Japanese cellco NTT DOCOMO has announced that it has completed proof-of-concept (PoC) trials verifying the feasibility of network functions virtualisation (NFV), in cooperation with Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco Systems and NEC. According to a joint press release, using virtualised Evolved Packet Core (EPC), the core network of Long Term Evolution (LTE) systems, NTT DOCOMO and the vendors verified cutting-edge network control mechanisms, such as scalable user-data processing capability that can handle concentrated user traffic efficiently and improve service delivery stability by means of fast, automatic network-recovery techniques in the event of hardware failure. NFV is expected to offer key advantages, such as improved connectivity for dense data traffic, operational sustainability when network equipment fails, promptness of new service delivery and high cost effectiveness. Following the successful PoC trials, DOCOMO aims to commercially deploy services utilising a virtualised mobile network by March 2016. The company has been collaborating with the three vendors on this feasibility verification since November 2013.
Seizo Onoe, executive vice president and CTO at NTT DOCOMO, said: ‘NFV is highly expected to change the ecosystem of network industries. But without a high degree of collaboration among the players, such hopes could end up like pie in the sky. Therefore, I am delighted that we have been successfully collaborating in PoC trials with the industry’s leading vendors.’