This blog is co-authored with Bill Kaufman, Group Manager SDN Planning, Coriant
As outlined in a recent blog on mobile operator challenges, there are a number of business and technical challenges mobile operators face in today’s environment. As consumers and businesses demand more from their mobile operators, the existing proprietary, hardware-centric mobile networks make it very challenging to meet these demands and in a timeframe suitable for customers.
Mobile networks are typically deployed as monolithic regional or national networks where all customers and applications share the same access network, backhaul links, and mobile gateways. The implementation of this network design takes years, and even small upgrades can subsequently require months for network integration and deployment. This compares to new mobile competitors (ie. OTT Messaging) who can roll out new services or features much faster, sometimes in days. In a world where mobile users expect instant gratification, mobile operators are at a significant disadvantage. This is not a sustainable, viable operations model for mobile operators to match the rapid pace of new service innovation.
Along with current network limitations, organizational silos can increase the complexity and thus time, to make network changes in support of new services. According to a recent survey conducted by Heavy Reading and sponsored by both Brocade and Coriant, SDN and NFV have the potential to be a silo-breaker and help to change network operations and break down the existing silos.
The Importance of SDN and NFV to Eliminate Operational Silos within the Operator
Source: Heavy Reading’s Jan 2016 survey on Mobile Network Transformation
The Smart Mobile Cloud solution brings together Brocade data center expertise in virtualized EPC and IP services along with Coriant mobile backhaul expertise. SDN technology is used to integrate both the data center and mobile backhaul networks which could ultimately help to start breaking down operational silos between these two domains while creating an automated and programmable mobile infrastructure
The Smart Mobile Cloud solution combines SDN and NFV technologies to showcase an innovative approach to reducing service activation times and enhancing service performance. The solution demonstrates technology that is intended to be standardized in 5G networking today including mobile network slicing and distributed packet core. The solution includes off-the-shelf and open source components, highlighting the ability to deploy solutions that provide an onramp to 5G.
The Coriant and Brocade Smart Mobile Cloud demonstration includes:
Brocade Virtual Core for Mobile (VCM) – full function virtual Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) that enables independent mobile network slicing of control, data, and session management.
Brocade vRouter5600 – industry-leading virtual router built from the ground up for high performance and includes advanced routing and security functionality.
Brocade SDN Controller – provides an open architecture SDN controller that enables programmable network control to simplify service provisioning.
Coriant Transcend™ SDN: supports an open, programmable, and automated SDN architecture for the Coriant portfolio of IP/MPLS routing and packet optical transport hardware.
Coriant Transcend™ SDN Packet Controller - enables SDN features for IP/MPLS networks including programmability and virtualization, multi-tenant capabilities, performance based network optimization, network abstraction to hide complexity, and open interfaces for multi-layer and multi-vendor integration.
Coriant 8600 Smart Routers – SDN-enable suite of IP/MPLS routers designed to support the requirements of LTE, LTE-A, and 5G mobile and fixed/mobile converged networks.
OpenStack Tacker – provides an Open NFV orchestrator framework to deploy and operator virtual network functions (VNF).
Smart Mobile Cloud
Coriant and Brocade propose a mobile network designed for agile adaptation, such that capacity for individual applications may be activated on demand in minutes, with customized backhaul links and flexible vEPC placement. The SDN controlled transport network delivers services as requested through easily programmable software interfaces. The virtual packet core can be located at any site desired to support functions including EPC and Gi-LAN interface with advanced IP policy support. This entire solution is then commissioned as needed through common REST APIs from an external configuration system such as WebGUI, OSS, or other platform.
Through the Smart Mobile Cloud, Coriant and Brocade enable mobile network slicing to offer a new suite of services including:
IoT –backhaul to the IoT provider data center including support for routing low latency or low congestion paths efficienty.
Enterprise mobile network –a dedicated service for physical or virtually distributed campuses where a common infrastructure and security policy may be applied to all users.
Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) –a dedicated mobile core is created for each customer with the option to support a defined coverage area and carrier selected hand-off point.
Benefits to Mobile Operators
The Smart Mobile Cloud demonstration will be shown live at Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona. If you want to see the demo and learn more about how it enables mobile network slicing and increases service velocity, request a meeting today.