First Read

A first take on enterprise IT technology news and events.

Brocade Unveils New Offerings for Mobile Network Operators

The products use SDN and NFV to help customers ready their networks for 5G to better manage the demands of the IoT and M2M computing.


Brocade wants to help mobile operators get ahead of the migration to 5G networks.

The company on Feb. 16 unveiled new offerings designed to help mobile network operators begin transforming their infrastructures to handle the rapidly growing traffic that is coming from such emerging services as the Internet of things (IoT), machine-to-machine (M2M) computing, high-definition video and virtual mobile networking.

At the same time, company officials announced new partnerships with an array of companies to create solutions that use software-defined networking (SDN), network-functions virtualization (NFV) and mobile edge computing technologies to help mobile network operators adapt their infrastructures to innovate and deliver services more quickly.

While a standard for 5G isn't expected from international standards body 3GPP (3rd Generation Partner Project), mobile operators are pushing forward with road maps to adopt the technology and networking vendors are creating the tools to make those goals possible. For example, AT&T officials last week announced the company will conduct lab development and testing of its 5G technologies with partners in the second quarter, and will begin field trials this summer.

Among the new offerings unveiled by Brocade was the Virtual Core for Mobile (VCM), a fully virtualized Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) lineup of products that supports network slicing through independent localization and scaling of the control and user planes. Network slicing will be an important part of 5G, enabling network operators to deliver networks via an as-a-service model to deal with the broad range of use cases coming in the future.

The goal of VCM is to do away with expensive and proprietary hardware, over-provisioning and long upgrade cycles that are common in today's networks, according to officials. The offering can be deployed in days rather than months, and can be used on its own or in combination with other technologies, such as a serving gateway or a mobility management entity.

In addition, through its vRouter technology, Brocade is offering capabilities that will enable the integration of routing, IPsec termination and network firewall functions in the virtualization infrastructure in the host operating system. The result is the ability of mobile network operators to extend the cloud to the edge of the network, opening up new revenue opportunities, officials said. Virtual network functions can be introduced closer to the edge, and the capabilities integrate with Brocade's SDN controller and Virtual Packet Broker.

Brocade also is offering new network visibility products for better monitoring of physical and virtual networks. The company will be demonstrating its new products at the Mobile World Congress 2016 show next week in Barcelona, Spain.