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VoLTE Challenges: The Case for Integrated Policy, Charging and Diameter Signaling

By: Peter Bernstein, TMCnet Senior Editor


VoLTE Challenges: The Case for Integrated Policy, Charging and Diameter Signaling

Hopefully, Voice over LTE (VoLTE) has arrived or is coming to your preferred mobile service provider.  As mobile networks transform into end-to-end IP ones, the business case for VoLTE as a means for mobile operators to provide differentiated services, including high definition voice and multiple media ones, has become compelling and taken on a sense of urgency. 

Indeed, it is being viewed strategically as a way for service providers to distinguish their services on the basis of Quality of Experience (QoE) from 3G and OTT voice apps. It is also seen as providing competitive advantage because of its ability to enable end users to seamlessly move from a voice call to a video call, or shift from one device to another in the midst of the conversation.  It is why interest in accelerating VoLTE deployments is so high. 

However, network transformations are not easy.  VoLTE deployment and operations is an interesting case in point.  It brings unique challenges for service providers related to policy control, charging and Diameter signaling control.  Steffen Paulus, Director of Product Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent has some interesting insights worth sharing on the need for integrated policy, charging and Diameter signaling in a virtualized solution, as the path forward for VoLTE success.  This is particularly relevant in light of Alcatel-Lucent’s recent launch of its End-to-End Voice over LTE (E2E VoLTE) solution that is an integral part of the Rapport multimedia real-time communications platform which has been architected specifically to me service provider and enterprise needs.

How to meet the challenges of virtual network functions assurance

By: Kevin Landry, Product Marketing Manager, Alcatel-Lucent

As they move into the cloud era, network operators need a service aware network operations tool to assure virtual network functions (VNF) management. They’ll need it to efficiently perform a variety of network operations tasks, including:

  • Service impact assessment
  • Fault localization
  • Identification of true root-cause (from symptomatic faults)
  • Taking corrective actions to resolve problems fast

As described in a vEPC post related to converging NMS and VNF manager functions within the ETSI Management and Orchestration (MANO) architecture, operators need to evolve their network operations tools for NFV through tighter coupling the NMS and VNF manager functions. Specifically for VNF assurance, the blog states “Troubleshooting is simplified because traditional NMS faults/events are correlated with VNF related events/faults. The VNFM provides lifecycle management and automates the self-healing of VNFs.”  

Video Shows How Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) Actually Works

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Rarely does a video about network functions virtualization (NFV) captivate your attention like the one that Alcatel-Lucent recently uploaded about service innovation and lean operations in the context of NFV. Sometimes NFV can be a challenging concept to get your head around, but the video breaks it down with clear visuals and none of the PowerPoint that usually puts you to sleep.

If you haven’t seen the video you can watch the embedded version below. But also let me explain what the video is talking about.

vEPC in LTE networks: Time to move ahead

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

From original TechZine article

Can the virtualized evolved packet core (vEPC) be deployed today in large scale, LTE networks?  Mobile network operators (MNOs) are increasingly convinced that the vEPC has become viable both financially and technically. And I think so, too, based upon the advances made over the past year that I’ll discuss in this blog.

5 areas OpenStack needs help to support NFV

By: Andreas Lemke, Marketing Lead, CloudBand NFV platform, Alcatel-Lucent
From original Alcatel-Lucent TechZine posting

OpenStack isn’t an as-is solution for telco network functions virtualization (NFV) infrastructures. OpenStack is an open-source cloud management technology that provides many of the capabilities needed in any NFV environment. And this has prompted interest among many telco service providers.

But to realize the full benefits of NFV, service providers need NFV platforms that provide additional capabilities to support distributed clouds, enhanced network control, lifecycle management, and high performance data planes.

