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A Summer to Give Back

by Affirmed Affirmed No Comments

Affirmed Networks’ Culture of Community Support Runs Wild

For the past five years, Affirmed Networks has worked to help shape the future of the telecommunications industry-at large as it evolves toward virtualized software-based architectures. With more than 35 customer deployments and another 40+ trials underway, the results of this mission and focus have been truly impressive. Much of the credit for this success is due to the talented and passionate people at Affirmed and a culture that values innovation and hard work. While this reputation of innovation is becoming known across the industry, a lesser-known aspect of Affirmed’s culture is our commitment to giving back and supporting our community. And, if this past Summer is any indication, this is an area where we are producing results as well.

Affirmed’s track record of community involvement is impressive indeed, as the company supports intern programs, regularly attends local events and supports important local causes. In addition to these ongoing initiatives, this summer the Affirmed Networks team participated in two races to support local organizations that provide goods and services to those in need.

On August 11th, Team Affirmed participated in the 24th annual Cigna/Elliot 5K road race. In its 24th year, the race is the largest road race in New Hampshire and one of the largest 5K road races in New England. Proceeds from the road race support the Elliot Regional Cancer Center, a leader in cancer care provider located in Manchester, NH, and Londonderry, NH.

On August 20th, The Affirmed Team participated in the 3rd Annual Firefighter/SSG Kevin J. O’Boyle 5K Run/Walk. The event was held in memory of Army Veteran Kevin O’Boyle who passed away on August 22, 2013. This event is near and dear to the Affirmed Team, as it is held to honor the son of Maureen O’Boyle, a long-time employee of Affirmed Networks.

All proceeds from this year’s event honored two organizations. The first is Last Call Foundation, started in memory of Fallen Firefighter Michael Kennedy, which provides funding, education, and research to advance the safety needs of the Boston firefighting community. The second is Project New Hope, which provides retreats and support groups for veterans and their families, allowing veterans to rebuild with honor.

Our participation in events like these is truly representative of the fabric of our company and reflective of the types of people we have within it. We are honored to have a group of people focused on transforming both our networks and our community at the same time. Keep an eye on us, because we plan on continuing to make progress on both fronts!

Etisalat Goes Virtual with Affirmed

by Affirmed Affirmed No Comments

Joining an impressive list of Tier One operators worldwide, this week Etisalat became the latest major operator to announce the deployment of Affirmed Networks’ Mobile Content Cloud (vEPC) Solution. By deploying a vEPC, the telecom giant intends to capitalize on the many inherit benefits that a virtualized architecture provides, including the ability to quickly and easily develop new services supporting their consumer, Machine-to-Machine (M2M), the Internet of Things (IoT) and Smart City initiatives.

Located in the UAE, Etisalat is one the world’s largest, and most innovative telecom operators. The company has operations in 18 countries across Asia, the Middle East and Africa, more than 167 million total subscribers and, in 2012 was named the most powerful company in the UAE by Forbes Middle East.

Extending upon their rich history of innovation, Etisalat sought to “cloudify the network” as part of a project that began in early 2016. Focused on better embracing the Cloud – or “Sahaab” as it is referred to in Arabic – Etisalat set forth to deploy a compelling mix of services that would support the broader national agenda in the UAE called “Vision 2021” focused on advancing the region’s digital economy.

The nationwide deployment of a virtualized network infrastructure allows Etisalat to deliver connectivity and compelling new services to customers spanning all corners of their footprint across the UAE.

Having successfully completed the evolution from a legacy architecture to a more flexible, virtualized architecture, the company now has the agilility to continually deliver the new types of services that consumers and business customers demand more quickly than ever.

Etisalat also plans to leverage the benefits of virtualization and software to quickly and efficiently “spin-up” virtual mobile network cores capable of supporting multiple applications, such as Internet of Things (IoT)/M2M, VoLTE, Wi-Fi calling and Smart City. In addition to deploying our flagship Mobile Content Cloud solution, Etisalat has also deployed our virtualized ePDG solution, which they have leveraged to deliver a WiFi calling service.

