An announcement from RAD and Nakina Systems today offers a hint of the direction service providers are moving in with regard to network function virtualization (NFV). In an interview, executives for the companies said a major cable operator will use centrally deployed Nakina software to simplify the installation process for RAD carrier Ethernet demarcation devices.
NFV, which is still in the standardization process, aims to simplify network operations and reduce costs by using centralized software to control generic network devices.
The cable operator using the RAD/ Nakina solution will not be able to eliminate installation truck rolls but will simplify and shorten the installation process, said Sergio Pellizzari, co-founder and solution architector for Nakina Systems.
“The installer doesn’t need to log into the device to do provisioning,” said Pellizzari. Installers, he said, will only be responsible for powering up the CPE [customer premises equipment] and cabling it. “There is no configuration.”
“The other item that is often overlooked is coordination between the installer and the central office,” added Pellizzari. Installers should no longer need to get a CO technician on the phone to make sure that the CO systems can “see” the device, he explained.
He also noted that the automatic provisioning capability will be able to support several different CPE models – potentially including CPE from different vendors.
The next step in implementing NFV will be to deploy a multitude of services on edge devices, Pellizzari predicted. “We’re seeing software becoming a bundle and being able to deploy one or more bundles on a device to enhance or enable a particular service,” he said.
As network operators gradually introduce NFV into their networks, they are unlikely to use totally generic devices in all points of the network, said Minhaz Siddiqui, director of sales for key carrier accounts for RAD.
“Commodity hardware doesn’t necessarily mean they want to go with a Dell server somewhere,” he said. “The customer premises device has to be a particular size, shape and power. We’re far away from an edge device with a uniform size and shape.”
Siddiqui added that “we’re not 100% NFV but we have 70% of the [components] in place.”
Siddiqui also argued that network operators will be looking to have a single operations support system that can handle multiple device models and models from different manufacturers. Accordingly, he said, RAD’s approach to NFV is to reach out to the major vendors and service providers to say “let’s work together.”