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Can the vEPC be deployed in the LTE consumer network?

By: Keith Allan, Director IP Mobile Core Product Strategy, Alcatel-Lucent

This article discusses the progress in the development and operational management of the vEPC to support the LTE consumer network. It answers the question: Is the vEPC commercially viable in large-scale, LTE network deployments? At Mobile World Congress 2015, Alcatel-Lucent will show a live demonstration of vEPC dynamic scaling together with simplified NFV management and orchestration.

Over the past several years, I’ve met with many mobile network operators (MNOs) and discussed their plans for virtualizing the evolved packet core (EPC). It’s clear from the more recent conversations that MNOs are now convinced that the vEPC is both financially and technically viable for their networks.  But is the vEPC ready for the MNO’s LTE consumer network?  In this article, I’ll discuss why I now think that’s possible.

A High-Performance Evolved Packet Core is Essential to Handle Mobile Data Demand

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

The glass can be half empty or half full when it comes to mobile broadband.

On the one hand, data usage is growing at exponential rates, and seems to be no end in sight. In fact, it is projected that by 2017, the monthly mobile broadband usage of the average subscriber will reach 5 GB, according to research from Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs.

On the other hand, the emergence of LTE enables operators to more cost-effectively monetize this traffic demand by rolling out quality-of-service (QoS) guarantees for sensitive data traffic such as voice-over-LTE (VoLTE), as well as other data service packages that until recently did not make sense.

Finding the glass half full from the emerging data storm requires some planning when rolling out LTE, however. Network optimization is not a given. While LTE flattens IP traffic and enables new business models it also introduces new problems. Chief among them is increased network signaling rates.

The Wireless Packet Core--How Data Moves Through an LTE Network

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

The move toward 4G LTE is a seismic shift in mobile architecture inasmuch as it finally takes operators to an all-IP architecture. No more packet/TDM mix that adds complexity and slows down the network.

The rise in LTE also has meant a explosion in demand for packet core technology. Packet core revenue grew by 20 percent in the second quarter of this year compared with last year, for instance, according to research firm Dell’Oro.

The evolved packet core (EPC), as the LTE packet core is known, is both the brains and the brawn of LTE. Data goes from handsets across the backhaul network to the EPC, where the data is processed and then forwarded onto the Internet or another public or private network from the mobile provider.

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