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The Importance of Performance as Operators Race to 5G

by Angela Whiteford Angela Whiteford No Comments

Today, Communications Service Providers (CSPs) are facing competition on many fronts while continuing to operate in an industry in the midst of one of its most significant transformations it has ever faced. While industry pundits have many ideas in terms of what is needed to compete in this changing environment, the un-ending growth of data on networks globally is making it critical for CSPs to focus on improving both the scale and performance on their network.

The types of performance and scalability improvements that are required, however, cannot be achieved through traditional approaches. Mobile service providers need a different model for scaling their networks: one that relies on software rather than hardware to cost-effectively grow the network.

As a trusted provider to CSPs, Affirmed Networks has always been focused on improving the speed and performance of VNFs in the mobile core. We deliver the highest levels of performance across the industry by leveraging the latest advancements and innovations in chipsets and processors developed by partners such as Intel. To prove this point, recent joint testing with Intel achieved record-breaking performance benchmarks with our vEPC that reached speeds 10X higher than competitive alternatives—over 150 Gbps on a single Intel Xeon server — allowing CSPs to significantly lower their cost per bit.

Achieving these levels of performance will be critical for CSPs to support the high-bandwidth applications such as fixed wireless and augmented/virtual reality.

in the face of increasing competition and an industry in transition, CSPs can feel confident that a focus on turbocharging their network will pay dividends as they race to 5G.

Is Your RAN Vendor Trying to Sell You a Mobile Core? Run in the Other Direction

by Ashwin Moranganti Ashwin Moranganti No Comments

It’s pretty obvious, but building a car is vastly different than building a house.  It requires significantly different tools, skills and processes. That said, if the company that built your home offered to sell you a minivan they designed and built themselves, you’d most likely decline—even if they offered their minivan at a great price.

While that illustration may seem obtuse, the message behind it is not.  Specifically, through our work with the world’s leading operators, we see the same mistake being made from time to time when they buy mobile core solutions from their RAN providers. Think about it.  RAN vendors are in the business of selling hardware—lots of it. Today’s mobile core vendors are in the business of reducing hardware through virtualization and anticipating the decoupled service architecture of 5G. Although RAN and mobile core technologies are designed to work together, they’re worlds apart in terms of how they’re built.

Buying a radio-core combination from your RAN vendor is a bad idea for several reasons:

  • You’re probably settling for a second-rate core. No vendor is going to be best-of-breed in everything; at best, they may do a few things well. If a vendor is making 90% of their money selling hardware, they’re probably not the right people to entrust with your cloud/virtualization strategy. Mobile cores are a science unto themselves; it’s why some companies like Affirmed Networks are 100% focused on building virtual mobile core solutions. It’s a different game.
  • Market competition fosters innovation and drives down prices. Market consolidation stifles innovation and drives up prices. Think about Boeing, Airbus and the airline industry: Is that what you want for the telecom industry as it embarks on a new era of growth ushered in by the arrival of 5G?
  • You’re selling the vision of 5G short. 5G is all about disaggregating components in the network and providing open interfaces, not building a proprietary system based on one vendor’s architecture. If you approach your 5G mobile core the same way you approached your 3G core, you stand to miss out on many of the benefits that 5G brings to the network.

What exactly are the benefits that a best-of-breed mobile core can bring to your business? We’re glad you asked. Let’s look at what it means for some of our customers:

  • It means having a cloud-native, 5G mobile core right now, not three years from now when we get around to it on our roadmap.
  • It means virtualized network functions that are already decoupled to scale efficiently, deliver high performance and accelerate service creation. And remember, these aren’t just requirements for the future, they’re benefits that can drive revenue and deliver a significant competitive advantage today.
  • It means unique innovations you won’t find anywhere else, such as virtualized network probes that deliver rich network insights without impacting network performance and a built-in service automation platform that can create new micro- and macro-services in minutes.

Look, we understand the appeal of saving money on your mobile core and having one throat to choke. But wouldn’t it be better not to have to choke any throats at all? You wouldn’t drive a car designed by your architect, or live in a home built by your mechanic. Why settle for a virtualized mobile core deigned by your legacy hardware vendor? After all, you’re going to have to live with that decision for a long time.