The speed in which Etisalat was able to go from testing to the deployment of new services is due to many factors. Certainly, the decisive and forward-thinking team at Etisalat was critical, their focus never wavered once their vision was in place. We also believe that the technology we provide played a strong role in the success of this deployment as well. Not only is our Mobile Content Cloud widely proven, but its ability to integrate in a truly agnostic manner with a wide range of hardware and hypervisor vendors (such as Quanta and Canonical, respectively) eliminated many of the obstacles encountered by other solutions.

As an added benefit, Etisalat’s evolution to a virtualized architecture provides a future-proof foundation for handling increased demands on the network brought on by the IoT trend and the availability of new technologies like 5G.

On behalf of all of us at Affirmed, we could could not be more proud and thrilled to have a world-leader like Etisalat now as a valued customer. Based on their already-impressive track record of innovation, we look forward to watching Etisalat find new and exciting ways to leverage our software-based mobile network infrastructure as they continually strive to provide their customers with the best possible experience.

To date, Affirmed Networks has over 38 commercial customers across five continents.

The Convergence of SDN and NFV

by Affirmed Affirmed No Comments

I’ve been asked quite a bit recently about SDN (Software Defined Networking) and NFV (Network Functions Virtualization). There has been significant confusion in the market regarding these two terms –some say they compete, while others feel they are one and the same.

However, neither of those statements is true. SDN and NFV are complementary networking approaches, both residing within a common virtualization framework. One operates at a macro level, and the other at a more granular, functional level. And while many service providers are deploying SDN and NFV in conjunction, neither approach relies on the other.

I’ll define them both for you, and illustrate how they work together.

SDN is literally that – software-defined networking. It utilizes the same concepts as virtualization by abstracting all the physical components and connectivity of the network into a flexible, software-defined architecture. It is a centrally-controlled framework that resides on low-cost, non-proprietary hardware.

The appeal of SDN is defined by the freedom it enables – freedom to centralize command and control, to create new network configurations on the fly, to reduce operational complexity, and to lower overall cost through the use of non-proprietary hardware.

The virtualization layer centrally manages the network, enabling changes to be made through a single console. This reduces the need to go onsite to rip and replace routers and switches, or to reconfigure physical network connections. With an investment in SDN, operational savings can be quickly realized.

Furthermore, by deploying these networks on low-cost hardware, capital expenditures are reduced as well. An SDN-based infrastructure uses all physical resources at its disposal, delivering a more robust network in the process as the virtualization layer adds a high degree of intelligence and control. As a result, nothing is wasted, and every component is at full utilization and optimization.

In summary, by embracing SDN, the expensive legacy vendor models of the past will either need to adapt, or they will dissipate. This movement will only serve to benefit our friends in the operator community.

On the other hand, NFV is the virtualization of network applications and services (EPC, content filters, security monitors and sandboxes, load balancers, etc.) that reside and coexist within an SDN framework.

Formerly the provenance of specialized appliances or ATCA hardware, these applications are now deployed in a software-only configuration, also known as a VNF (virtualized network function) format. These VNFs are comprised of single or multiple VMs (virtual machines) and configured to execute their specific functionality optimally.

Like any VM or sequence of VMs, the VNF can be replicated like a file, and easily moved across the network as required for deployment or backup. In the case of the Affirmed Networks Mobile Content Cloud, the VNF can dynamically scale up and down based on traffic requirements and can do so at a more granular level (per individual Mobile Content Cloud service requirements).

Software Defined Networking (SDN) Network Functions Virtualization (NFV)
Defined as virtualization of the network infrastructure. Centralizes command and control of the network. Allows rapid provisioning of new networks without the complexity of physical upgrades. Network functions that are fully virtualized, and free from dependencies on proprietary appliances and devices. Software-only in nature, and can be deployed on generic servers and SDN platforms.
Standards guided by the Open Networking Foundation (ONF). Initial standard is OpenFlow. Standards guided by the ETSI NFV Working Group. Basic NFV architecture/use case has been specified by ETSI.
Located in the Cloud data center, and extends to secondary server farms in support of network operations. Located in the service provider’s SDN network.
Initial uses are orchestration, Cloud infrastructure & networking. Initial uses are virtualized routers, firewalls, gateways, vEPC, etc.

