ZTE launched what it claimed is the world's first virtualised Cloud NF (network function) solution for multi-RAT (radio access technology) networks at MWC 2014. It also unveiled its Cloud UniCore solution, which enables the virtualised operation of EPC/IMS core network equipment.
The evolution of mobile networks to flat, cloud-based networks will improve operator competitiveness and simplify operations, administration and management (OAM). In response to this trend, ZTE has developed the Cloud NF solution, which integrates the functions of core networks and controllers through network functions virtualisation (NFV).
The Cloud NF solution uses virtualisation technology to separate hardware from software in the architecture and integrates all network element functions of the mobile network. In addition, it applies the software-defined networking (SDN) concept to separate the gateway forwarding function from the core network, which improves forwarding efficiency.
In collaboration with Intel, ZTE has used a common Intel architecture hardware platform to build the entire system. ZTE is one of the leading developers of software for wireless system solutions provided by Intel. Through the use of this software, the ZTE Cloud NF solution achieves outstanding performance.
Mr. Liu Jianhua, CEO of ZTE’s Core Network Product Line, said: 'We are glad to work with Intel on technology innovation and the Cloud NF system, an industry-leading virtualisation solution. Our architecture provides an efficient solution for deploying multi-mode 2G/3G/4G multi-layer networks, and enables the smooth transition from legacy networks through to 5G networks.'
The ZTE Cloud NF solution has completed joint testing with a leading operator in China, during which the mobile network virtualisation solution performed very well. It will be promoted around the world in 2014, with a focus on its application in 4G networks.
Cloud UniCore solution
ZTE also unveiled its Cloud UniCore solution at MWC 2014, which enables the virtualised operation of EPC/IMS core network equipment. Responding to changes in network load capacity, the Cloud UniCore Solution uses virtual platform technology to enable the flexible configuration and operation of network equipment, meeting the demanding network operation requirements of the age of 4G, big data, converged networks.
The ZTE Cloud UniCore Solution makes use of the latest network function virtualization (NFV) and software defined network (SDN) technologies. By decoupling software and hardware, it achieves the flexible scaling of network capacity and deployment of network services.
These virtualising technologies help operators to easily deal with complicated and changeable network operations, and are the inevitable choice for future network developments.
The ZTE Cloud UniCore Solution has already completed its first virtual core network test with China Mobile. It successfully achieved the deployment of dynamic network elements, flexible capacity scaling, and the cloud-based management of virtual core network deployments.
Through integration with other mainstream hardware platforms and cloud management systems, ZTE Cloud UniCore Solution also demonstrated its openness, a feature of great significance for future commercial networking.
Following the performance of ZTE Cloud UniCore Solution, China Mobile has selected ZTE as its virtualised core solutions partner.
With its virtual EPC and virtual IMS equipment, ZTE demonstrated the cloud/virtual network concept, as well as VoLTE 4G voice and video services to visitors at Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona.
'We believe that this future network concept demonstration will be one of the communications network highlights at Barcelona,' said Jianhua. 'ZTE Cloud UniCore Solution will now be sold worldwide, helping operators improve the comprehensive competitiveness of their 4G network operations.'