Nokia has announced the ability to use network functions virtualization (NFV) to “slice” fixed access networks into multiple virtual networks. The company says a network operator can divide its broadband access network into “virtually unlimited” slices that can operate logically as standalone networks. Based on Nokia’s cloud-native Altiplano software platform and open standards, the virtual network slices can enable multiple operators to share the same network while exercising independent control of their respective slices. The slices also can be used by a single operator to support multiple service types, including 5G mobile transport, with different performance parameters using the same infrastructure.
The company says it has demonstrated the capability, called Fixed Access Network Slicing, to service providers worldwide. Nokia also touts its contributions to the Broadband Forum’s TR-370 publication on Fixed Access Network Sharing (FANS) as a demonstration of its expertise in this area. The company also is contributing to the specification of the YANG modules that are used to achieve FANS, it says.
Because of the open standards foundation of the technology, operators can apply Fixed Access Network Slicing in multivendor environments, Nokia says. Systems from different vendors can be on separate slices or the same slice, according to Nokia.
Nokia will partner with Vodafone and analysis and consulting house Diffraction Analysis to deliver a session focused on network slicing October 24 at the upcoming Broadband World Forum in Berlin. "Operators are rethinking how they build, operate, and monetize their high-speed broadband infrastructure. Fixed access slicing has the potential to change the game -- not just for enhancing existing business models but also to help some deliver better, lower cost services than what was previously possible,” said Benoit Felten, chief research officer at Diffraction Analysis, via a Nokia press release. “Nokia's Fixed Access Network Solution can help bring service providers one step closer to achieving these benefits, providing the control and flexibility needed to deliver differentiated broadband services. I believe that adoption of fixed network slicing will rapidly change the landscape in the fixed broadband market, and those who are late to join will undoubtedly suffer."
Huawei reported earlier this year it had demonstrated a similar capability based on Broadband Forum TR-370, also with a unit of Vodafone (see “Vodafone, Huawei test Fixed Access Network Slicing”).
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