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Competitive Edge: New industry trends drive operators to adopt NFV

August 13, 2015
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By Chandan Kumar, Director-Marketing and Integrated Solutions, Huawei India

As mobile internet becomes more widespread in the digital economy era, traditional voice and short message services (SMS) offered by telecom operators are continuously affected and squeezed by over-the-top (OTT) applications. The competitive environment is changing due to the thousands of OTT players that the telecom industry has to compete with. User experience and behaviours are also changing, as evidenced by the change in the nature of data traffic from web browsing to video streaming. New competition and new user experiences and behaviours require operators to make changes in their business, marketing, research and development, operation, and service models. These changes need the support of an agile telecom network.

Traditional telecom networks are silo networks and capital expenditure (capex) and their operation expenditures (opex) are extremely high. This makes service innovations hard to deliver. These problems have become a major deterrent to the development of operators in the mobile internet era.

Telecom network restructuring is important for improving the user experience. The major task involved in telecom network restructuring is the adoption of information technologies (IT) in order to restructure communications technology (CT) networks to gain a competitive edge. New technologies such as cloud computing bring in new opportunities for operators’ telecom networks and provide the technical basis for network restructuring. For traditional telecom network elements, software and hardware are decoupled. However, cloud computing technologies are used to share resources, flexibly allocate these resources, and deliver network function virtualisation (NFV). This is known as cloudification. According to research carried out by the prominent consulting firm Infonetics, core network is the first step towards a cloud-based telecom network.

Efficient software architecture and design ensure cloud-based core network capabilities

As the switching and control centre for a telecom network, a cloud-based core network needs to continue to satisfy carrier-grade service level requirements, such as high reliability, high performance, and self-healing of faults. The cloud-based core network also needs to be open. This necessitates the core network to possess efficient software architecture and design.

Cloud-aware architecture

Cloud-aware software architecture is essential to core network capabilities. Cloud software architecture must ensure that telecom software is deployed by layers (such as service distribution, service processing, and data storage), in order to separate service logic and session data. A stateless design is adopted for service processing units. A direct benefit of cloud-aware architecture is flexible scalability of service processing units. Virtual machine resources can be flexibly added or released according to the traffic fluctuation. For scalability, service processing units do not need to consider the sessions being processed. Scalability can be achieved very quickly, and the traffic can be automatically rebalanced in minutes.

Carrier-grade service level assurance

As the centre of a telecom network, the core network must satisfy carrier-grade service level requirements. Multi-layer reliability strategies, KPI-based health check/self healing of faults, service queue traffic control, high-performance design based on virtual computing/storage/network resource optimisation, and heterogeneous resource pools for both traditional and NFV networks should be considered for ensuring carrier-grade service level agreements.


Dedicated software and hardware and closed service systems for traditional telecom networks complicate service on-line and impede innovation, thereby preventing operators from effectively competing with OTT players. The cloud-based core network primarily aims to build an open network to support commercial off-the-shelf hardware and multiple Cloud OS, pre-integrate with multi-vendor software/hardware, deliver an open, collaborated and innovative industrial ecosystem to aggregate industry values and support open source code.

Huawei CloudCore solution leads core network cloudification

The Huawei CloudCore solution fully complies with the software architecture and design requirements of a cloud-based core network and covers all core network elements. Furthermore, the Huawei CloudCore solution contributes a lot to NFV standards. It has also gained industry recognition and made multiple contributions to both industrial eco-system establishments and business cases.

For NFV standardisation, Huawei has joined all NFV industrial organisations and open source communities. Huawei joined the ETSI NFV working group as co-chairman of the NFV architecture group. Huawei is involved in all nine research topics of the working group and has made important contributions to a number of topics. A total of 348 of Huawei’s proposals have been accepted by the NFV organisation, which makes Huawei the No. 1 contributor.

During the 2015 IMS World Forum, Huawei’s CloudCore Solution won the Best Cloud/Virtualised IMS Solution award due to its leading technology, successful pilots and commercial experience. According to the latest report released by the prominent consulting firm Current Analysis at the end of 2014, Huawei was selected by global operators as the best SDN/NFV solution provider for two consecutive years.

Huawei has collaborated with major NFV players across the industry chain to conduct interoperability tests in its NFV/SDN Open Labs located in Asia, Europe and North America, in order to ensure compatibility between NFV solutions from different technology vendors. More than 20 successful PoC/tests have been conducted by Huawei for various companies, which include Telefónica, Vodafone Inc., China Mobile and Deutsche Telekom. Huawei has already been chosen as the core network virtualisation supplier by telecom service providers in Russia, Europe and the Middle East, including the world’s first commercial NFV-based voice over LTE (VoLTE) network in Europe.

With leading architecture and design, great industrial contributions, industry acknowledgement and mature commercial capabilities, Huawei’s CloudCore solution will provide strong support to operators in building new, agile telecom networks and leading the cloudification journey of the core network.

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