The global roll-out of LTE networks has soared over the past 12 months, but until now operators have battled with high deployment costs and complex infrastructures, recognising there is a limit to how extensive the coverage can be, especially in areas where operators perceive little commercial value for extensive LTE roll-out.
With the high levels of capital expenditure that are needed to deploy the complex LTE infrastructure and with demand for enhanced network speeds climbing globally, operators are battling with a cost benefit situation. They must take a judgement call on which areas they are going to service with the ‘next generation network’. They needn’t, according to Adax.
The innovative work conducted by 321 Action, the virtual packet core specialists, and Adax, an industry leader in packet-processing, now enables operators of all sizes to expand their LTE offerings without the expense or complexity usually only managed by the top five service providers, while also protecting their networks from severe latency.
EPC data plane
The EPC data plane is delivered on the Adax PKT2-PCIe board to provide low-cost, high-performance data processing. This boosts the capabilities of the virtualised evolved packet core (vEPC) solution for LTE by alleviating the pressure of data processing from the network and the host processor, reducing significant speed and time barriers between the transfer of data packets from the source to destination.
This is an essential element to the solution. The vEPC is highly scalable and is geared up for ever-increasing subscriber numbers but it needs the optimised data processing capabilities from Adax to iron out any issues with network latency; the latter being a major concern for operators.
Cavium Octeon II processor technology
The Adax Pkt2-PCIe card uses the Cavium Octeon II processor technology and together with Cavium's Simple Executive delivers a vEPC solution that is up to 10x more effective, from a performance perspective, than Linux.
Network latency and optimised data processing are not the only items that operators struggle with; infrastructure costs, when deploying a network, can have a substantial impact on the operator’s ability to maximise revenue from the network provision.
To give some context to the expenditure operators have to commit to for LTE; earlier this year it was announced that UK mobile operators EE and 3 would be sharing their LTE infrastructure and the costs attached.
These are two companies that, combined, clock annual revenues in excess of £10bn but the Capex required is so substantial that even the perceived big players in the market need to opt for a cost-saving approach.
Core virtualisation solution
The core virtualisation solution that 321 Action and Adax have developed gives smaller operators a realistic chance of operability in one of the most competitive global industries, with the top five providers currently dominating the profit potential that the marketplace has to offer.
Exclusive LTE provision is no longer the preserve of the big operators, because a core virtualisation solution gives operators of varying size, the opportunity to pay a yearly fee, per network subscriber, which is infinitely cheaper than investing in infrastructure that will constantly have to be updated, at an additional cost.
321 Action cloud infrastructure service
321 Action’s cloud infrastructure service provides full control plane and data plane separation to simplify the information flow – with the control plane hosted in 321 Action’s cloud network.
This provides a high level of performance and flexibility for mobile network operators of all sizes, but also offers the added capability of rapid roll-out and multi-locational coverage. Smaller operators can also avoid the primary barrier to entry - expenditure on network infrastructure.
The Eastern European market is an area of high demand for this low-cost, high-performance, LTE delivery and indeed the 321 Action/Adax solution is helping Kazakhtelecom, the largest telecom company in Kazakhstan, to optimise and upgrade its LTE network.
The key reason for this was because of the varying regions that Kazakhtelecom serves with network provision. The leading Kazakh operator needed a solution that would offer a single control plane that could then be used to manage a roll-out of LTE coverage to a number of different areas, efficiently and without a considerable cost involved.
It also gives operators the option to deploy data planes in these areas as needed. The separation of the control and data plane gives operators increased flexibility and scalability, but also simplifies the information flow and reduces costs further.
While the ‘infrastructureless’ LTE solution, developed by Adax and 321 Action, has a significant cost-saving benefit it also offers operators a high performance data processing element to ensure that connection speeds aren’t affected by network latency or congestion.
The centralised control plane achieves the scalability, while the optimised data planes offer the high performance that’s needed to obtain a smooth-running network for the subscribers.