MWC 2015: Alcatel-Lucent demos virtualised RAN technology

Intel, China Mobile, Telefónica join Alcatel-Lucent to showcase NFV-based virtualised RAN and how it will allow operators to optimise and enhance network performance and the consumer experience

MWC 2015: Alcatel-Lucent demos virtualised RAN technology

At Mobile World Congress 2015, Alcatel-Lucent is demonstrating how wireless operators can use its virtualised radio access network technology to dynamically meet changing market, customer and environmental demands, while also taking advantage of dramatically enhanced network performance and lowering costs.

Alcatel-Lucent’s NFV-based vRAN technology has been installed at Mobile World Congress 2015 in support of demonstrations on its own booth (3K10 in Hall 3) and the stands of its technology partner Intel and customers China Mobile and Telefónica.

The demonstration underlines Alcatel-Lucent’s strategy of collaborating with industry leaders such as Intel, China Mobile and Telefónica to accelerate industry adoption of next-generation technologies as it strives to meet demands for capacity, performance and efficiency being placed upon it by the growth of new wireless devices.

The introduction of Alcatel-Lucent’s vRAN platform comes just 12 months after it announced an agreement with Intel – at Mobile World Congress last year - to collaborate on NFV development.

The vRAN comprises a virtualized baseband unit (vBBU) that uses general purpose servers with Intel Xeon processors to deliver cost-savings and increased network performance.

Alcatel-Lucent has a long-standing co-development agreement in place with China Mobile to deliver mobile ultra-broadband innovations. At Mobile World Congress 2014 the companies demonstrated the progress of the Cloud-RAN program. At this year’s event China Mobile will showcase the advances they have helped deliver in both mobile and NFV networks.

Alcatel-Lucent also announced a co-innovation agreement with Telefónica at last year’s Mobile World Congress, focused on driving industry adoption of NFV. Telefónica will demonstrate the Alcatel-Lucent vRAN solution on its booth as part of  an ambitious example of an end-to-end fully virtualized network running at Mobile World Congress 2015.

The demonstration of vRAN underlines Alcatel-Lucent’s proven experience in wireless networks and in virtualization. In 12 months it has announced the virtualization of a wide range of network functions, including evolved packet core, IMS, Content Delivery Network and service routing technologies.

The company’s NFV leadership is underpinned by the participation its CloudBand NFV platform in over 30 customer projects, an NFV ecosystem of over 60 members and extensive Nuage Networks SDN capabilities - including the launch of the Virtualized Networks Services (VNS) in 2014 - which further build on Alcatel-Lucent’s strategy of delivering a complete range of networking solutions for a software-driven world.

Dr. Chih-Lin I, Chief Scientist of China Mobile Research Institute said: “vRAN is a successful commercial instance of C-RAN. Since CMRI introduced the C-RAN concept to the industry 5 years ago, we have been working closely with Alcatel-Lucent to develop innovative solutions towards Greener and Softer future radio access networks.

“Our joint work in NFV, and specially in this case, on the vRAN, will help operators to smoothly evolve and meet growing customer demands with a more efficient and effective network structure.”

Enrique Blanco, Global CTO of Telefonica said: “Alcatel Lucent is a great partner for providing innovative solutions as part of Telefonica Virtualization Strategy, and the collaboration in our Journey to 5G that included vRAN solutions will allows us to deploy more efficient networks and as a result the best opportunities for our customers.”

Ken Rehbehn, Principal Analyst, 451 Research, said: "Virtualising the RAN promises significant benefits for mobile operators. When deployed with appropriate transport technology, the approach reduces deployment complexity, boosts radio performance and drives network efficiencies. Joint demonstrations by key stakeholders -- operators and vendors -- signal the importance attached to this radio access deployment approach and serve as key proof points of progress.”

A step towards 5G

Glenn Booth Senior Vice President and General Manger of Alcatel-Lucent’s LTE Business Unit: “A virtualised RAN will allow operators to take a big step toward 5G and benefit from the advanced features and efficiencies enabled by LTE-A. By teaming on this technology, Alcatel-Lucent, Intel and China Mobile have been able to very quickly develop a comprehensive solution that will allow operators to evolve their networks more efficiently and effectively.”

“We see tremendous value in bringing the benefits of Network Function Virtualization to the radio access network (RAN) to help operators reduce their operating expenditures and implement new service capabilities”, said Sandra Rivera, vice president, Datacenter Group, general manager, Network Platforms Group, Intel Corporation.

“Through our global collaboration agreement with Alcatel-Lucent, we have made great progress in the development of a vRAN solution that demonstrates our combined capabilities. The Alcatel-Lucent vRAN will allow operators to take advantage of economies of scale to help them meet the growing needs of their customers in the most flexible and effective way.”

About the vRAN demonstrations at Mobile World Congress 2015

Alcatel-Lucent will show how its comprehensive hardware and virtualized mobile ultra-broadband access portfolio will help any operator optimize deployment at any site to leverage new efficiencies.

Alcatel-Lucent has a complete vRAN system on its booth including the virtual baseband unit (vBBU) and virtual content delivery node – part of a virtual content delivery network - and will also leverage a virtualized Evolved Packet Core - the vEPC - all on the same virtualization platform. The vBBU runs on general purpose servers with Intel® Xeon® processors which are connected to remote radio heads located at the Alcatel-Lucent, Intel, China Mobile and Telefónica booths enabling a four-way videoconference. Demonstrations will show:

  • How by virtualizing content delivery nodes operators can cache content closer to subscribers at the vRAN site level to reduce latency and dramatically improve video streaming quality.
  • How Alcatel-Lucent’s vRAN will allow operators to add and reduce call processing capabilities to dynamically react to changing traffic conditions.
  • How Alcatel-Lucent’s vRAN can help cope with equipment hardware failure more efficiently and minimize network outages via real-time management of virtualized applications. An outage on a traditional distributed RAN architecture may take hours to resolve, needing site visits, whereas a vBBU can be restored in minutes

Alcatel-Lucent at Mobile World Congress is at Booth 3K10 in Hall 3 of the Fira Gran Via, Barcelona.

Alcatel-Lucent’s vRAN will be available for customer trials during 2015 and for commercial operation in 2016.

 

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