The telecom industry is evolving how fixed and mobile networks are designed, built and managed, enabling Network Elements (NE) and Session Border Controllers (SBC) in particular, to unchain from their native home ATCA Hardware and move to the Cloud.
I would compare this evolution to a space program where each NE/SBC is a rocket launched to meet the Cloud on a one-way ride. Once landed on the Cloud, Commercial Service Providers (CSPs) will benefit from a number of advantages, such as:
- Optimal agility - more quickly launch new services
- Optimal cost of their network - separating hardware and software helps to decrease capital expenditures
- Optimal resource allocation - separating the signaling control plane and the media plane to quickly and seamlessly scale up and down resources depending on the call rate, call type and platform capabilities
- Optimal operations - with automatic procedures based on life cycle management (LCM) events.
In order for a CSP (News - Alert) to realize these benefits, the cloud infrastructure should be up and ready to enable the SBC docking. AT&T, for example, called their private cloud infrastructure "Domain 2.0". However not all CSP’s are there yet. Most are instead, with SBC virtualization, beginning a stepped launch to the Cloud-orbit, transforming from dedicated hardware platforms to software functions virtualized on independent and Commercial Off-The-Shelf servers (COTS), and transforming monolithic signaling and media functions into decomposed functions that can be deployed and scaled independently. The next steps will be to gradually transform the decomposed functions to software functions, aka Network Function Virtualization (NFV), operating in open, automated, dynamic, and scalable cloud environments, and to implement Software Defined Networks (SDN).
The new 3.0 software release of the Nokia (News - Alert) Session Border Controller rocket (SBC3.0) seamlessly supports CSPs’ evolution toward NFV. It runs on any NFV Infrastructure controlled by a Cloud Management & Orchestration system using OpenStack or VMware. But it does not only help CSPs to economically, reliably and confidently build their future software-centric network, it also enhances SBC features in four key areas:
- VoLTE: supporting new features such as Real Time Text (RTT), Wireless Priority Service (WPS) and Enhanced Voice Services (EVS) codec,
- Deployment: unlike other SBC vendors, Nokia SBC3.0 enables an “integrated”, “decomposed” or “cloud” deployment. The new 2 U COTS-based, integrated, scaled down, high density transcoding SBC caters for small operators and enterprises. It complements the decomposed 10 U COTS-based SBC for large-scale deployments,
- Operation Administration and Management (OAM): Nokia SBC3.0 aims to simplify day to day operations with a new HTML-5 web interface for Configuration, Fault and Performance Management of both signaling and media plane.
And last but not least, Nokia SBC3.0 anticipates emerging requirements for WebRTC and contextual communications. The recent inclusion of WebRTC in Apple’s (News - Alert) Safari WebKit specification will definitively boost the availability of real-time communications services and the adoption of WebRTC, while the demand for contextual services will grow as people move to Smartphone and tablet loaded with every possible app and there is an expectation to communicate inside these apps from any device or connected object they use. Nokia SBC3.0 supports a protocol agnostic handling of WebRTC data channels enabling flexibility to support any protocol for specific application purpose. This feature will help developers in creating “contextual communications”.
Whether CSPs plan a Direct Ascent to the Cloud or a Cloud Orbital Rendez-Vous, Nokia SBC3.0 software supports both scenarios and is commercially available now.
Read more about Nokia SBC3.0 software on Nokia SBC web site.
About the Author
Gilles Duboué, SBC Product Marketing, Applications & Analytics, Nokia, along with his product marketing responsibilities has been a recognized blogger and organizer of hackathons designed to facilitate the creation and delivery of new services rapidly, efficiently and effectively over next generation infrastructures.
Edited by Peter Bernstein