Home Archives for 2018

Year: 2018

2018 – What a Year!

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2018 has been quite a year for Affirmed Networks. As we usher in the New Year, we wish to thank our customers and partners for all your support, and we look forward to a prosperous 2019!

Here’s a quick look at 2018 by the numbers:

90 Customers
90 customers worldwide have deployed Affirmed Networks virtual evolved packet core

150 Gbps
Our Affirmed Networks/Intel joint solution delivers 150 Gbps on a single server with performance gains 10x greater than legacy solutions

1st vEPC on Public Cloud
We became the first company to offer a vEPC on the public cloud via AWS

Affirmed Networks named one of the Telecom’s Top 8 Disruptors
Fierce Telecom names Affirmed Networks one of the Telecom’s Top 8 Disruptors

5G mobile core solution
We introduced the industry’s first 5G core and our 5G solution is now deployed at some of the world’s largest operators

The Importance of Performance in a 5G World

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The industry is racing to the next generation – 5G – which will be virtualized, replacing the costly, legacy, hardware-based infrastructure that has been in place for decades with common off-the-shelf (COTS) servers that offer a host of cost and operational advantages. But did you know they also offer network performance benefits as well?

5G Network Performance

As network operators transform existing 4G networks the need to continually improve performance and scalability has become a key business imperative to drive the cost per bit delivered.

With the arrival of 5G, this need becomes even more pronounced in order to profitably serve the bandwidth demands of 5G applications and services. This will require significantly more data-processing horsepower from the network than we have ever seen to support the exponential rise in high-bandwidth data traffic (e.g., video), the creation of data-rich services, and the introduction of billions of “talking” machines via the Internet of Things (IoT). 5G network performance will be required across all areas of the network, especially the mobile core.

And, these network performance gains are not a one-time event.

We are fortunate to be part of an industry that never stands still, and that continues to innovate and improve. In no area is this more evident than in the continued advances in processing technologies from leaders like Intel.

By combining these advances with innovative, market-proven NFV solutions for the mobile core, we have achieved performance gains of as much as 10X over purpose-built mobile core offerings and competitive virtualized offerings.

For those of us at Affirmed Networks seeing this type of network performance confirms what we’ve known all along: virtualized network functions (VNFs) that leverage the latest server technology and are architected for high data plane throughput are the best path to building the high-speed, high-capacity networks that 5G will require.

Learn more about the performance advantages of virtual evolved packet core over legacy hardware in this Intel Performance Report.

Three UK Deploys NFV to Get Ready for 5G

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Are you ready for 5G?

Bryn Jones, CTO, Three UK, chatted with Hassan Ahmed, CEO, Affirmed Networks, about the steps they are taking to improve their overall customer experience and prepare for the arrival of 5G.

This video case study provides a look into how Three UK is using Affirmed’s GiLAN (optimization, DPI, CGNAT, Content Filtering) and virtual probe offerings to handle their 30% per year data growth and position themselves to migrate to 5G services, while also reducing overall network complexity.

One of the industry’s first providers to offer “all you can eat” data plans, Three UK has been a disruptive force in the mobile industry since introducing the first 100% 3G network in the UK in 2003.  Today, they carry more than 32% of the UK’s mobile data traffic and cover 99% of the country’s population.  As a company that has consistently focused on providing the best possible mobile experience to their customers, during this video, they will share insights into

several compelling areas, including:

  • Why NFV is critical to handling the dramatic increase in types of traffic and overall capacity inherent with 5G services.
  • How service assurance and orchestration work when you spin up a new service using NFV.
  • How Three UK is delivering the right customer experience using real-time subscriber data and analytics with integrated virtual probe.

So, sit back, and watch.  There’s lots to be learned when one of the industry’s most innovative service providers shares their secrets of success.

