Network Functions Virtualization, Software-Defined Networking, and Cloud.

Why are networks still a differentiator?

Now more than ever, operators need to ensure that their networks remain a relevant and vital part of users’ everyday experience. Networks need to do more than simply deliver connectivity: they need to deliver added value in new and unique ways.

Today’s network is designed to handle data, but in a non-differentiated way. It’s optimized for people and selected services, but not for devices. Tomorrow’s network must be optimized for machines as well as services and people, and needs to be tightly connected to the underlying software architecture.

Ericsson is arming the world’s leading operators with a powerful platform to drive economic returns while enabling rapid innovation, new business models, greater customer value, and greater opportunities for third parties to participate in the customer value chain.

Only Ericsson delivers freedom of choice, ability to reinvent network value, and migration to the next-generation infrastructure with management, automation, and governance.

Components of a Next-Generation Network

A differentiated network, designed for value-add, needs these components: Distributed Cloud, Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Virtualized Network Functions (VNFs), Software-Defined Networking (SDN), and network slicing. Ericsson delivers on each one of these.

Distributed Cloud

Distributed cloud technology allows multiple datacenters, both central and distributed, to appear as a single, virtual datacenter. The datacenters are inter-connected by networking capabilities. When deploying functions in such a virtual datacenter, each function deploys to the datacenter best able to process it.

Combining distributed cloud technology with virtualization of network functions (VNFs) allows the functions to be deployed based on performance (and other) requirements, simplifying the optimization task.

When all these elements are brought together, you can create flexible and programmable networks for the needs of tomorrow.

SDN

To fully realize the potential of a cloud-based architecture for applications and network functions, the underlying network connectivity infrastructure needs to respond to change requests with the same agility that exists today in the cloud. SDN brings the power of programmability and automation to networks.

One of the key capabilities that NFV brings to the service provider network is the ability to instantiate network functions in real time at any desired location within the operator’s cloud platform. This is critical to optimize resource usage and realize the operational efficiency that NFV promises. Complex network functions, however, are usually not standalone entities. They need connectivity to other network functions and to applications. And this connectivity needs to be dynamic enough to follow the instantiation of virtual network functions. Without this real time programmability and response in the wide area network that provides the connectivity for VNFs, it is not possible to realize the true promise of NFV.

Ericsson’s approach to SDN is to make it a reality for service providers – transforming networks into an agile, on-demand, and application-responsive entity. We are enabling software-defined agility. We are doing this with a rich portfolio of product and pre-integrated solutions.

Read more about Ericsson’s SDN portfolio

Network Slicing

Network slicing divides a network into multiple slices. The slices are isolated from each other in the control and user planes as well as in the management plane, allowing each slice to be optimized individually for the use cases it is intended to support. Slices can be optimized in terms of performance and characteristics (e.g., a slice supporting a massive amount of sensors may have to be optimized to handle a large number of devices, but not necessarily high data rates and data volumes).

Learn more in Network Functions Virtualization and Software Management: Leveraging the Full Potential with Network Slicing (pdf)

IaaS

The Infrastructure as a Service layer in Ericsson Cloud System is realized through the Ericsson Cloud Execution Environment, a virtualization layer providing openness toward the hardware and application layers. Ericsson is a committed driver of the Open Platform for Network Functions Virtualization (OPNFV) as the vehicle to realize the Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) vision. The most recent development in the Ericsson Cloud Execution Environment is related to securing a telecom-grade environment for virtual network functions through improved performance, throughput and availability.

Why should Ericsson be your network modernization partner?

Get freedom of choice with full Ericsson support

Ericsson uniquely offers you freedom of choice, with full support, so that you can modernize while leveraging the economic model that is right for you. You can work with Ericsson with any deployment model, ranging from full decoupling of vendors to a fully-certified Ericsson stack. Regardless of how you want to manage the deployment of your network, Ericsson provides full support. In addition, Ericsson is a leader in open source SDN and NFV initiatives such as OPNFV and OpenDaylight, providing an ecosystem for industry alignment. Ericsson’s OPNFV certification program ensures inter-operability and optimizes the cost of deploying NFV.

Re-invent network value

Only Ericsson enables you to re-invent the role of the network, so that you can drive top-line growth while recognizing opex and capex benefits. Ericsson’s next-gen network enables next-gen revenue opportunities, such as Internet of Things (IoT), distributed Mobile Broadband (MBB), Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO). At the same time, Ericsson solutions drive savings to the bottom line with improvements around testing, optimized performance, automation of roll-out and more.

Optimize hybrid infrastructure

Ericsson helps you modernize your network in a way that maximizes returns on previous and current investments. While accelerating a movement to modern, Ericsson focuses on a controlled transition with known economics that allows you to leverage the lifetime value of existing assets. Ericsson’s seamless integration and pooling of resources enables functional parity and interworking during the transformation to cloud, when mixed native/cloud is your operational reality. Management, Automation, and Governance

With Ericsson, operators can count on common management, automation, and governance across their portfolio of assets (legacy and modern). Not only does this lead to cost savings, it also ensures an error-free, self-governing, self-monitoring environment with minimum human intervention. It also allows for instant availability of service at scale. Ericsson reduces time to market from months to days, allowing companies to go from concept to lab to market faster than ever before.

Further reading

Visit the The Journey to NFV blog for news and in-depth articles on NFV, SDN, and related technologies.