NFV booms as Verizon, AT&T, NTT, Deutsche Telekom, SK Telecom invest

NFV benefits to telecomsMobile operators such as Verizon Wireless, AT&T, NTT, Deutsche Telekom and SK Telecom are making investment in Network Functions Virtualization (NFV).

China Mobile, Telus Communications, Telecom Italia, Wells Fargo, and Telefonica are also in the list of telecoms which are spending in NFV.

Incidentally, Indian telecom network operators such as BSNL, Bharti Airtel, Telenor, MTNL, Reliance Communications, Idea Cellular, Vodafone India, Aircel, Tata Docomo are not part of the list prepared for NFV investment — by OpenStack Foundation.

A report released by OpenStack Foundation says OpenStack for NFV will be production ready in 2016 based on development blueprints of documented telecom, OPNFV and ETSI NFV requirements.

NFV market size

According to a report in Research and Markets, service provider SDN and NFV investments will grow at a CAGR of 54 percent between 2015 and 2020, accounting for over $20 billion in revenue in 2020.

At present, virtualized EPC/mobile core, IMS and policy control platforms represent over 70 percent of all VNF (Virtual Network Function) software investments.

Investments on orchestration platforms will account for nearly $2 billion in revenue by the end of 2020, representing more than 9 percent of all service provider SDN and NFV spending.

Though the use of SDN is widespread in the enterprise and data center domain, service providers are only beginning to adopt the technology to programmatically manage their networks, according to Research and Markets.

But OpenStack Foundation has tried to emphasize that investment in NFV is happening among some of the big operators in the world. The following information is collected from OpenStack Foundation.

AT&T

Data traffic on the AT&T network has increased 100,000 percent in the last eight years — driven primarily by video.

AT&T is making investments in SDN and NFV technologies to add capacity faster and upgrades.

John Donovan, senior executive vice president of technology and network operations of AT&T, said there are millions of AT&T wireless subscribers connected to virtualized network services—many will be relying on the AT&T Integrated Cloud (AIC).

AT&T’s internal tools and the customer-facing applications share the same code in the cloud.

AT&T is well on its way to implementing a common infrastructure for all VNFs, and the first VNFs are in production with many soon to follow.

By 2020, AT&T plans to virtualize and control more than 75 percent of its network using this new software-defined architecture.

Verizon

Verizon is making investment in NFV to build lower-cost network agility and flexibility without support staff for proprietary network functions.

It is building a company-wide common OpenStack platform for running VNF’s (Virtual Network Functions), as well as other internal applications.

OpenStack components are being tuned to the needs of carriers, a trend that is essential to Verizon’s ongoing efforts n Fixes can be pushed upstream so patches do not have to be retrofitted again and again.

Verizon acknowledges all the improvements they can now take advantage of in the areas of high availability, SR-IOV and DPDK support, NUMA memory and scheduling, and SSD as cache.

NTT Group

NTT Communications desires NFV platforms that can federate NFV services between distributed heterogeneous sites: Carrier network, clouds and user sites.

NTT Communications deployed a large proof of concept, built with the same architecture and topology as its commercial ISP backbone and cloud services.

NTT will launch OpenStack-based NFV services with VNFs to their enterprise customers, including managed network functions like firewall and load-balancer. Customers will be able to change their own network topology by attaching and detaching NTT-managed VNFs. They tested deployment, orchestration, interoperability to disparate distributed sites, monitoring of commercial VNFs.

Deutsche Telekom

Deutsche Telekom (DT) is investing in OpenStack as the platform for NFV. NFV allows DT to deploy virtual network functions and scale them up and down quickly, without new investments in hardware.

In March 2015, DT announced its first production NFV workload running OpenStack, a cloud VPN service available in Croatia, Slovakia and Hungary.

SK Telecom

SK Telecom is focusing on virtualization of the traditional telecom network functions such as IMS and EPC for elastic scale-out and control for service traffic explosion. These VNFs will be used for providing customer-specific, dedicated multi-tenant telecom services with orchestrated service chaining. The VNFs will also be used for enhancing service quality and reliability with elastic VNF resource management and load balancing control.

SK Telecom’s Network R&D Center succeeded in deploying parts of the operating IMS services as vIMS in its commercial operation environment with OpenStack and is currently operating them successfully.

The mobile operator will also commercialize more parts of the IMS services to vIMS soon, and put it into production.

SK Telecom expects to realize benefits from NFV using OpenStack: n Reduce service downtime and cost, and improve network utilization by using automation n Create more business opportunities with an agile, flexible, and programmable infrastructure n Evolve more diversely, opening the company to various business and technology options.

Baburajan K
editor@telecomlead.com