Why CSPs Should be “Open” to Cloud-Native Architectures

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By now it’s clear that that Communications Service Providers (CSPs) are facing considerable competition from a new breed of market entrants.  To make matters worse, these new players are not playing by the same rules, or are held to the same standards, as those who have provided reliable services to all of us for decades.  With today’s field of play tilted in favor of these new players, what are the communication service provides to do to remain competitive as 5G comes into play?

In short, the answer lies in being open to new approaches and architectures, like cloud-native, that are part of the way networks are becoming virtualized.

While the first wave of virtualization was focused on reducing costs and increasing performance, the second wave has taken us toward cloud-native architectures that can be universally deployed.  But we aren’t done yet.

We believe that in order to effectively take advantage of these new approaches, CSPs should keep in mind three main areas:

  • Cloud-Native architecture
  • Open Source technology
  • Telco-grade functionality

 

Cloud-Native Architectures and Open-Source Technology

When cloud-native architectures are coupled with open-source technology, the benefits are becoming even more profound. Specifically, cloud-native architecture that leverages open-source systems are allowing CSPs to move forward using standardized methods in this new era of building networks that are carrier-grade.

 

Telco-Grade Functionality

When embarking on this new approach the importance of being “Telco-Grade” should not be overlooked.  Telecom networks have stringent requirements in the areas of interoperability, latency, service delivery, and policy management that must be addressed when building a next-gen 5G mobile core.

To be successful, several things must be accounted for, including:

  • Support for Multi-Network Interfaces – to support container environments
  • Data Plane Acceleration – to provide the performance that will be required by 5G workloads
  • Integrated Network Probing – to provide analytics and real-time data without impacting performance
  • Integrated Workflows – to allow efficient creation of new service creation
  • Topology and Environmental Awareness – to handle the unique topologies (edge/core) of telecom networks

 

What it Means for Communication Service Providers

By deploying a cloud-native platform that leverages open source technology and delivers web-scale performance, speed and simplicity, CSPs can move confidently with their transformation, while keeping themselves open to all the possibilities and opportunities that 5G will provide.

To learn more about how Affirmed Networks can support CSPs in this area, read our recent paper, An Open Approach to Building 5G Networks.”

What Is Orchestration and Why Is It So Important?

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In this second blog post about the TM Forum report on Orchestration, we’re going to look closely at the definition of orchestration in networking as it pertains to today’s virtualized mobile networks.

“In general, the definition of network orchestration is too narrow and too specific to VNF lifecycle management. Operators have backed away from talking about OSS recently, fearing it sounds ‘retro’, but it is clear we still need a top-level layer of intelligence to manage end-to-end services, which is what OSS has traditionally done.” – Ron Parker, Chief Architect, Affirmed Networks

 

Defining Orchestration

The basis of the TM Forum report was a broad definition of orchestration as “end-to-end service management through zero-touch (automated) provisioning, configuration, and assurance.”  After speaking with contributors to the report, what was clear is that orchestration, as it’s being implemented in live networks, is happening at multiple levels or layers, influencing virtualized and physical functions, including OSS, BSS, and NMS.

Source: Vodafone’s Kevin Brackenpool at MEF London Seminar, May 2016

Generally speaking, there are four places in an operator’s environment where some kind of orchestration can take place.

 

 

“What you’re setting out to do is abstract the complexity and drive modularity. “If you imagine a future network state where everything is virtualized – all software-defined networks – every customer might have a completely different set of virtualized functions. In a traditional approach, you’d never get over that complexity – if something were to break, you’d never be able to fix it.”  – Dr. Lester Thomas, Chief Systems Architect, Vodafone Group.

Service providers, like Vodafone, AT&T, and others, are proposing is that there will be multiple platforms within the network, each abstracting some of the complexity. As examples, Dr. Thomas points to OpenFlow abstracting the complexity of an individual router, while NETCONF and YANG abstract SDN controllers. The overarching point of abstracting at a higher level is to simplify the orchestration and utilize “intent” to manage the policies.

We’ll get to that topic in a future blog post.