Sprint launches nationwide NFV OpenStack cloud deployment extending its existing vendor ecosystem with the introduction of new, agile, innovative, and smaller players.
This week, Sprint announced several of the industry-leading pioneers they are collaborating with on their nationwide Network Function Virtualization OpenStack cloud deployment.
"We’ve spent the last several years laying the foundation and charting a path for Sprint’s NFV journey. NFV is an essential building block as we develop our LTE Plus Network to Gigabit LTE and 5G, which will require more efficient scaling of core network capabilities to handle the dynamic flow of data requirements among our customers," said Sprint COO, Günther Ottendorfer in a blog post.
For NFV, Sprint said it is committed to deploying open-source software on standards-based hardware to provide a more flexible, innovative, and cost-effective network that can support the 5G requirements for super-high data speeds, ultra-low latency, automation, and mass connectivity required for IOT, Ultra HD video, AR-VR, and Edge computing.
To accomplish these foundational goals, Sprint has been building out a new virtual Core - replacing stand-alone, bare metal platforms with a single Network Function Virtualization infrastructure (NFVI) on which all of the Evolved Packet Core (EPC) and IP Multimedia Sub-System (IMS) platforms virtually reside as Virtualized Network Functions (VNFs).
Over the past two years, Sprint has virtualized our messaging platforms in the network and we have started migrating Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) and Short Message Service (SMS) functions over to this NFV platform. As of today, 100% of IP Short Message (IPSM) traffic has been virtualized.
In addition,Sprint is currently migrating SMS traffic to NFV. SMS will be fully virtualized by the end of 2017 and the Operator plans to deploy the MMS VNF onto the virtual platform during the first half of 2018.
With this next step for NFV, Sprint is extending its existing vendor ecosystem with the introduction of new, agile, innovative, and smaller players. Sprint is using new providers in many areas starting with the SBC (Session Border Controller), the Call Session Control Function (CSCF), and the Telephony Application Server (TAS) functionality.
Sprint has selected Metaswitch for the SBC, CSCF, and the Breakout Gateway Control Function (BGCF) as well as Mavenir for the TAS, Media Resource Function (MRF), and policy Diameter Routing Agent (pDRA). Virtualizing the EPC and IMS onto a single NFVI will enable Sprint to scale the Core up or down dynamically to support new 5G services, depending upon demand.