NFV INSIGHTS: Preparing for the future of NFV

By: Andreas Lemke, Ph.D. - Alcatel-Lucent

ALU.Hack.2.23.15.JPG


Have you ever gotten your hands dirty and really implemented an NFV or SDN application? Six teams from academia and industry in Israel and Europe can answer with a resounding yes! These teams gathered in Haifa at the 4-day 2015 Winter School and Hackathon event, organized by Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent’s CloudBand team and Israel’s leading Institute of Technology, Technion. The event offered a full program to get acquainted with the fundamental concepts behind cloud computing, software defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV).

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.

Why Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) Calls for a Distributed Network Architecture

By: Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC

There’s no question that the network functions virtualization (NFV) technology around which many telecommunications carriers and vendors are rallying takes a page from the virtualization that already has taken hold in IT data centers. But you can’t judge a book by its cover. NFV and IT virtualization also have their differences.

One key difference is that while data center virtualization tends to rely on a centralized architecture, NFV calls for a distributed one, Andreas Lemke, marketing lead for the CloudBand NFV platform at Alcatel-Lucent, points out in a recent TechZine posting by Andreas Lemke, Marketing Lead, CloudBand NFV platform, Alcatel-Lucent titled, Why distribution is important in NFV.

Why Carriers Are Embracing NFV, and What They Should Demand of These New, More Agile Environments

By: Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC

Service providers are undergoing a sea change.

Their networks, which traditionally have been based on turnkey network elements running software on purpose-built hardware, are moving to a software-centric model. In this model the true value lies in the software, while the hardware is typically of the commercial-off-the-shelf variety.

Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) is the name of this new architecture, which not only embraces the model of instituting network functionality in software and running it on industry-servers, but also allows applications and services to leverage those resources whenever and wherever they are.

NFV INSIGHTS: The right SDN is right for NFV

By: Roland Mestric, Director, Video Solutions Marketing

It feels like it was just a few months ago when you could read articles in the trade press lumping together SDN and NFV with NFV being a form of SDN or vice versa.  Yes, both somehow are about virtualization and about converting hardware into software. Today – after numerous proofs-of-concept run by service provides around the globe – we know the role of SDN as virtually indispensable for NFV solutions that aspire to deliver the kind of agility and operational simplification we all expect from NFV. Only SDN can deliver quickly enough the (virtual) networks needed for newly deployed network functions. Alcatel-Lucent has recently demonstrated a complete virtual evolved packet core (vEPC) including a virtual IMS/VoLTE deployed in less than 30 minutes.

Network Functions Virtualization: Learnings from an NFV proof-of-concept

By: Asaf Peled, Cloud Solution Architect, Alcatel-Lucent's CloudBand activity 

We live in exciting times – again. I had been wondering if there was still room for fundamental innovation, for technological disruption – the worn out word. We had the Internet bubble that burst 2001/2002. We had the advent of the smartphone in the recent years. Great innovation, but somehow they reached a plateau. Faster processors, larger screens? It doesn’t seem to make a real difference. Apple’s engine showed the first signs of sputtering.

And yet, there is something brewing behind the scenes that makes the engineer’s heart beat faster: NFV and SDN, a bold new vision about the future of networks (read these blog posts about understanding Network Functions Virtualization and Software Defined Networks). Network functions are to be reduced to pure software - doing away with all the special purpose chips, circuit boards, and cabinets into which we have poured our brains to deliver the ultimate in features, performance, and reliability.

CloudBand Delivers NFV Solution for Network Operators

Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

As you already know, the cloud is one of the megatrends of our times, and service providers are embracing the open cloud with the help of network functions virtualization (NFV).

An NFV platform enables providers to run network functions on a homogeneous, distributed cloud infrastructure. Using an NFV solution, they can port network functions such as communications and messaging applications and fixed and mobile network functions over to a virtual machine environment. Freed from proprietary, physical hardware, providers can leverage this virtualized infrastructure as the basis for their own service platforms and operations.

Seeing the opportunity inherent in NFV, as described in detail in an applications note Alcatel-Lucent has developed a purpose-built NFV platform for service providers, CloudBand. The platform supports distributed clouds and dynamic network control to meet application demands, and it optimizes network operations by automating cloud node management, application lifecycle management, smart placement and network configuration.

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