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Gartner Names Affirmed Networks as a 2015 “Cool Vendor”

by Angela Whiteford Angela Whiteford No Comments

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Affirmed Networks is pleased and honored to share that it has been recognized in a recent report by Gartner as one of five “Cool Vendors in Communications Service Provider Infrastructure” for 2015. 1

In the report, Gartner recognized five companies “whose products have an impact on communications service providers (CSPs) infrastructure and other emerging markets with newer software-defined network (SDN) control for elastic network services, network function virtualization (NFV) service orchestration and emerging mobile backhaul solutions.”

We are thrilled to be part of this and believe it reaffirms Affirmed Networks’ leadership in the marketplace and reflects the current traction we are having with operators worldwide, which includes a growing customer base which now includes more than 23 customers and 40 trials across the globe.

As this interest indicates, we believe that the time has come to overhaul mobile network architectures for today’s much richer era of services. The current legacy mobile data architectures aren’t economically suited for today’s world of rapid data growth and smart devices.  In fact, the “bigger box” approach isn’t just economically irresponsible; it flies in the face of Moore’s Law from a technical perspective, as the commoditization of boxes just can’t keep pace with the traffic growth. By continuing to attempt to solve the problem with legacy approaches, operators are adding fuel to the fire; spending money for a short-term fix that will soon need addressing again as traffic growth continues.

As research like this indicates, it is clear to us that we are not the only ones who understand this.

We would like to thank Gartner for recognizing Affirmed Networks with this impressive distinction.

We always thought we were cool, but it’s nice to hear someone else say it.

 

1 Gartner, Cool Vendors in Communications Service Provider Infrastructure, 2015, Akshay K. Sharma, et al., 16 April 2015

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

How Virtualization Helps Break Down the Barriers of Wi-Fi

by Angela Whiteford Angela Whiteford No Comments

While the industry is already discussing plans for 5G, the future of wireless carrier services probably looks a lot more like your existing (and admittedly less exciting) Wi-Fi router. The reality is that 4G/5G is ideal when you’re on the move, but not so much when you’re sitting in a chair indoors—which is what most of us are doing, most of the time. No wonder then that Wi-Fi has quickly (if quietly) become the wireless network of choice for enterprises and consumers. In the U.S., 60% of all mobile data consumed by smartphones and tablets is currently carried over a Wi-Fi network. In Europe, that number is even higher, at 78%.

Why are subscribers choosing Wi-Fi? It’s cheaper (because it’s “off network”) and it works better indoors, where 3G/4G signals are often weak. But Wi-Fi also lacks the quality/security of a true 4G experience, creating an opportunity for fixed and mobile network operators to provide a carrier-class Wi-Fi experience by integrating Wi-Fi connectivity into their core networks—and, yes, generate revenue from Wi-Fi services in the process. The challenge, as with most network transformations, is how to do this quickly, seamlessly and cost effectively. The answer is virtualization.

At Affirmed, we have enabled fixed and mobile operators to rapidly deploy a complete, secure Wi-Fi gateway solution—Trusted WLAN Access Gateway/Proxy (TWAG/TWAP) and evolved Packet Data Gateway (ePDG)—on consolidated, commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware. This drives down cost and complexity because it reduces the number of boxes in the network, and it allows network operators to quickly deploy a complete, proven and centralized solution that can be easily scaled across geographies.

We’ve taken the concept of consolidation even further by adding virtualized Value-Added Services (VAS) to our solution so that network operators can rapidly create and seamlessly orchestrate services over Wi-Fi networks to enhance the subscriber experience. Network operators, including one of North America’s largest cable providers, are already using our solution to deliver Voice over Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi roaming services.

One of the biggest barriers to bringing Wi-Fi into the core network is the issue of scalability. This comes to the fore when dealing with untrusted Wi-Fi networks, which require a high number of IPsec-encrypted sessions that can quickly test the limits of a physical gateway. Affirmed has solved this problem with a highly scalable, virtual ePDG solution that can increase the number of IPsec-encrypted sessions on demand by dynamically and intelligently shifting processing resources in real time without requiring additional hardware. As a result, fixed and mobile network operators can confidently bring Wi-Fi services into their LTE networks and deliver a seamless, high-quality experience over any wireless network.

Affirmed Named to Forbes’ “Next Billion Dollar Start-Ups” List

by Angela Whiteford Angela Whiteford No Comments

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All of us at Affirmed Networks are incredibly honored to have been included in Forbes’ recent list outlining the “the Next Billion Dollar Start-Ups,” a compilation that is available on line and will be featured in the company’s print edition in May.

According to Karsten Strauss of Forbes, to create the list Forbes went “in search of young companies with enough momentum to reach the upper echelon and comprise the next-generation of unicorns.”

