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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.

Affirmed Networks’ Chairman and CEO Named Finalist for Light Reading Hall of Fame Award

by Angela Whiteford Angela Whiteford No Comments

Affirmed Networks’ founder, Chairman and CEO, Hassan Ahmed, was named as a finalist as part of Light Reading’s 2018 Leading Lights Awards in the category of “Hall of Fame.”  Seeking to recognize individuals for their “remarkable contributions” to the telecommunications industry, the Light Reading Hall of Fame award will be awarded at the upcoming Big Communications Event (BCE) taking place in May in Austin, Texas.

The selection of Hassan as a candidate for this award, speaks to the credibility of the award and the types of individuals also being considered.  Throughout his career, Hassan has consistently demonstrated an ability to identify and capitalize on opportunities for market disruption.

A Stanford PhD in Electrical Engineering, Hassan has been either a CEO or a senior executive in three companies that achieved significant success disrupting incumbent providers and standard operating procedure.  He served as CTO of Cascade Communications, a pioneer in the ATM switching market, who’s equipment carried an estimated 70% of the world’s Internet traffic during the mid 90s.

In 1996, Hassan was part of the leadership team at Sonus Networks, a company focused on enabling the transformation of telephony to IP, which proved to be a disruptive force to the market.  Hassan served as Chairman and CEO of Sonus Networks for 10 years growing it from an idea into a publicly traded company with a peak market value of $15.4 billion.

In 2010, Hassan identified another opportunity for disrupting the way networks are built that resulted in his founding of Affirmed Networks.  One of the first companies to understand that traditional carrier cost structures were unsustainable, Affirmed Networks has led the transition away from costly, inflexible hardware-based networks to more agile, virtualized, software-based architectures. Affirmed has more than 78 customers, including some of the world’s largest networks such as AT&T, Vodafone, Etisalat, Telus, and many others.

Prior to starting Affirmed Networks, Hassan worked as a Senior Advisor at Charles River Ventures.  He is a guest lecturer at MIT, Hassan also serves on the board of many successful technology companies and is on the board of overseers at Boston’s Museum of Science.

We would like to thank Light Reading for their recognition of Hassan’s achievements and to also congratulate the other distinguished individuals being considered for this prestigious award.

Helping Turkcell Complete Its Strategic VNF Transformation Ahead of Schedule

by Angela Whiteford Angela Whiteford No Comments

Affirmed Provides the Virtualized GiLAN Solution and Manages System Integration for Turkcell

As the system integrator for the network transformation initiative at Turkcell, a leading mobile network operator in Turkey, Affirmed is responsible for ensuring overall success by developing a cohesive strategy and onboarding virtual network functions (VNFs) from 3rd parties as well as our own. Our specialization in virtualized mobile networks made us the perfect choice to be both solution provider and system integrator for Turkcell. By creating a single, unified NFVi (Network Function Virtualization infrastructure) architecture, Turkcell can eliminate silos and align diverse functions and solutions. Affirmed Networks will oversee network day-to-day operations for the next five years.

Affirmed was also chosen to provide virtualized GiLAN solution to enable rapid delivery of new revenue generating services with optimized use of the NFVi.  The deployment was completed ahead of schedule, producing significant operational savings and enabling a rich set of features and capabilities, including proxy services, TCP optimization, security services, DPI, and video optimization.

Gediz Sezgin, Turkcell’s executive vice president – Network Technologies, cited Affirmed as “a strategic partner critical to the success of our transformation.” He praised Affirmed for providing needed expertise and innovation across many areas and credited us as the key to exceeding Turkcell’s schedule milestones and producing “significant savings.”

With over sixty deployments around the world, our expertise in virtualizing some of the world’s largest networks allows the Affirmed team to accelerate time-to-revenue for operators such as Turkcell. Operators want to create new services quickly, and automation, analytics, and slicing are key factors in designing, deploying and managing the next-generation of mobile networks. For operators like Turkcell, Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) is becoming mainstream to consolidate solutions running on multiple hardware architectures and align services on a common NFVi platform.

Check out our video (hosted by Light Reading’s Ray Le Maistre) of Turkcell’s Aykut Soner Demirkol and Angela Whiteford from Affirmed Networks discussing key considerations in mobile network transformations.

“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.