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Affirmed Networks and Orange Demo Carrier Grade Wi-Fi Roaming at Wireless Global Congress

by Angela Whiteford Angela Whiteford No Comments

On November 15th during Wireless Global Congress by Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) in San Jose, Orange, one of the largest operators of mobile and internet services in Europe and Africa, held a live demo on carrier-grade Wi-Fi roaming. Orange’s overarching goal was to show the value of providing a secure and consistent user experience regardless of the underlying access technology. In an “all-you-can-eat” future, as the operator calls it, Wi-Fi roaming must be very cost-efficient to deploy and operate, something more easily achieved with Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) than traditional architectures.

Orange presented the demo in the WBA Innovation Lounge, as well as in the Affirmed Networks show exhibit. Key network elements and partners participating in the demo included Affirmed Networks (vTWAG),  Accuris (AAA), Boingo (Wi-Fi hotspot), HPE (vHSS) and Cavium (4G eNodeB). The joint solution was designed to show the call flow for seamless sign-on of typical roaming users. As the Orange team showed, subscribers traveling with their mobile devices are able to seamlessly roam by connecting to Wi-Fi hotspots with SIM based authentication.

Subscribers, without requiring additional applications or sign-on, were able to seamlessly connect to the Wi-Fi network of Boingo Wireless, which handed over the subscriber traffic to Orange IPX through Affirmed trusted WIFI gateway TWAG. The traffic was then routed to the subscriber’s home mobile network operator (MNO). The radio access and Wi-Fi access point were installed at the WBA event, while the Affirmed TWAG, vEPC, and other elements were located in Orange’s lab in San Francisco. The demo was deployed in Orange’s live network, but not commercially available yet.

Orange has in place dozens of partnerships for roaming agreements with other MNOs, which will “open the borders between mobile and Wi-Fi” and benefit all players in the value chain.

What Is Network Orchestration and Why Is It So Important?

by Angela Whiteford Angela Whiteford No Comments

In this second blog post about the TM Forum report on Orchestration, we’re going to look closely at the definition of orchestration 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 Network Orchestration

The basis of the TM Forum report was a broad definition of network 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.

 

Why Do We Need Automation?

“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 network orchestration and utilize “intent” to manage the policies.

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

Affirmed Networks Honored by the Wireless Broadband Alliance at Annual Awards Gala

by Angela Whiteford Angela Whiteford No Comments

Affirmed Wins Award for “Best Next-Gen Wi-Fi Network Infrastructure”

We are pleased to share that last night, at the Wireless Broadband Alliance’s (WBA) “Industry Awards 2016” event in San Jose, Calif., Affirmed Networks received top recognition for our continued commitment to innovation. Honored along with other industry leaders such as AT&T, Telstra, Boingo and Ruckess Wireless, Affirmed Networks won the award in the “Best Next-Gen Wi-Fi Network Infrastructure” category for our virtualized Wi-Fi Gateway solution.

The WBA, through its membership and industry involvement, is an organization with its finger on the pulse of the needs of fixed and mobile operators worldwide. Founded in 2003, the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) is a champion of the development of a converged wireless broadband ecosystem and has a membership that includes fixed operators such as BT, Comcast and Time Warner Cable, as well as seven of the top 10 mobile operator groups (by revenue) worldwide.

“Our awards are a celebration of all that is great in our industry, encapsulating the passion, innovation, technical and business expertise that has shaped and helped to grow our ecosystem over the past 12 months” said Shrikant Shenwai, CEO of the Wireless Broadband Alliance.

The WBA recognized Affirmed Networks’ virtualized Wi-Fi Gateway for its innovation and its flexibility. Introduced to the market just a little more than a year ago (Oct. 2016), our Wi-Fi Gateway is a fully-virtualized, ETSI-compliant solution built on top of our market-leading Mobile Content Cloud architecture that has more than 40 customers globally. Our Wi-Fi Gateway is deployed in operator networks as either a Trusted WLAN Access Gateway/Proxy (TWAG/TWAP) for accessing trusted Wi-Fi networks, or as an evolved Packet Data Gateway (ePDG) for securely accessing untrusted Wi-Fi networks.
Adding Wi-Fi services to an operator’s mobile mix allows them to:

  • Extend their wireless network coverage into “difficult” areas to improve overall subscriber experience
  • Provide an inexpensive backhaul solution to offload the growing amount of video and data traffic on the cellular network
  • Deliver new services such as Wi-Fi calling and location based services

Affirmed Networks NFV based Wi-Fi solution offers a more attractive approach to Wi-Fi services, both in terms of cost containment and the rapid enablement of new services.

