Decoupling of network functions from hardware improves agility, economics

With exploding traffic creating unprecedented demands on networks, service providers are looking for equipment that delivers greater agility and economics to address constantly changing market requirements, says Arun Kumar, accounts manager – Networking & Communications, Wind River India.

Wind River_Arun Kumar














To address these demands, the industry has begun to develop more interoperable solutions per the principles outlined by software defined networking (SDN) and a complementary initiative, network functions virtualization (NFV). At the heart of these two approaches is the decoupling of network functions from hardware through abstraction. The end result: Software workloads will no longer be tied to a particular hardware platform, allowing them to be controlled centrally and deployed dynamically throughout the network as needed. Moreover, network functions can be consolidated onto standard, high-volume servers, switches, and storage, further reducing time-to-market and costs for network operators.

Wind River has identified the following key demands from customers.

Need high throughput to address the ever increasing bandwidth demand: Telecom network traffic continues to increase exponentially, driven by the explosion in mobile video. Per-subscriber revenues, however, remain flat. Therefore in order for service providers to maintain their current levels of profitability, they must achieve on-going improvements in the amount of network traffic that can be processed in each network element. This requires regular increases in the throughput of their network equipment.

Need IPS/IDS (intrusion prevention & detection) for more secure communication: IDS/IPS functions are required to prevent network attacks by hackers, as well as to provide visibility into the applications and protocols running over the network. This allows the service provider to implement Quality-of-service (QoS) functions, ensuring that applications receive the appropriate amount of bandwidth and appropriate security.

Virtualization for Reduced OPEX: By improving the utilization of network resources and reducing the number of servers required to support a given number of subscribers, network virtualization enables service providers to reduce their OPEX and improve their energy efficiency (subscribers per Watt).

To address the growing market demands, Wind River has launched Wind River Carrier Grade Communications Server, a fully integrated and feature-complete NFV-ready server, which is designed to accelerate the transformation to NFV.

According to Kumar, Wind River Carrier Grade Communications Server helps accelerate your time-to-market, bypassing the need to integrate, test, and document multiple technology components from different vendors and open source. It also helps customers focus on their development activities on revenue-generating applications, in addition to delivering carrier levels of security.

According to Kumar, telecom CTOs should look for five aspects before selecting a network server solution. They are listed below:

Standardization: Open standards enable an ecosystem of interoperable solutions from companies with expertise in specific areas. This allows service providers to shift away from the traditional business model based on proprietary networking equipment produced by a single vendor. This results in better services for customers, available quicker, which increases Average Revenue Per User (ARPU). At the same time, it results in lower CAPEX and OPEX.

Hardware consolidation: Hardware consolidation through virtualization allows a service provider to optimize the utilization of their resources. This reduces their CAPEX and OPEX, while improving their ability to respond to network element failures and maintain the level of service that customers expect.

Carrier grade moving to six 9’s 99.9999% uptime: Over decades, telecom service providers have engineered an extensive range of sophisticated features into their networks, to the point where they guarantee “six-nines” reliability. That means the network is guaranteed to be up 99.9999% of the time, implying a downtime of no more than 32 seconds per year. Meeting these requirements represents a critical business challenge for telecom service providers as they refine their plans to progressively introduce Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) into their networks. They know that they need to continue to meet expectations for reliability as they transition to NFV; otherwise they run the risk of losing their high-value customers and seeing increased subscriber churn. That would seriously impact their ability to reduce OPEX and increase subscriber revenues, which are after all the core business objectives behind the NFV initiative.

Everything on Cloud makes it more portable and reusable: Deploying telecom network functions in the cloud provides unlimited scalability (both up and down) as traffic requirements change dynamically. It also offers the ultimate in low cost both from a CAPEX and OPEX perspective. Cloud deployments, however, present major challenges in terms of network reliability real-time performance, so specialized infrastructure software must be used.

Value add service offering off the shelf to raise ARPU (average revenue per user): Network virtualization and open standards enable service providers to accelerate the trials and introduction of new services that provide high value to target customers. This enables them to raise ARPU without significant impact to their CAPEX or OPEX, thereby raising profitability.

According to Wind River official, solving the scalability, time-to-market, and profit margin challenges caused by data traffic growth is critical in today’s competitive environment. Network functions virtualization (NFV) and software defined networking (SDN)—utilizing open source virtualization that provides near-native device latency and throughput performance on standard hardware—are key to addressing these challenges.

Wind River has helped some clients save significant time in developing network products.

Says Yossi Bar-Sheshet, director, Software, Corrigen, “Wind River Linux has made development much easier and faster. We are able to save 20 to 30 percent in development time using Wind River Linux and tools. Along with our internal enhancements, our entire product life cycle has significantly improved.”

“For us, time-to-market is crucial. Wind River has a very broad line of technically advanced embedded technology products, so we can get the components we want from one place, already integrated together,” said  Klaus Hjorth, director of Development, Siemens Information and Mobile Division, another Wind River customer.

India, the second largest telecommunications market in the world, is emerging as a potential market for companies like Wind River. Telcos are looking forward to introduce the new next generation services. With this need for new services major telecom equipment manufacturers are gearing towards LTE .This shift is making TEM’s design new equipment’s with latest software components to address the market demand. Also there is a slight increase in capex year-over-year, this is a sign that major telecom operators remain committed to investing in their networks to improvise end customer experience and generate new revenue stream with newer technology, while the same reduces their OPEX costs, Kumar said.

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