Telekom Austria’s A1 arm in NFV test

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Operator partners with NEC-owned NetCracker for virtual modem field trial.

Telekom Austria on Tuesday announced its latest successful test of network functions virtualisation (NFV), this time carrying out a field trial of a virtual modem.

The basic functions of a broadband modem – transmitting and receiving data – still require dedicated hardware to be installed at the customer premises, said Telekom Austria, but many of the advanced functionality that ships with today’s modern modems is ripe for virtualising.

“Managing and maintaining hundreds of thousands of modems of multiple generations and different manufacturers poses considerable challenges especially in terms of work load. Besides, increasing complexity goes hand in hand with growing fault vulnerability and rising difficulties for our customers to make the best out these devices,” said Marcus Grausam, CTO of Telekom Austria’s domestic mobile business A1, in a statement.

In partnership with Japan’s NEC and NEC’s subsidiary NetCracker, A1 successfully tested the feasibility of virtualising modem features such as the firewall and anti-virus protection, as well as carrying out configuration and maintenance procedures in the cloud.

Migrating modem features to the cloud has the potential to significantly reduce the cost and complexity of modems and make them more energy efficient, Telekom Austria said.

“This virtualisation solution allows not only for a considerable increase in flexibility and efficiency but also for significant cost savings based on simple and standardised hardware and the reduction to a minimum of all necessary requirements in terms of configuration settings,” said Michael Stückmann, managing director, NEC Deutschland.

It is the first time Telekom Austria has conducted an NFV test on home soil.

The operator has carried out various NFV trials at three of its operating subsidiaries: Mobiltel in Bulgaria, VIP Mobile in Serbia, and Vipnet in Croatia.

“NFV technology is a paradigm shift which will have a major impact on the telecommunication industry globally within the next few years,” said Telekom Austria Group CTO Guenther Ottendorfer, on Wednesday.

“The traditional IT silo world will no longer exist and the telecom landscape will be shaped differently. I am proud that the group is among the first operators worldwide to set these trends,” he said.