Is Your RAN vendor Trying to Sell You a Mobile Core? Run in the Other Direction

by Ashwin Moranganti Ashwin Moranganti No Comments

It’s pretty obvious, but building a car is vastly different than building a house.  It requires significantly different tools, skills and processes. That said, if the company that built your home offered to sell you a minivan they designed and built themselves, you’d most likely decline—even if they offered their minivan at a great price.

While that illustration may seem obtuse, the message behind it is not.  Specifically, through our work with the world’s leading operators, we see the same mistake being made from time to time when they buy mobile core solutions from their RAN providers. Think about it.  RAN vendors are in the business of selling hardware—lots of it. Today’s mobile core vendors are in the business of reducing hardware through virtualization and anticipating the decoupled service architecture of 5G. Although RAN and mobile core technologies are designed to work together, they’re worlds apart in terms of how they’re built.

Why You Shouldn’t Buy a Radio-Core Combination from RAN Vendors

Buying a radio-core combination from your RAN vendor is a bad idea for several reasons:

  • You’re probably settling for a second-rate core. No vendor is going to be best-of-breed in everything; at best, they may do a few things well. If a vendor is making 90% of their money selling hardware, they’re probably not the right people to entrust with your cloud/virtualization strategy. Mobile cores are a science unto themselves; it’s why some companies like Affirmed Networks are 100% focused on building virtual mobile core solutions. It’s a different game.
  • Market competition fosters innovation and drives down prices. Market consolidation stifles innovation and drives up prices. Think about Boeing, Airbus and the airline industry: Is that what you want for the telecom industry as it embarks on a new era of growth ushered in by the arrival of 5G?
  • You’re selling the vision of 5G short. 5G is all about disaggregating components in the network and providing open interfaces, not building a proprietary system based on one vendor’s architecture. If you approach your 5G mobile core the same way you approached your 3G core, you stand to miss out on many of the benefits that 5G brings to the network.

What exactly are the benefits that a best-of-breed mobile core can bring to your business? We’re glad you asked. Let’s look at what it means for some of our customers:

  • It means having a cloud-native, 5G mobile core right now, not three years from now when we get around to it on our roadmap.
  • It means virtualized network functions that are already decoupled to scale efficiently, deliver high performance and accelerate service creation. And remember, these aren’t just requirements for the future, they’re benefits that can drive revenue and deliver a significant competitive advantage today.
  • It means unique innovations you won’t find anywhere else, such as virtualized network probes that deliver rich network insights without impacting network performance and a built-in service automation platform that can create new micro- and macro-services in minutes.

Look, we understand the appeal of saving money on your mobile core and having one throat to choke. But wouldn’t it be better not to have to choke any throats at all? You wouldn’t drive a car designed by your architect, or live in a home built by your mechanic. Why settle for a virtualized mobile core designed by your legacy hardware vendor? After all, you’re going to have to live with that decision for a long time.

Learn more about our mobile core solutions.

“Can-du:” Affirmed Provides Virtualized Mobile Core Network to Innovative UAE Telecom Service Provider

by Angela Whiteford Angela Whiteford No Comments

At MWC 2018 in Barcelona, Affirmed Networks was proud to announce our selection by du, a UAE-based telecommunications service provider from Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC).  du has us to provide an industry-leading 3GPP core network based on our Narrow Band IoT (NB-IoT) mobile core, enabling a wide range of smart city use cases.

As Mohammed Shanableh, co-founder of Affirmed, puts it, “It’s not just a tactical point solution. Du wanted a software-based model for the end-to-end service, not just the core. They didn’t think only about an IOT vertical. The model applies to different traffic types, so they are building for the future. Smart cities is the trigger point to start the activity, but they’ve thought about the intelligence in software, subscriber management, all the things around the sensors and devices, and all verticals.”

