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How to Implement Seamless Service Provisioning for 5G Networks

by Scott Heinlein Scott Heinlein No Comments

Service Provisioning Makes 5G Services as Smart on the Inside as They Are on the Outside

As 5G approaches, the telecom conversation has shifted from smartphones to 5G services such as smart cars and smart cities. And while 5G services are fun to talk about, one of the things that many telco vendors aren’t talking about is service provisioning; how these services will actually be turned up, provisioned and managed in a network environment where 5G, 4G, 3G, and even 2G technology are likely to co-exist for a long time.

Of course, being the 5G-focused company that we are, Affirmed is not just talking about it, we actually did something about it by developing telecom solutions to address service provisioning in just such a hybrid environment. You can read more about it in the new ACG Research paper, “Hybrid Networks: Integrated Provisioning for Virtual and Physical Networks.”

Service provisioning and creating new services, go hand in hand. Particularly with enterprises, which stand to be some of the largest consumers of 5G services, issues such as speed-to-service and service assurance are very important.

It’s one thing, for example, to turn up and provision mobile data services for an individual subscriber, but what happens when your subscriber is an entire city? Suddenly, you’re talking about mobilizing a small army of network resources that may be spread across different domains and vendor technologies, all of which need to work together seamlessly. Even in a purely virtualized world, that’s a challenge; in a network where virtual and physical elements are mixed together, it’s a mistake waiting to happen.

What is Seamless Service Provisioning for MNOs?

What is seamless service provisioning, and what does it look like for Mobile Network Operators? For starters, it looks the same whether the underlying technology is a virtual network function (VNF) or a physical appliance, using a single, easy-to-use interface to manage both. (By “easy to use,” we’re talking service orchestration with drag-and-drop simplicity, so it’s easy even for non-engineers to use.) It also dynamically allocates the right amount of resources for the job, so network operators don’t have to take the cost hit of equipment sitting idle.

In addition to its ease of use, service provisioning also manages the service for the entire lifecycle, from inception to deletion, and automated provisioning allows for automated management tasks. In other words, provisioning makes 5G services as convenient inside the network as they’re intended to be outside the network.

A Smarter Approach to Service Provisioning:

Affirmed enables seamless service provisioning via its domain orchestration and service automation solutions. At a high level, Affirmed’s Domain Orchestrator provides end-to-end service orchestration across hybrid, multivendor network environments. It also includes automation for complex provisioning scenarios: activating a new service, performing self-healing, or scaling service resources as demand changes.

The Affirmed Service Automation Platform (ASAP) features a simple drag-and-drop interface for rapid service creation, again connecting seamlessly across physical and virtual network functions from a variety of vendors through standard interfaces. Together, Domain Orchestrator and ASAP make it much easier for mobile service providers to deliver 5G services quickly and consistently, whether they’re rolling out an IoT service for an entire city or deploying consumer mobile broadband services in an entirely new region. And that’s important because, in a world where everyone is talking the 5G talk, you need a smarter approach to service provisioning if you expect to walk the walk.

Affirmed, Intel and Dell EMC Have an Answer for 5G’s Need for Speed

by Scott Heinlein Scott Heinlein No Comments

Bring up the topic of 5G services and you’ll hear a lot of ideas, from virtual reality gaming to automated manufacturing floors. Ask how mobile service providers (MSPs) plan to deliver those services, however, and the room usually gets quiet. That is, until now. With the announcement of the first cloud-native 5G core network (5GCN) to support 100 GbE interfaces, Affirmed, Intel and Dell EMC have given MSPs plenty to talk about.

In a new whitepaper, Intel, Dell EMC and Affirmed outline the industry’s first 5GCN solution built to achieve 200 Gbps on a single server—a milestone that makes ubiquitous mobile broadband and edge computing more feasible than ever before. Using a combination of hardware acceleration, software optimization and intelligent engineering, the Affirmed/Intel/Dell EMC partnership has removed the most daunting barriers of entry for next-generation 5G services by solving many of the bandwidth, latency and load-balancing issues that 5G applications present to network operators.

At the “core” of the new 5GCN solution are Intel’s Field Gate Programmable Array (FGPA) hardware accelerators, Dell EMC’s latest PowerEdge servers and Affirmed’s next-generation 5GC platform. Together, these technologies allow MSPs to expand and accelerate the performance of their Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) architecture. The benefits of using this new approach to 5GCN include:

  • Faster 5G performance than ever before possible;
  • Native support for network slicing of different traffic types, including IoT and other enterprise use cases;
  • Lower power consumption per bit;
  • Easier deployment of essential 5G capabilities such as deep packet inspection, CG-NAT firewalls, TCP optimization and QUIC video optimization;
  • Support for OpenStack, Kubernetes and other “open” technologies.

