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NEC Unveils First Commercial Virtualized EPC Platform

By Ashok Bindra October 29, 2013

Evolved Packet Core (EPC) is the IP-based core network defined by 3GPP in release 8 for use by LTE and other access technologies. Its goal is to provide a simplified, all-IP core network architecture to efficiently provide advanced real-time and media-rich services, with enhanced Quality of Experience (QoE). According to reports, EPC radically changes the key networking paradigm with the introduction of the all-IP network architecture in the mobile network.

Now with mobile EPC utilizing software-defined networking (SDN), virtualization of the EPC is a logical next step. In fact, NEC has already begun commercialization of virtualized EPC (vEPC). The company has begun marketing its virtualized mobile core network platform supporting Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) to telecom carriers around the world. The network functions on the virtualization infrastructure, run on commercial, off-the-shelf server hardware with Intel architecture.

According to NEC, the virtualized platform will be offered under the NEC SDN Solutions' NFV solutions range, which was unwrapped in the summer of this year. NEC said that it's vEPC has succeeded in virtualizing all of the functions on an IA server while achieving carrier-grade service quality and capabilities. The use of a virtualization infrastructure makes it possible to dynamically boost server resources according to network traffic volume and service trends.

Furthermore, the use of IA servers significantly reduces equipment costs and procurement lead time when compared to existing dedicated hardware for mobile core network products.

NEC said that it has delivered the vEPC as part of a communication infrastructure development project in Myanmar, with the system scheduled to launch commercial operation in December.

Key features of the new product include efficient utilization and expandability of resources due to increased communication processing, high-performance and high-availability, and reduced TCO with the use of IA servers. By installing EPC functionality through a virtualization infrastructure running on an IA server, capital expenditures (CAPEX) are significantly reduced. In addition, the use of COTS IA servers enables operators to select the hardware for vEPC to build optimum virtualization systems among various virtual network and service functions. Also, an auto-healing function (automatic restoration) that utilizes virtualization technology while maintaining the reliability of dedicated hardware based EPCs, allows this vEPC to support additional reliability features that reduce operational costs (OPEX), such as eliminating the need for rushed replacements in the event of a hardware failure.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

NFVZone Contributor

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