NTT DoCoMo uses NFV gear from Cisco, NEC

Japan's NTT DoCoMo is using NFV and SDN solutions from Cisco and NEC in its drive to virtualize more of its network.

Both vendors last week announced that they are part of DoCoMo's virtualized evolved packet core (vEPC), supplying essential technologies for automating across DoCoMo's network in Japan.

Specifically, DoCoMo is using the Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) to deploy NFV and SDN in its LTE systems. With Cisco ACI, DoCoMo can repurpose the network as subscribers and applications change and improve subscriber experience during network recovery and congestion periods by adjusting fabric operations based on application policy.

NEC also completed the deployment of NFV solutions, including vEPC and a Virtual Network Function Manager (VNF Manager), for DoCoMo's commercial networks. The vEPC virtualizes the functions of a LTE core network, including the Mobility Management Entity (MME), the Serving Gateway (S-GW), and the Packet Data Network-Gateway (P-GW). A VNF Manager from NEC subsidiary Netcracker handles lifecycle events, such as creation, activation, termination and update of virtualized network functions (VNF).

According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast for 2015 to 2020 published this month, mobile data traffic is expected to increase eightfold over the next five years due to the rapid increases in mobile users, smart devices and machine-to-machine (M2M) connections. According to a press release, the rapid spread of LTE systems for mobile communications and preparation for "5G" next-generation networks created new demands for DoCoMo.

After successfully testing a virtualized Evolved Packet Core (EPC), the core network of the LTE system, in a multi-vendor environment, ACI was DoCoMo's choice for automation across their entire network.

"Cisco Systems is proud to expand our relationship with DOCOMO through a co-development model for NFV deployments," said Soni Jiandani, senior vice president of Cisco. "In order to meet the needs of our customers, we continue to offer the broadest choice of SDN solutions in the market. Taking advantage of Cisco ACI innovations for NFV, DoCoMo is able to lead the industry in the rapidly changing environment of mobility services."

"We are delighted to contribute to DOCOMO's successful deployment of network virtualization technologies for their commercial networks," said Shunichiro Tejima, executive vice president at NEC. "With this success, NEC will further expand commercial deployment of NFV based solutions globally, which enable telecom operators to introduce innovative services to the market more quickly and efficiently."

Cisco and NEC are among the founding members of Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV), which was formed by the Linux Foundation in 2014 to work with ETSI's NFV ISG and others to drive the implementation of standards for an open NFV reference platform. In the U.S., AT&T (NYSE: T) has been aggressively moving to integrate NFV and SDN into its network. Company leaders have said that AT&T will have 75 percent of its network virtualized by 2020.

For more:
- see this Cisco release
- see this NEC release
- see this SDX Central article

Related articles:
OPNFV puts out second release of open source NFV platform, Brahmaputra
At AT&T, HP Enterprise and Orange, SDN and NFV move beyond the proof of concept stage
SK Telecom, Korea Telecom, Spirent join OPNFV

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