CenturyLink announces virtualized network gateway via CORD

Nokia core networks (Nokia)
CenturyLink is banking on CORD alongside SDN and NFV to add efficiency and agility to its central offices. Image: Nokia Networks

CenturyLink said it made a major step forward on its path toward network virtualization with the deployment of its own virtualized Broadband Network Gateway (vBNG), which the company said will support its broadband services using the Central Office Re-architected as a Datacenter (CORD) design.

“Our CORD deployment is a significant milestone on our path to achieve full network virtualization,” said Aamir Hussain, CenturyLink’s executive VP and CTO, in a release from the company. “This is a key component in our strategy to bring virtual network services to our customers while driving virtualization into our last-mile network, allowing us to quickly and efficiently deliver new technologies that meet our customers’ rapidly changing needs.”

CenturyLink said its use of CORD, alongside software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV), will create data center economics and cloud agility in its central offices “for fast and efficient delivery of new network services to residential and business customers.” The company said today’s deployment is a key milestone as it works toward its goal of full global virtualization coverage in its IP core network by the end of 2019.

And what of the details of the deployment? CenturyLink said its SDN access controller is an OpenDaylight-based controller stack “that integrates its legacy operations support systems (OSS) and latest generation orchestration platforms.” The company added that, aside from virtualizing its infrastructure, it is also working to deploy virtualized services including a virtual firewall, data center interconnection and software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) for enterprise customers. “Through these virtualization efforts, CenturyLink is enhancing the customer experience by providing them with more control of their services,” the company said.

Of course, CenturyLink isn’t the only carrier moving toward software-based network virtualization. AT&T, Verizon and others are deploying various network elements in order to reduce their reliance on sometimes costly hardware in favor of software-powered services running on off-the-shelf hardware.

Indeed, one of the next major steps in the market’s evolution to virtualization is to ensure interoperability among various operators’ systems. Along those lines, ETSI said that during its recent two-week NFV “Plugtest” event in Spain, 98% of interoperability tests related to features such as network service on-boarding, instantiation and termination succeeded.