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Feb 18 2016

Does your service traffic pass through every network function? It doesn't have to....

Twitter: @nokianetworks

How many different services do you use on your mobile device? If you are like me, the answer is a lot! The sheer diversity of things you can do on a mobile is one of the main reasons they are so useful. Yet it’s this variety that makes life complex for an operator.

Mobile broadband services can range from simply browsing the web or using messaging apps, to watching a video or playing online games. For us to actually consume a service, its data must pass through various parts, or network functions, on its journey through the mobile network. Let’s take one of the examples I used above: watching a video. The video data will often come from an external provider. Before reaching our mobile device, it will pass through a number of hoops, including a firewall, a media optimizer and possibly some form of parental control function.

Are services monopolizing your network traffic? Nokia service chaining will help ensure that services take the most efficient route to your device rather than passing through every network function.

Conventionally, these network functions are typically static, dedicated, hard-wired and are often used together, with traffic flowing out of one and into the next, regardless of whether it needs to or not. This can make the delivery of services inefficient and inflexible, with operators often expending considerable time and effort to reconfigure and maintain them. Hence the complexity.

Fortunately there is now a way to simplify, and ensure the most efficient routing through the network. It’s called flexible service chaining.

Avoid unnecessary traffic detours

Nokia’s flexible service chaining enables operators to make their Gi/SGi service LANs more efficient, flexible and programmable.

Nokia CloudBand plays a key role by cataloguing available functions and dynamically orchestrating and adapting service chains between functions on demand. CloudBand integrates our Nuage SDN controller to provide secure policy based service chains between the relevant functional resource.

The result is that traffic no longer traverses every single network function, but instead is steered according to its own Quality of Experience needs based on policy information, application type and even analysis of the actual data. So only those network functions that are needed are used. The service chain functions can also be modified or moved very flexibly to enable operators to respond to changing needs and to rapidly introduce new services to their customers. So life for the operator becomes a whole lot simpler!

Nokia’s flexible service chaining can be deployed with any Evolved Packet Core (EPC), independent of any other parts of an operator’s installed base.

See flexible service chaining live at Mobile World Congress

At Mobile World Congress 2016, we are showcasing our flexible service chaining, available on Nokia AirFrame and Nokia Cloud Infrastructure, together with partner products that offer leading edge capabilities. We’ll show various use cases, including per subscriber traffic steering based on policy, dynamic changes in traffic steering policies based on the radio access type, and the implementation of a new service chain via orchestration.

We are also pleased to showcase flexible service chaining and our AirFrame Data Center Solution at the Intel booth. John Healy, GM of Software Defined Networking Division, Intel, said: “Intel’s expertise, including its Open Network Platform (ONP) reference architecture using DPDK (Data Plane Development Kit) can offer maximized performance, lower latency and jitter that would benefit a flexible service chaining use case.”

The demonstration will also include a virtualized Policy Control and Rules Function (PCRF) from Redknee, that provides 3GPP-compliant multi-dimensional service routing policy control to implement dynamically provisioned traffic steering policies.

In addition, Flash Networks’ optimization for congested traffic will be shown as a service chain function, which demonstrates Nokia’s commitment to open collaboration and our solution’s capability to integrate third party components.

For more information and a live demonstration, please visit the Nokia booth at Mobile World Congress (Hall 3, booth 3B10), 22nd to 25th February 2016.

See also our Nokia Service Chaining internet page.

Share your thoughts on this topic by replying below – or join the Twitter discussion with @nokianetworks using #VNF #MWC16

About Rob McManus

Rob leads the product marketing of Nokia’s Cloud Packet Core. If you need convincing about the exciting possibilities of a cloud-native and converged packet core – talk to him or keep an eye out at key industry forums where he’s a regular speaker.

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