Alcatel-Lucent broadens its network virtualization roadmap to mobile

Summary:At the Mobile World Congress, Alcatel-Lucent and China Mobile, which has more than 700 million customers, will demonstrate virtualized LTE service.

Alcatel-Lucent on Wednesday outlined plans to roll out a series of virtual mobile network functions in an effort to become more of a software player independent of hardware.

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For Alcatel-Lucent, which primarily sells hardware, the move to a software defined networking strategy for mobile carriers is notable. Cisco has also positioned itself to be more of a software player.

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In a nutshell, Alcatel-Lucent will migrate its packet core, IP multimedia subsystem and radio access network---the core components of a mobile network---and move them to the cloud. Overall, the dream is to enable a virtual telecom. The company said that its network functional virtualization (NPV) portfolio is being used by 20 carriers.

At the Mobile World Congress, Alcatel-Lucent and China Mobile, which has more than 700 million customers, will demonstrate virtualized LTE service. The win for carriers is that a virtual network can allow them to automate and move to new services quickly.

Alcatel-Lucent said that it will offer a "carrier-grade virtualized mobile portfolio" that will be hardware independent and connect to OpenStack, the open source cloud operating system.

The game plan for Alcatel-Lucent is to get carriers on its CloudBand platform to manage virtual applications. To date, Alcatel-Lucent has three CloudBand NPV customers and 10 trials. The company's Nuage Networks software defined networking tools are being used in 20 carrier trials.

Topics: Networking

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Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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