Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) and Telefónica have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to test network functions virtualization (NFV) technologies with a focus on enhancing network performance and efficiencies.
Telefónica had previously set the stage for this collaboration as the service provider tested Alcatel-Lucent's Virtualized Service Router in its NFV Reference Lab using the OpenMANO NFV orchestration stack.
According to Telefónica and Alcatel-Lucent, results reached 100-percent line-rate performance, which allowed data to be transported with zero losses. Over the coming months, the pair will test other elements of Alcatel-Lucent's NFV portfolio.
Since the Alcatel-Lucent Service Router Operator System is supported and managed by the 5620 Service Aware Manager, service providers such as Telefónica can deploy it alongside existing hardware-based routers.
This new MOU renews and expands the two companies' February 2014 agreement which applied Alcatel-Lucent's CloudBand platform to advance NFV implementation. Through this latest agreement, Alcatel-Lucent and Telefónica will investigate how mobile networks can be transformed to meet demands being placed on them by the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and increased customer connectivity.
During the next phase of their collaboration, Telefónica and Alcatel-Lucent will test the VSR in a production environment as well as testing other elements of Alcatel-Lucent's NFV portfolio including the virtualized evolved packet core, virtualized Session Border Controller and the vCPE.
Another part of their partnership focuses on the OSS and back office. Beginning in 2012, Alcatel-Lucent and Telefónica hatched plans to streamline the telco's OSS using Alcatel-Lucent's Motive Automated Operations & Recovery service assurance.
While NFV is still a relatively nascent concept amongst most service providers, this collaboration shows that Tier 1 service provider interest is growing.
A recent Dell'Oro report revealed that despite the immaturity of NFV platforms, the industry is continuing to push hard on development and service providers have changed their conversations around the technology from "if it will happen to 'when' it will happen" with signs that large deployments will happen in the next 12 months.
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