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Italtel’s CEO issues reality check to operators

March 2, 2015  

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Operators wanting to stay afloat in the rapidly changing telecom market will need to massively transform their infrastructure in terms of guaranteed bandwidth, communications security, low latency rate and minimum cost for increased capacity, Italtel’s CEO Stefano Pileri has warned.

Speaking as part of the Network Evolution in Practice session on the opening day of Mobile World Congress, in Barcelona, Pileri said the rise of Internet of Things (IoT), exponential growth of IP traffic, reduction in the profitability of telecommunications services and the increase in the number of devices have all contributed to the need for this transformation.

Pileri said three main elements will drive it: Simplification, virtualization and automation, with networks needing to take a minimal architecture which Italtel calls ‘ABC’: Access, Backbone and Cloud. This approach will also allow the integration of concepts such as Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV).

“Operators will see a range of benefits with this simplified structure,” said Pileri. “These include reduced Total Cost of Ownership of around 40%, reduced consumption and reduced operations and maintenance. In addition, operators can reduce the time to market for new services and, most importantly, expose network services with standard interfaces to many third-party specialist applications, taking up the role of service enablers.”

He went on to suggest two possible architectures to guide the network transformation: A “Central Cloud” architecture and “Edge Cloud” architecture, with each type defined by a different use of resources and performance requirements.

Within the new architecture, technologies such as WebRTC, all-IP video solution and hardware and software accelerators should be considered, according to Pileri, as well as the concept of continuous closed-loop control on the dynamic operation through SDN.

To illustrate his recommendations, Pileri presented the use case of Vodafone Germany vNGN project. Italtel is supporting Vodafone’s Telco over Cloud strategy by migrating the German operator’s fixed legacy networks onto a virtualized infrastructure. The systems deployed includes IMS, Session Border Controller (SBC), Intelligent Routing, Network Management and Orchestration, WebRTC video conferencing and using VMWARE and KVM interfaces. All of these support main open standards such as OpenStack and OpenDaylight, which Pileri also highlighted as being important.

He added that operators can preserve their role in the telecommunications industry if they generate value for their customers.

“Virtualization, cloud architecture and automation of configuration management are essential factors to achieve the TCO targets of new networks in new competitive telecommunications environments,” Pileri said. “A fully virtualized “ABC” network structure that enables the cycle of continuous control with SDN and NFV at its core will enable a competitive environment for consumers and operators alike.”

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