5G presents a number of unique challenges to network operators, from control and user plane separation (CUPS) to load balancing. Many network vendors have these issues on their roadmap, but haven’t arrived at a practical solution yet. Affirmed, Dell EMC and Intel are at the forefront of finding workable 5G solutions that improve performance, reduce total cost of ownership and support emerging open standards for cloud and NFV. The ability to get more 5G performance from a single server is critical to the success of 5G, both from an architectural and a financial perspective.

As 5G moves from concept to reality, it’s increasingly clear that no one vendor will have the complete answer to 5G transformation and enablement. Instead, as our partnership with Intel and Dell EMC illustrates, the future of 5G rests with best-of-breed collaborators doing what they’re best at, whether it’s building the fastest servers, the smartest processors or the most flexible 5G architecture.

To get the full story on 5GCN, download the Intel white paper, “Enabling Communications Service Providers to Meet 5G High Density I/O Goals through Software Optimization and Hardware Acceleration.

Take Back Control of Your Mobile Network, and Destiny with Affirmed UnityCloud

by Scott Heinlein Scott Heinlein No Comments

At Affirmed Networks, we know you, mobile operators, want to successfully transition your network (and business) to 5G and ultimately become a 5G leader.  In order to do that, you need a 5G mobile network that works with you and for you – a network you completely control.  The problem is that today you don’t control your network, your legacy hardware network vendor does, and this makes you feel frustrated since you don’t feel you control your own destiny.  We believe that 5G represents a huge opportunity and that to effectively compete and succeed in 5G, you need to be in complete control of your network.  We understand the complexity and risks of transitioning your network to 5G since we have the most extensive experience virtualizing networks including over 100 deployments.  We’ve leveraged all of our learnings and experience over the past eight years to build Affirmed UnityCloud.  Affirmed UnityCloud gets you ready for 5G.  It puts you in complete control, so you can stop feeling frustrated about not controlling your own destiny and instead start becoming a leader in 5G innovation.

Affirmed UnityCloud is a true cloud-native 5G platform that allows you to:

  • Innovate Faster with an Innovation platform that allow services to be quickly deployed in days/weeks vs. months
  • Build Once Deploy Anywhere from core to edge on public, private or hybrid clouds
  • Converge All Networks including 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G (NSA/SA) and wireline on a single platform

Microservices is what enables you to innovate faster and is also a key component of cloud-native architectures.  We didn’t take the same path as other mobile core vendors by simply lifting monolithic software out of legacy hardware platforms and shifting it into virtual machines and containers, calling it ‘cloud-native’.  We call this ‘cloud-washing’.  In fact, we don’t have a legacy hardware platform.  This frees us to go ‘all-in’ on virtualization because we don’t have billions of revenues to protect with old legacy technology.  Because of this, we’ve natively built all services, including the 5G services, from the ground up for the cloud.  This gives you the ability to scale services up or down as needed to serve any sized market.  In addition, all UnityCloud microservices are autonomously released – every microservice has its own separate release cadence.  This is critical to ensure you have the most agile platform to compete in the 5G era.

In addition, we added something we believe is critical to the future of your success: openness. UnityCloud embraces open-source technology, because the next great idea in 5G won’t come from a single vendor, but from many working together. That’s why our cloud-native platform includes a PaaS layer that supports the best in open-sourced technology today: Kubernetes, Helm, Istio, Envoy, Jaeger and many other technologies. Using the UnityCloud open-source APIs allows mobile operators to bring more ideas into the mix and share the network across many applications so it’s easier and quicker to deploy new services.  You are not dependent on one vendor; you are free to use as many as you need to build the services you want – you control your network.

And these services can run anywhere in the network – from core to edge on public, private and hybrid clouds.  This provides you with the ultimate flexibility to run services where it makes the most sense.  High bandwidth and/or low latency sensitive services can be run at the network location that will ensure the required performance – closer to the customer or even at the customer premise.  Other services might be best deployed in the cloud.  Affirmed UnityCloud gives you the flexibility to deploy services anywhere in the network.

Affirmed UnityCloud enables network operators to unify 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G services as well as fixed services onto a single, simple, flexible and powerful standalone 5G core (5GC) platform. And if that sounds like music to your ears, it should: UnityCloud is a game-changer, providing you—once and for all—with a clear path to 5G and puts you back in control of your network and your own destiny.

While You Were Waiting, for 5G, These Companies Just Beat You to Market

by Scott Heinlein Scott Heinlein No Comments

Fresh from Mobile World Congress, we all “get” that 5G will be a game changer. But if you’re waiting for 5G to officially arrive before you get into the game, you may find yourself on the sidelines. Right now, mobile operators around the world are already staking their claim on 5G-styled services, from international Wi-Fi data roaming to interconnected smart cities. How do we know this? Because they’re using our technology to do it.

