By Anders Hillbur, 12 April, 2016.

Ericsson Partners with NTT DoCoMo on First Commercial Multivendor NFV

“Quick, we need a service rolled out right now.” 

As fast becomes redefined by a market that has become accustomed to on-demand, the network must adapt. Operators and subscribers alike simply “need it now” and are no longer willing to wait. 

To meet growing enterprise and carrier demands for dynamic and flexible network services, operators are turning to the cloud and network functions virtualization (NFV). The promise of NFV includes a more cost-effective and rapid introduction of new services and capabilities (preparing for 5G and Internet of Things, for example.)  Operators are finally starting to achieve these benefits with comprehensive NFV strategies. While an incredibly complex undertaking that requires extensive industry collaboration, global standards organizations have been working intensively to define NFV and ensure vital industry interoperability. And vendors are working in tandem to deliver true NFV transformation for shared customers. 

Earlier this month, Ericsson announced its role in the successful launch of NTT DoCoMo’s multi-vendor NFV solution that leverages Ericsson’s open NFV platform. The launch is the first commercial deployment of its kind anywhere in the world.

Open, Multivendor NFV Platform for a Cost Effective, Scalable Network

Ericsson’s open NFV platform provides interoperability and connectivity with any carrier class virtualized network function and software defined networking (SDN) solution running on any hardware platform. It provides the highest levels of performance, reliability, operation and maintenance capabilities. The new virtualized environment enables NTT DoCoMo to accelerate the delivery of Telco services over a stable, scalable and interoperable network.

Based on an open architecture, the solution consists of the OpenStack-based Ericsson Cloud Execution Environment as the virtualization platform and the NFV orchestrator, Ericsson Cloud Manager. It initially supports a multivendor virtual EPC deployment.

Ericsson Cloud Execution Environment and Ericsson Cloud Manager provide NTT DoCoMo with flexible and dynamic resource management and orchestration for:

  • Fast introduction of new services
  • Improved efficiency
  • Increased network resilience

Turning To Standards To Drive Better Services 

It was essential for NTT DoCoMo that its NFV deployment be based on a standardized, open and multivendor solution. This would ensure:

  • Ability to deploy innovative services faster
  • Interoperability
  • Preparedness for whatever the future brings

NTT DoCoMo and Ericsson have been collaborating closely to drive global standards and interoperability in Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV), ETSI NFV and 3GPP. Our strong partnership and mutual experiences from deploying the OPNFV network architecture will accelerate global standardization and interoperability.

A Big Step For NFV

Following active involvement with standards bodies, Ericsson and NTT DoCoMo have successfully launched the first commercial multivendor NFV deployment. This represents a major advancement for NFV. What’s more exciting is that it’s just the beginning of a virtualized network future that will provide better, more dynamic services in a way that is faster and more cost-effective than ever before.

Written by Anders Hillbur

Anders Hillbur is External Communications Manager, handling media and analyst relations for Business Unit Cloud and IP at Ericsson, promoting Ericsson’s next generation Cloud infrastructure, network virtualization and IP networks.

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