Nearly half of global mobile operators are embracing New IP technologies such as virtualization, feature distribution and programmability to improve flexibility in their network architecture as demand for mobile data continues to skyrocket, according to Heavy Reading's latest Mobile Network Transformation Survey.
While the mobile data consumption unleashed by 3G and 4G has been unprecedented, mobile operators are expecting this to be only the tip of the iceberg, with 5G on the horizon and the Internet of Things (IoT) ready to boom. To get an idea of how mobile operators were preparing their network architecture for the expected explosion of traffic growth, Heavy Reading surveyed over 80 individuals employed by converged and pure-play global mobile operators.
Highlights from the survey include eye-opening stats, such as:
- Nearly half of mobile operator respondents believe that investment in data centers in the coming years will be characterized by a clear tendency to distribution and decentralization.
- Enabled by a more distributed architecture, a breaking down of operational silos, and leveraging network functions virtualization (NFV), a large majority of mobile operators expect to deploy virtual EPC (vEPC) for greater deployment flexibility.
- 56% of US respondents expect a "high network impact" from deploying vEPC, compared to 47% of non-US respondents.
- 40% of survey respondents expressed a "very high" interest in leveraging software-defined networking (SDN) to automate network operations.
- 80% of mobile operator respondents consider the outright elimination of operational silos in their organizations to be preferable or critical.
- Almost half of respondents expect their companies to have deployed phase synchronization in their network by the end of 2017.
"Throughout the survey, mobile operator respondents in the US emerge as particularly demanding of a more distributed, virtualized and programmable network infrastructure which reflects that market's large geography and leadership in 4G," noted Patrick Donegan, chief analyst at Heavy Reading, in the report. "But mobile operators outside the US tend not to be all that far behind in seeking to evolve in this same direction as well."
To learn more about the survey results and mobile operator plans for New IP architecture deployments, you can join the survey's sponsors Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) and Coriant on The New IP's next live radio show on Thursday, February 18 at 2:00 p.m. ET (11:00 a.m. PT).
On the show, Brocade's CTO of Mobile Networking, Kevin Shatzkamer, and Bill Kaufmann, group manager of SDN Planning at Coriant, will also discuss how the two companies teamed to develop a SDN/NFV-enabled smart mobile cloud, and a mobile network slicing solution to reduce service activation times and enhance service performance in existing mobile networks. Register for the show here: The Smart Mobile Cloud .
— Elizabeth Miller Coyne, Editor, The New IP