In case there was any doubt, Bell Labs conducted a study that reveals that communications service providers can reduce their operating costs by up to 40 percent by virtualizing complex functions currently deployed on residential gateways into the network cloud.
The industrial research arm of Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) explains that residential gateways play a critical role in connecting home networks to the Internet. As home networks evolve to handle more levels of household data traffic -- with cloud-based applications and increasing demand for access speeds of 100 Mbps or more -- residential gateways have had to become very capable and, as a result, more complex. With increased complexity, the potential for more support issues arises and with it, an increase in the cost of providing support for service providers, especially home service callouts.
A virtualized residential gateway (vRGW) addresses this issue by moving functions like IP routing and Network Address Translation (NAT) into the cloud, along with centralized management and control, allowing service providers to introduce a more simplified, bridged gateway model and making it easier for the user to successfully install, operate and maintain their home network without costly service calls or home visits.
This is where the cost savings kick in. Bell Labs estimates that a vRGW can reduce the costs of service fulfillment, assurance and lifecycle management up to 40 percent. Besides reducing operating costs and improving the customer experience, a virtualized gateway model allows new services to be introduced more rapidly and consistently across the installed base of residential gateway devices.
"While the operating cost savings are essential to sustain profitable growth, having a well thought out vRGW architecture is a pre-requisite to enable service providers to seamlessly extend the home network into the cloud," Enrique Hernandez-Valencia, consulting director at Bell Labs and one of the authors of the report, said in a release. "This is critical to operationalize the rapid introduction of new features and automate the delivery of new value added services for the home network, without having the necessity to upgrade the customer premises equipment."
Bell Labs recently authored a book called The Future X Network written by Bell Labs President and CTO of Alcatel-Lucent Marcus Weldon and his team. The book outlined how Bell Labs sees the next technological era unfolding and the breakthroughs needed at both the architectural and systems levels, in addition to market realignments. The book explained that the dawn of a new era in networking is upon us and it will be shaped by the digitization and connection of everything and everyone, with the goal of optimizing human decision-making and automating everyday routines and processes.
Nokia (NYSE:NOK) last month confirmed that Weldon will take on the role of CTO of the innovation and operations business unit, reporting to Marc Rouanne, following the close of the Alcatel-Lucent deal.
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