Affirmed Networks has made some bold customer announcements in recent months that reveal how leading mobile operators are lining up for the 5G opportunities of the future. Here’s a quick recap at what our customers are doing to grab an early lead in the anticipated 5G frenzy.

Making Smart City Dreams a Reality

Dubai is looking to become the smartest city in the world, and the Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company—known popularly under the brand du—is determined to help them get there. Working with Affirmed and partners, du is launching a state-of-the-art Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem that will support millions of interconnected “smart” devices, from parking meters to personal trackers. At the heart of the solution is Affirmed’s virtualized Narrow Band-IoT (NB-IoT) mobile core, which currently runs on a native cloud environment and provides advanced network slicing capabilities that will help du support hundreds of different kinds of data streams, from lifesaving medical devices to residential electricity meters. du’s efforts will give Dubai access to the world’s first NB-IoT network built on the new 3GPP Release 14 standards.

Cooking Up New Services Fast in a Unified Telco Cloud

Any conversation around 5G quickly comes around to the question of “How will operators pay for it?” With flat or shrinking revenues for traditional voice and data services, creating new revenue-generating services is the key to 5G’s future sustainability. Turkcell isn’t waiting for an answer; they’re creating those services today with one of EMEA’s largest virtualized mobile networks, featuring Affirmed’s virtualized EPC (vEPC) and virtualized GiLAN services technology. Turkcell calls their new virtualized platform the “Unified Telco Cloud,” and it’s clearly an idea accelerator. With their Affirmed-based solution, Turkcell has shaved months off their service creation cycle and significantly reduced both the capex and opex costs associated with new services, allowing Turkcell to price those services more competitively in the market.

At Orange, All Roads Lead to Roaming

5G calls for ubiquitous connectivity, but building out 5G radio coverage everywhere is an impractical proposition. A better solution? Let Wi-Fi go where 5G can’t—deliver strong wireless connectivity in remote and enclosed areas—with Wi-Fi data roaming services that connect seamlessly to the mobile core network. That’s what Orange is doing today, thanks to its Wi-Fi gateway solution from Affirmed, with new Wi-Fi data roaming services that will be rolled out to customers in traditionally hard-to-service locations such as cruise ships and airplanes. By offering subscribers a seamless broadband mobile experience wherever they are, Orange is clearly a mobile carrier on the move.

Orange, du and Turkcell are living proof that you don’t need to wait for 5G to launch the revenue-generating services of the future. If you’d like to know how your business can move forward with cloud-native, 5G-ready solutions today, hear more of the story  from Affirmed.

Affirmed is “must-see 5G” at MWC19

by Scott Heinlein Scott Heinlein No Comments


This year’s Mobile World Congress theme is ‘Intelligent Connectivity’. At the heart of intelligent connectivity is 5G technologies, which will be center stage at this year’s conference. Unlike previous years, however, the 5G “story” will be woven into a variety of digital transformation topics, such as immersive content and artificial intelligence. This reflects the fact that 5G isn’t simply another ‘G’ of efficiency and speed: it promises to affect nearly every aspect of the future, transforming the daily lives of mobile consumers and re-inventing the business strategies for many enterprises.

The industry has heard all this before, of course. The difference at MWC19 is that visitors can expect to see a lot more of what 5G can really do, particularly in the new wave of 5G-enabled mobile services. For mobile service providers, that’s a really big difference. With the massive revenue opportunities for 5G technologies in the enterprise space, 5G offers a tantalizing market for service providers not seen since the Internet boom and the rise of the dot-coms.

Affirmed solutions are at the center of some of the world’s leading 5G use cases, from IoT applications to next-gen 5G/Wi-Fi communications. In fact, as you move through the conference, you’re likely to see Affirmed in action wherever you see mobile service providers embracing the future of 5G services.  This includes Affirmed’s 5G Webscale mobile core solution that includes capabilities such as network slicing, real-time analytics, closed loop automation and support for 5G NR.

We’ll be showcasing some exciting 5G applications at MWC19 in our own booth (Hall 2, booth #2D50), so be sure to stop by, say “hi” and check out some of the great demos we’ll have on tap, including:

  • Closed Loop Services Automation & Dynamic Network Slicing
  • Affirmed Mobile Core 5GC
  • Affirmed Edge Solution with Augmented Reality
  • 5G EPC
  • Affirmed Mobile Core as a Service

We’re also proud to have our joint solutions appear at many of our partners’ booths at MWC19, so keep your eyes open for Affirmed at the displays for Ciena, Dell, Intel, Juniper, RedHat, Tech Mahindra and VMware.

So, if you’d like to see more of Affirmed up close, schedule a meeting with us in Barcelona—we’ll be there every day from February 25th through the 28th.