at Affirmed Networks. “Our decision to partner with an industry leader like Juniper Networks was driven by the level of confidence we can deliver to mobile operators faced with significantly re-thinking how their networks are built and how their services will be delivered. We believe that the establishment of this technology partnership creates a unique combination of unparalleled technical innovation with expertise deploying virtualized networks that is capable of enabling the evolution of today’s mobile networks.”

“Wireless operators need an easy, cost-effective way to utilize NFV to deliver new services to end customers,” said Paul Obsitnik, vice president of Service Provider Portfolio Marketing at Juniper Networks. “The partnership between Juniper and Affirmed Networks is dedicated to bringing open, feature-rich virtualized network solutions to our service provider customers. By combining Juniper’s leadership in networking technology with Affirmed’s leading, real-world experience in virtualized mobile networking, customers will be able to build networks that utilize automation and intelligence to deliver new services efficiently.”

The reference architecture includes the following components:
• Juniper Networks Contrail Cloud Platform: Juniper’s cloud orchestration platform enables mobile operators to dynamically provision and manage service chains within the Evolved Packet Core (EPC) and Gi-LAN environment. New applications and services can be enabled or disabled on-demand, delivering the primary benefits of an NFV environment. The solution employs Contrail Networking along with OpenStack to chain Juniper, Affirmed and third-party virtual network functions to create end-to-end mobile services.
• Juniper Networks vSRX Virtual Firewall: To ensure security from the radio access network (RAN) to the EPC and within the sensitive Gi-LAN environment, Juniper Networks vSRX acts as both the security gateway for terminating IPsec tunnels from the RAN as well as the border gateway firewall securing traffic from the EPC to the Internet.
• Juniper Networks MetaFabric Data Center Architecture: A simple, open and smart blueprint for building high-performance, highly reliable data center environments and Next Generation Central Offices (NGCO), the MetaFabric architecture’s ability to deliver high-availability features, such as in-service software upgrades, within a distributed model make it an ideal framework for supporting a telco cloud environment.
• Affirmed Networks Mobile Content Cloud (MCC): Delivers fully virtualized EPC, probe, analytics, WiFi gateways (TWAG, ePDG) and Gi-LAN services in an integrated platform with native service chaining capabilities that accelerate the creation of new mobile services. The Affirmed MCC helps operators bring new services to market faster, reduces the cost of creating and launching new services and improves overall customer quality of experience. The MCC’s fully virtualized architecture and exceptional scalability simplifies operator planning with right-sized capacity in the network.