Building the network virtualization ecosystem together with NEC

A few months ago, in this same blog, we advanced the new paradigm that came to support the evolution of telecommunication networks: network virtualization. Throughout three posts we described the concept of how networks could define their behavior via software, we advanced how we could travel this path towards network virtualization with “softening the hardware” and we anticipated the possibilities of network virtualization in the Telco world .

Like all great stories, time takes care of building them little by little. So, a few months later, on that path that from innovation we have to go through, the work has led us to advance together with NEC, leader in IT and network technology integration.

The collaboration agreement between Telefónica and NECCorporation enables both companies to leverage their strengths and initiate the development of competitive network virtualization technologies from spring 2013. It is about both companies pooling our technological capabilities and conducting joint tests and studies for the migration towards virtualization of certain network elements.

Minimizing the dependency on hardware will bring important benefits in terms of improving the management of telecommunication infrastructures and, what is more important, for the final consumer. On the one hand, it is about making network management simpler and more flexible. At the same time, all this will accelerate the deployment of services and reduce the “time to market”, in addition to improving the customer’s connectivity experience.

Within the framework of this collaboration, Telefónica and NEC have created a first real case study of a virtualized EPC (Virtualized Evolved Packet Core), that is, of the core network of a system LTE. And this system has been presented at the Mobile WorldCongress 2013 in Barcelona.

But network virtualization is a concept that can be applied to more elements and segments of the network. Among other things, it will allow us, for example, to combine the functionalities of the edge IP of a network (that is, the intelligent border of the network) in a single point of the infrastructure, with the advantages that this entails for its management and operation. For this reason, it is important for Telefónica to continue advancing in the development of this concept.

Providing a single infrastructure model to manage all aspects of the virtualized network is in line with Telefónica’s global strategy, facing the evolution towards increasingly intelligent and flexible network capabilities. SDN (Software Define Networking) plays a very important role in interconnecting virtualized network functions easily and efficiently, which will also enable advanced network automation, rapid service development, and easy policy enforcement across the network , thus significantly improving network intelligence.

This collaboration with NEC will ensure that virtualized network functions can be portable between different hardware platforms and thus achieve this network flexibility necessary to be a more digital company, a Digital Telco.