SDN and NFV converge, meeting in the middle – the SDN layer abstracts the network itself, creating a virtualized environment for NFV applications to reside and thrive.

Even though SDN and NFV are different networking approaches, they can also be thought of as a dynamic duo. As SDN and NFV converge, they create a revolutionary architecture that’s drastically more robust, efficient, and profitable than legacy models of the past. The amalgamation of both these concepts is what truly constitutes the network of the future.


However, just because the SDN layer is the macro approach, it doesn’t necessarily need to come first. Networks can be deployed without SDN while still taking advantage of NFV, and vice versa. Since the two network approaches are complementary, not interdependent, operators can decide the order in which their network transformation will take place. While ultimately, converging SDN and NFV allows operators to reach their full potential, the order in which they arrive at a fully virtualized network is not so important.

Light Reading Recognizes Affirmed Networks for Innovation & Execution

by Affirmed Affirmed No Comments

Over the past several years, Affirmed Networks has been leading the industry’s transition toward virtualized networks – a journey that began with an evaluation of the technology as a potential game-changer and has now moved to widespread adoption as Communications Service Providers (CSPs) globally embrace the NFV as the next-generation network architecture.

Throughout this evolution, the team at Affirmed has diligently maintained its focus on developing world-class technology and delivering solutions that are transforming our customers’ networks, and more importantly, their bottom-lines. While the success of our customers continues to be our sole benchmark of success, it is becoming clear that the impact we are having is being noticed by the industry’s top observers and influencers.

This past week, Affirmed Networks was named as a finalist in two key categories as part of Light Reading’s annual Leading Lights awards program that coincides with the Big Communications Event taking place in Austin, TX in May. Specifically, we have been short-listed as a finalist in the “Best New Product (Telecom)” and “Company of the Year (Private)” categories, which is a tremendous honor.

We believe that our recognition in the “Best New Product” category is the result of our continued focus on developing and delivering technologies designed to meet the needs of our customers as they transition toward NFV-based architectures. While over the past year we have delivered several examples of innovative functionality and solutions – such as our Virtualized Wi-Fi Gateway and Active Intelligent vProbe – that are worthy of recognition, the solution that Light Reading has chosen to honor among the best new products for telecom operators is the Affirmed Service Automation Platform, or ASAP as we call it. We believe ASAP is squarely in line with the needs of operators as it reduces the time it takes to create and deliver new services across legacy and virtualized networks. ASAP allows operators to seamlessly and centrally manage service provisioning end-to-end, leading to faster service deployments, simplified service management, and a superior customer experience. Just as our Mobile Content Cloud offering has been critical in helping the network transform to virtualized architectures, our ASAP solution is another example of the type of innovation that Affirmed Networks has been committed to delivering to the industry since we were founded, and we are extremely honored that it has been selected as a finalist for this coveted award.

We believe that our selection as a finalist in the “Company of the Year (Private)” category is representative of the overall efforts of our entire team . We are now supporting 30 customer deployments and an additional 40 trials. We have continued to deliver innovations to the market, while supporting live deployments at some of the world’s largest operators including AT&T, LG U+, Telus, Vodafone and many others across all geographies. While we are proud of our efforts, we are truly honored to receive the recognition and consideration for this award.

On behalf of all of us at Affirmed Networks, we would like to thank Light Reading for recognizing our continued focus on innovation and our goal of helping operators worldwide to realize the transformative benefits of NFV as a next-generation architecture. It truly is an honor to be recognized among so many worthy candidates.
(A full list of this year’s finalists can be viewed here.)

We hope to see y’all in Austin.