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Virtualization technology is changing the way the world connects

Nicolas Bouverot, President, Alcatel-Lucent Japan | April 13, 2015
Simple. Fast. Effective.Customised. Get ready, the shift is coming.

Take for example a firewall. This is referred to as a value added service (VAS). Other telecom's VAS typically include: Antivirus, Video Optimizer and Parental Control.

Slow. Inflexible. One size fits all......Currently, if an operator wants to offer a Firewall service it has to buy a lot of equipment and then install it. When a customer orders the firewall service their connection has to be manually configured. This is time consuming and labour intensive. What's more the constraints of the operator's network mean it can only offer its customers a limited range of pre-defined services. So if you want to buy the Firewall service you may also have to buy a package that includes other services you do not want or need.

.....To fast.Flexible.Tailored.Using SDN, network functions like a firewall, are virtualized. Instead of buying specialised hardware to physically build a firewall the operator will simply select a virtualized Firewall service from a vendor. This service will plug into the operator's network.

With network functions virtualization (NFV) and SDN, the operator can create a fully automated service chaining through software configuration. That eliminates the need for time consuming and labour intensive rewiring or manual reconfiguration. More importantly, a service chaining creates extraordinary flexibility. Without a service chaining, an operator can only offer its customers the same pre-defined services. Basically a one size fits all approach. With a service chaining, the operator can offer a huge range of customised services quickly and easily tailored to suit its customers' myriad needs. 

These chains can be applied to fixed broadband networks and mobile networks.

With the former, a service chaining can enable the virtualization of Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) like a Network Address Translation (NAT) or Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) service. Subscriber traffic can be steered through a sequence of service functions moved from the physical CPE into the network.

A service chaining allows the operator to create and sell customised packages of VAS by adding them dynamically to the customer's data path.


The beauty for the operator is that it can use NFV to dynamically deploy virtual appliances and scale them  to match traffic demand. While SDN allows it to steer subscriber traffic through pre-defined, fully automated service chainings based on the IETF model. These service chainings can be quickly and easily modified on the fly. The benefit for subscribers is that they get services they want faster. What's more, they can add or remove functions from their personal chains through a self-service portal. In theory, making it as easy to order Parental Control, as it is to buy a Kindle book from Amazon with 1-click ordering.

Simple. Fast. Effective.Customised.  Get ready, the shift is coming.


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