Telekom Austria begins home gateway virtualization

Austrian incumbent Telekom Austria, has announced the completion of its in-depth trialling of virtualized customer premises equipment (vCPE), integrating SDN technology with virtual network functions (VNFs) through a common service and network orchestration platform from multiple vendors. NEC and NetCracker were among the main contributors to the development of the project.

By utilising telco cloud functionality, the vCPE migrates IP functionality from the residential gateway out to the telco’s content delivery network. The vCPE essentially allows one single point of delivery for at-home media and entertainment content. By instantiating, managing and orchestrating multiple VNFs, third party applications such as parental control, firewall and content streaming can all be delivered with more scalability.

SDN allows for more intelligent and automated managing traffic routing for applications; while NFV, the burgeoning network virtualization and management practice, is the primary philosophy in play with the vCPE project.

Michael Stückmann, Managing Director at NEC Germany, reckons the value proposition of NFV for telcos is clear for all to see. “As virtualization helps network operators create new revenue opportunities and reduce capital and operational costs, we’re excited to demonstrate the proven capabilities of the NEC and NetCracker vCPE solution to Telekom Austria Group,” he said. “The success of this trial underscores our commitment to and understanding of the virtualization landscape and showcases the comprehensive capabilities of our solutions in that space.”

Sylvain Seignour, VP of Global Sales for NetCracker, meanwhile, believes that a moment of realisation for NFV is on the horizon. The work has been done in-lab, he reckons, and that it’s now a case of transposing successful trial results into the field.

“The next phase of the network virtualization opportunity is operationalisation – the ability to transition a lab environment into a live deployment of virtualized network functions, such as those addressed in the Telekom Austria Group vCPE trial,” he said.

The move by Telekom Austria indicates one of the first moves by a European player to deploy virtualized residential home gateways. Telefónica’s Brazilian subsidiary, Vivo, has been engaged in vCPE trialling for the past 18 months; which, combined with NEC, was voted to be the best fixed network innovation at the 2014 Awards in December.

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