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Affirmed Networks Named Finalist in Mobile World Congress “Glomo Awards” for Second Consecutive Year

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We are pleased to announce that Affirmed Networks has, for the second consecutive year, been named a finalist as part of the esteemed “Glomo Awards” program that takes place as part of Mobile World Congress (MWC) annually.

Filled with a week full of keynotes, announcements, demonstrations and infinite cab lines, MWC represents an action-packed week for all involved. Each year, the Glomo Awards represent an exciting aspect of the show, with judges only selecting a handful of finalists from thousands of compelling submissions across the program’s award categories.

In 2016, Affirmed Networks was named a finalist for the first time, and while we did not come home with the “hardware”, the credibility and recognition we received through being part of the program was rewarding in and of itself.

This year, we are fortunate to have been named a finalist in the category of “Best Mobile Technology.” Specifically, within this category, Affirmed is a finalist with five other deserving companies in the “Best Technology Enabler” area. Once again, we are thrilled to be part of the conference program, and hope that finalists from across all categories will have the type of positive experience we continue to have as part of this event and program as a whole.

We would like to thank the GSMA for their overall organization of MWC, and the judges who have taken the time to evaluate thousands of applications. None of this would be possible, however, without the support of our customers, and the tremendously dedicated team we have as part of the Affirmed Networks family.

Collectively, we have our fingers crossed that we win the top award this year (and also hope it fits in the overhead bin on the flight home).

Wish us luck. We’ll keep you posted on all of our efforts and activities at the event.

Service Providers Speak: Why They’re Adopting Orchestration and How

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In this third blog post about the TM Forum report on Orchestration, we’re going to look into why service providers are adopting orchestration and how.

Top Business Drivers for Orchestration
According to a survey taken by CIOs and VPs in networking and operations, network and systems architects, IT managers, OSS/BSS directors, and software develops, the biggest reason service providers are automating through orchestration is to increase agility.

The infographic below displays the six main drivers for orchestration based on the survey, with agility implied in all three.

top-drivers-for-orchestration

 

Top 3 Drivers for Network Virtualization

These results are not surprising. In other research completed by TM Forum about NFV, nearly 80% of respondents said that reducing time from conceptualizing a service to billing for it was the main driver for virtualization.

drivers-for-network-virtualization

 

What Orchestration Systems Are Service Providers Using?service-orchestration
Almost two-thirds of respondents said that they have either purchased an orchestration system from a startup or established supplier, or they have developed their own using open-source technology. A deeper explanation of purchased or developed systems is shown in the infographic to the right.

Although operators may choose different methods of adopting orchestration, they are all headed in the same direction.

In the next blog we will delve into what is needed for orchestration.

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

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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?

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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 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

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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/