NEC Readies NFV, SDN Demos

By Paula Bernier January 27, 2014

Network functions virtualization and software-defined networking loom large at industry gatherings these days. They will be a key area of focus tomorrow at SDN Precon in Miami, and these technologies will again be an area of focus next month at Mobile World Congress 2014.

This is important because the SDN-enabled hardware space is expected to exceed $707 million this year and reach $13.3 billion in 2018, according to ACG Research. The firm is forecasting that the market for SDN software in service provider networks will reach $2.3 billion in 2018. And NEC was one of the SDN pioneers.

During the big wireless industry gathering in Barcelona, Spain, NEC intends to demonstration what it says will be the world's first commercially available virtualized Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) and virtualized Customer Premises Equipment (vCPE).

These are not prototype products. NEC's vEPC is already being deployed. A national project in the Asian nation of Myanmar is leveraging the solution to support LTE and fixed-line telephone services.

As for the vCPE solution, it enables IP functions to be shifted from a customer's on-premises equipment to a telecom operator's network, enabling expedited and more affordable service availability in the process.

NEC also will use Mobile World Congress to promote its Traffic Management Systems (TMS) and NetCracker's Telecom Operation and Management Systems (TOMS). These solutions give carriers end-to-end network visibility and control, and enable them to optimize traffic flow.

SDN evolved from work by UC Berkeley and Stanford University, and NEC in 2011 created the first commercial SDN product. SDN allows network administrators to manage network services through abstraction of lower-level functionality. It does that by separating the control plane (that decides where traffic is sent) from the data plane (that does the actual traffic forwarding). And that, as NEC chief engineer Shinya Kukita explains, allows various networking functions to be run as applications on simple hardware.

Edited by Ryan Sartor

Executive Editor, TMC

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