Alcatel-Lucent Offerings Support 3G, LTE Network Providers

Alcatel-Lucent is rolling out its Ultimate Wireless Packet Core, which not only helps service providers manage the explosion of mobile data on their 3G networks, but also gives them an easier migration path to 4G LTE networks and tools for moving to a tiered pricing model.

Alcatel-Lucent is looking to help service providers handle the growing surge of mobile data and more easily migrate to next-generation network capabilities.

Alcatel-Lucent on March 18 unveiled its Ultimate Wireless Packet Core, a host of new and enhanced products and services that address service providers' need to not only better handle the mobile data flooding into 2G and 3G networks, but also make the move to 4G, or LTE (Long Term Evolution).

"It's all about the explosion of mobile data in 3G and LTE," Lindsay Newell, vice president of marketing for Alcatel-Lucent's IP business, said in an interview.

Driving that growth is the rising popularity of mobile devices such as smartphones and netbooks, along with the rapid increase in video traffic, Newell said.

"If you look at smartphone penetration, it's pretty low right now," he said. "But clearly the trend is all about the smartphone."

Alcatel-Lucent's 7750 SR (Service Router)-based 4G mobile packet core gateway platform now supports GGSN (Gateway GPRS Support Node) for 2.5G and 3G, giving service providers greater flexibility in the platforms they support.

The vendor also is easing the migration path with its WMM (Wireless Mobility Manager), which enables service providers to support current-generation networks while having the signaling and control plane performance for an LTE network.

The new Alcatel-Lucent offerings also give service providers more tools for the move to a tiered pricing model, and away from the current all-you-can-eat method. Network providers have said they will change their pricing models to charge the heaviest users more for the demand they put on the networks.

Alcatel-Lucent's new 5780 DSC (Dynamic Services Controller) offers a feature called PCRF (Policy Charging and Rules Function) for both 3G and LTE, which officials say will enable service providers to optimize network resources and personalize choices for users.

The 5780 DSC also works with the 7750 SR on billing for usage of network resources. It is in trials now and will be available in the second half of the year.

Alcatel-Lucent will be showing off the new offerings at the CTIA show, held March 23 to 25 in Las Vegas.

Alcatel-Lucent already is participating in current trials for Verizon's LTE deployment, and has been selected by AT&T as a key LTE vendor.