Affirmed maintains a commitment to innovation that is focused on solving the needs of our customers as they evolve toward next generation architectures. The introduction of our virtualized Wi-Fi gateway is a proof point of that vision.

While seeing it successfully deployed in the networks of our customers is rewarding in and of itself, it is a very distinct honor for the product to be recognized by the WBA. We would like to thank them for this award and for their support of the wireless industry. We would also like to congratulate all the finalists and winners of this year’s awards, as collectively their innovation represents the life blood of our industry’s success in the years ahead.

Thank you from all of us at Affirmed Networks.

Read more: http://www.wballiance.com/industry-awards-2016-winners/

Current Analysis Names Affirmed Networks a “Game Changer”

by Angela Whiteford Angela Whiteford No Comments

We are pleased to report that respected industry analyst firm, Current Analysis, has given Affirmed Networks the highest rating in a recent report of profiling potentially disruptive companies across a number of segments.

Current Analysis

Through their “Market Disruptor Profile” series, Current Analysis provides an overview and analysis of companies generating new competitive threats in the market – companies that demand attention despite potential limited market share or time in the market. As part of their latest research, Current Analysis profiled 112 companies who are potential disruptors in IT and telecom which “demand attention despite limited market share or time in the market.”

Companies included in Market Disruptor profiles are given one of four rankings by Current Analysis based on their potential for market disruption.  These ratings include:

  • Challenger: A new player challenging the status quo of an established industry segment
  • Explorer: A player exploring market reactions to a new kind of business model
  • Transformer: An initiatives seeking to expose & exploit an entirely new segment or revenue opportunity
  • Game-Changer: A highly disruptive new force set to redefine the segment’s value chain & status quo

Current Analysis awarded Affirmed Networks a rating of “Game-Changer” – the highest raking given – in the category of “SDN/NFV Specialist” based on our success across many areas, including:

  • Our Ecosystem of Key Partners: including HPE, EMC, VMWare, Dell EMC, Juniper, Red Hat, Canonical, and IBM
  • Our traction with more than 40 customers globally
  • Our inclusion as a strategic supplier as part of AT&T’s Domain 2.0 program which provides “industry visibility and close alignment with operators’ virtualization initiatives,” and
  • For our strong financial backing of more than $163 million from top venture firms and strategic investors such as Charles River Ventures, Matrix Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, KCK Group, Lightspeed Venture Partners, T-Venture, and Vodafone Ventures.

Needless to say, we are honored to receive this distinction by Current Analysis, a firm that is so widely respected across the IT and telecom industries.   While humbled, we agree that NFV does represent a truly disruptive technology that is capable of providing transformational results for operators worldwide.

Since being founded just six years ago, our mission was to build the industry’s best solution for virtualizing mobile networks and guiding our customers through an evolution to a new type of network architecture.  While we are proud of the work we have done in this area, it is rewarding to be recognized by one of the top observers and influencers of our market.

Affirmed Networks Named as Finalist for Two Prominent Industry Awards

by Angela Whiteford Angela Whiteford No Comments

Affirmed Networks is pleased to announce that we have been named as a “Finalist” for two prominent industry awards that will be announced in the coming weeks.

We were named as a finalist in the Fierce Innovation Awards: Telecom Edition 2016 for the category of “Business Transformation Management: SDN/NFV” where we have been shortlisted along with two other deserving technology companies. The winner of this award will be announced as part of live webcast on Thursday, November 17th at 2PM. Please tune in to cheer us on.

The other award where we have been named a “Finalist” is for the Wireless Broadband Alliance 2016 Industry Awards, where were have been recognized along with two other innovative companies in the “Best Next Gen Wi-Fi Network Infrastructure” category. The award winner will be announced at a ceremony during the WBA Wireless Global Congress in San Jose, November 14th – 17th in San Jose, CA.

On behalf of the entire team at Affirmed Networks, we are truly honored to be considered for these awards along with such other worthy technology providers. We remain focused on helping our customers and the industry as a whole to transform their networks toward virtualized architectures, and would like to thank both the Fierce Innovation Awards and the WBA Awards for their recognition of the importance of this goal. Best of luck to all the Finalists!