Selecting Affirmed for “Softwarization”
“Can-du:” Affirmed Provides Virtualized Mobile Core Network to Innovative UAE Telecom Service Provider

Saleem AlBlooshi, Chief Infrastructure Officer, Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company/du, and Mohammed Shanableh, Affirmed Networks’ Vice President, Global Operations, formalize a partnership between the two companies at Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona.

du’s Chief Infrastructure Officer, Salim Al Balooshi, shared his sentiments regarding their selection of Affirmed during a recent interview in Barcelona. “We selected Affirmed for the ‘softwarization’ of the infrastructure because they align with our goals of efficiency and time-to-market. 5G is about ultra-high speed, ultra-low latency and connected devices and IOT. It is use-case based. Smart Cities is an important pillar in making Dubai customers’ lives easier and helping them interact with the government in the simplest way.”

du is the platform provider for Smart Dubai and has many UAE firsts to its credit, including introduction of Pay by the Second® billing system, IPTV and self-service portal. The award-winning telecommunications service provider serves 9 million individual customers and over 100,000 UAE businesses with mobile, fixed line, broadband internet, and Home services over its 4G LTE network.

The operator will use Affirmed Networks’ NB-IoT solution on its fully virtualized native cloud open-stack environment and Affirmed’s Virtualized Mobile Core and virtualized WiFi Gateway to deliver VoWiFi and fixed wireless services as part of a innovative deployment strategy that allows them to leverage capabilities such as network slicing as part of a fully virtualized, software defined native cloud core network that prepares them to elegantly move to 5G.

Helping Carriers Move to 5G

Affirmed’s Network Function Virtualization (NFV) is a software-based platform running on standard multi-core hardware, allowing telecom operators to move towards 5G.

According to Al Balooshi:”Adopting Affirmed Networks ensures we have a 5G-ready core network with slicing to serve enterprise as well as consumer use cases. The cooperation in 5G and IoT development is essential to realize UAE leaders’ vision to build the smartest city and to be on top of the technological evolution.”

By embracing new technologies such as NB-IoT, VoWiFi and Fixed LTE, du is now able to add new revenue generating services while achieving better network utilization and improving customer quality of experience.  The Affirmed team looks forward to continuing our work with du as they transform their network toward 5G.

Affirmed Networks currently has more than 78 customers around the world, who, like du see software based networks as being critical to efficiently delivering a host of new services as the industry moves to 5G.

View the Fierce Wireless interview: Affirmed Networks and Du discuss 5G, Smart Cities.

Affirmed Networks Joins the Debate – Core vs. Edge in a 5G World?

by Angela Whiteford Angela Whiteford No Comments

As always, MWC 2018 was a whirlwind of customer meetings, demos, and meeting with industry influencers. In addition to all this activity, Affirmed Networks’ Chief Architect, Ron Parker, participated in a lively session about which part of the network would be most critical in a 5G world.

Affirmed’s Ron Parker advocates the importance of the Network Core in a 5G world during a session at MWC 2018 in Barcelona.

The session, led by Dr. Bi Qi President of China Telecom Technology Innovation Center, which was titled “Debate: Do 5G Business Cases Depend More on Core or Edge Upgrades,” featured an impressive group of representatives from across the global telecom industry, who were split into teams to advocate one side over another. During the session, much of the debate centered on highlighting the unique business cases that are being built around 5G technologies, and how those are influencing the business and technology roadmaps of operators globally.

A proud member of “Team Core,” Parker’s views focused on the importance of a 5G core in terms of its ability to deliver, tailored “slices” of the network to enterprise customers, offering significant growth prospects for network operators offering connected services such as IoT and M2M.

Affirmed Networks Joins the Debate - Core vs. Edge in a 5G World?

Affirmed’s Ron Parker participates in a panel of thought-leaders from companies such as China Telecom, ECI, Qualcomm, ZTE, and others.

As expected, both sides presented articulate views and informed insights to support their respective sides, offering the audience a unique opportunity to hear perspectives directly from some of the leaders responsible for helping the industry move to 5G. Following the impassioned debate, fortunately, both sides parted amicably — mutually agreeing on the significant growth opportunity that 5G will provide across the ecosystem.

One of the panel’s more vocal participants, Parker offered several perspectives, including a closing remark highlighting the importance of 5G:

“The future of mobile networks is here today. Cloud-native and virtualized, the 5G-ready core networks being deployed by today’s innovative operators are enabling a new breed of customized slices, services and revenue streams over the years ahead.”

“The future of mobile networks is here today. Cloud-native and virtualized, the 5G-ready core networks being deployed by today’s innovative operators are enabling new breed of customized slices, services and revenue streams over the years ahead.” -Ron Parker, Chief Architect, Affirmed Networks