With more than 23 customers, and increasing interest from mobile operators worldwide, we feel confident that Affirmed Networks meets this criteria, and we are honored to be in included along with the other deserving companies highlighted by Forbes.

As part of this process, Forbes surveyed more than 90 VC firms, asking for nominations of their “most promising” start-ups, and the ones “most likely to reach sky-high valuations.”

In addition to thanking Forbes for recognizing us, we would also like to thank our dedicated and passionate employees, and our growing list of customers who have given us the opportunity to lead them through an evolution of their networks.

NFV Tipping Point: China Mobile Outlines Phased Approach for NFV

by Angela Whiteford Angela Whiteford No Comments

As we have previously shared, Affirmed Networks continues to experience significant traction with Tier 1 operators worldwide. This is reflective by our 20+ customers, our more than 40 trials, and by the strong interest we saw at Mobile World Congress 2015 as operators now fully realize that the adoption is not a “if” but a “when.” There is no doubt, the NFV tipping point is upon us.angela-headshot

More evidence was highlighted in a recent report authored by China Mobile, the leading mobile services provider in Mainland China. With the world’s largest mobile network, and more than 800 million subscribers (also a world record), China Mobile is not just big, they have always been viewed as one of the most innovative operators in the industry. This focus on innovation was highlighted recently as the company provided a glimpse into how they view their ultimate deployment of NFV. Specifically, China Mobile outlined a unique, three-phased approach for deploying NFV in an end-to-end architecture across their mobile network.

As the graphic below indicates, China Mobile’s phased view for NFV spans the short-term, mid-term and long-term and spans all aspects of their network. As part of this view, China Mobile also outlined a list of vendors that it views as having the potential to support their innovative approach. We are very proud to report, that Affirmed Networks was included in this list – one of the few emerging players in a list of the usual suspects (legacy equipment providers). While this should not be viewed as a formal vendor selection, we are excited to be included and view it as yet another strong acknowledgement from the industry that supports what we all believe – that Affirmed Networks is the company that will lead the evolution and virtualization of today’s mobile network. To quote Malcolm Gladwell*, we believe that NFV has reached that “magic moment” and is about to “spread like wildfire.”

As China Mobile’s view supports, the tipping point has crossed the threshold.

*Malcolm Gladwell is the author of The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

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For NFV in the EPC, MWC15 Was the Place to Be

by Angela Whiteford Angela Whiteford No Comments

As I settle back in to the ongoing windy winter in Boston, I am reminded of the warmer climate and wonderful hosts angela-headshotof Barcelona, home of Mobile World Congress 2015 (MWC15). While the weather was certainly a treat for many of us, it was the unofficial theme of this year’s event which was most inviting to the team from Affirmed Networks that made the trip to represent the company and convey the value of our Network Functions Virtualized (NFV) solution to the customers, press and industry analysts that converged on Barcelona for the industry’s most important event.

In year’s past at MWC, in addition to enduring the long cab lines and tired feet of a show of this magnitude, the Affirmed team spent much of our time evangelizing the benefits of deploying NFV in the Evolved Packet Core (EPC) of mobile networks. Despite the fact that at MWC 2014 AT&T became the first (of many) Tier 1 operators to publicly select Affirmed Networks solution, the evangelization and education efforts continued, largely to an audience that was willing to listen, even if they were not yet ready to truly believe.

Returning to Barcelona this year, the spirit and theme of the event could not have been more different in terms of the market’s readiness to embrace NFV. The change was palpable from day one where we were met with a show daily newspaper filled with news, announcements, partnerships and acquisitions related to NFV. Walking the show floor one got the same message as the signage draping a large percentage of the booths hinted to some sort of involvement or enablement of the latest trend to hit mobile networks. Clearly, the industry was now ready for NFV.

For Affirmed Networks, MWC 2015 was a great success by any measure. After a year of heads-down execution in the field, we arrived at the event this year with the experience earned by amassing more than 20 customers, and 40 trials. Our more than 100 meetings with network operators during the event were filled with productive discussions, open minds and strong interest. The demos conducted in the booths of our partners – HP and VMware – were in demand and well attended. And, the meetings with press and analysts evolved past the evangelization stage, and into probing questions about lessons learned as Affirmed Networks continues to lead the industry in deployments and trials.

Clearly change was afoot, and the evolution was underway.

Perhaps the best sign of the change was the spirit of the team after the long days at the show. At our team dinners each night, there was no talk of tired feet or long lines, just the tales of a proud and passionate team that is excited that the time for its technology truly has come.

For a glimpse into some of the views and news from Affirmed Networks at the event see the links below: