Benu Networks brings a cloud-native architecture to its virtual BNG

The vBNG sits between the access network and the core network, an area that some service providers refer to as the service edge.(Image by 3D Animation Production Company from Pixabay)

Benu Networks is bringing together the benefits of a cloud-native architecture with the company’s broadband network gateway (BNG). The company released a cloud-native virtual BNG (vBNG) that is targeted at telcos and is based on Benu’s software-defined edge (SD-Edge) platform. Because the vBNG is based upon disaggregated network functions, Benu said that service providers can scale their broadband service securely and use the gateway in both wired and wireless networks, or in a converged network.

According to Mike McFarland, VP of product management at Benu Networks, the vBNG sits between the access network and the core network, an area that some service providers refer to as the service edge. The vBNG sees all the traffic to the operator’s network and can authentic subscribers and also enforce policies such as bandwidth restrictions. McFarland said that currently most BNGs site further back in the network but one of the benefits of using a cloud-native architecture is that the vBNG can be closer to the network edge, which results in lower latency and improved customer experience because operators can push their content caching closer to the edge reducing the amount of traffic on the network.

McFarlane added that Benu decided to build a vBNG in response to service provider requests to push the BNG closer to the network edge. “Currently telcos are using traditional hardware-based BNG platforms,” he said. “But with our cloud-native disaggregated vBNG the hardware is separated from the software so operators can run the software on off-the-shelf servers. This gives them a broader diversity of vendors and they can pick and choose the right server for their needs.”

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Benu also integrated its secure access service edge (SASE) into its cloud-native vBNG, which means that the SASE runs inside the carrier network. McFarlane said the advantage of having the SASE integrated into the vBNG is that it enables security services to be at the network edge without having to buy appliances for every branch. “It’s much more cost effective and easier to manage and rollout,” McFarland said.  “This way you don’t have to manage thousands of endpoint devices.”

Benu Networks SASE is already being commercially deployed and the SASE integrated with the vBNG is currently being tested with some customers.

McFarland added that Benu’s integration of the SASE with the vBNG has attracted some interested from service providers that want to use it for both their wired broadband networks and their wireless broadband networks. “This is viewed by carriers as a great way to leverage the investment on the 5G core side and provide a path to having a more unified user experience across both the wired and wireless networks,” he said.

Benu Networks was founded in 2010. Its customers include Comcast, Liberty Global and Mediacom.