NTT DoCoMo seeks multi-vendor NFV architecture

Japanese operator NTT DoCoMo has completed an NFV Proof of Concept (PoC) trial in which interoperability of multi-vendor virtual functions was successfully demonstrated.

The trial, involving Ericsson and NEC, focussed on the orchestration of the virtualised evolved packet core (vEPC) between multiple vendors. Ericsson’s vEPC function successfully integrated onto NEC’s orchestration platform. In return, its own orchestration platform successfully hosted other vendor’s vEPC functions.

As a consequence of the trial, NTT DoCoMo is seeking to evaluate the potential for an open NFV architecture defined by globally standardised environments. The most recent PoC was used by NTT DoCoMo as a testing ground for evaluating future possibilities in openness.

Speaking to, an Ericsson spokesperson explained the targeted outcome of the trial.

“The NFV functionality will support NTT DOCOMO‘s business with global standard network environment, speed up new service introduction, and agile network launch,” Ericsson said. “The NFV function is important to DOCOMO for optimized and flexible network resource allocation, agile new service launch, simplify network configuration for OPEX /CAPEX saving, and smooth multi-vendor product deployment.”

Seizo Onoe, who is CTO and Executive Vice President at NTT DoCoMo, believes initiatives such as this help make the once over-hyped NFV become a more tangible and realistic option for service providers.

“Thanks to collaborative efforts in the mobile network industry, NFV is soundly moving toward practical realization, rather than just ending up as a pie-in-the-sky dream,” he said. “I am delighted that we have confirmed the feasibility of NFV through multi-vendor initiatives with Ericsson and other top ICT players.”

Ericsson believes demonstrable interoperability will enable operators to build out standard, agile networks which accelerate service delivery.

“The successful PoC exercise showcases the possibility for the operator of deploying NFV on a broader scale. By using this technology, telecom operators such as NTT DOCOMO are able to build global standard agile networks and speed up their new service introduction,” says Håkan Djuphammar, Head of Technology, at Ericsson’s Cloud & IP Business Unit. “The Ericsson Cloud Execution Environment allows operators to deploy Ericsson’s and other vendors’ virtualized hardware and software products. This also helps them to allocate their network resources more flexibly, simplifying network configuration and ensuring savings in operational and capital expenditure.”

In what has already been a busy week of NFV announcements, it is becoming more noticeable that management and orchestration (MANO) is set to be one of the key NFV enablers, by integrating virtual network functions and NFV infrastructure.

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