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Mobile networks in the cloud

One thing is certain about mobile networks, the demands placed on them will keep increasing. Cisco’s Virtual Network Index forecasts 41 percent annual growth in data traffic through to 2018. The US, already way ahead of us in per capita usage, will grow at 50 percent per year.

In this week’s CrossTalk podcast Cisco’s VP of Global Technology Policy Dr Robert Pepper says one of the changing characteristics will be the growth in machine to machine communication. Their Australian CTO Kevin Bloch says this calls for a new approach to how networks are designed.

That’s why, this week, Alcatel Lucent announced a network functions virtualization (NFV) protfoio – in effect, mobile network functions operating in the cloud. It means we’ll see less proprietary hardware sitting on networks and more software sitting on open platforms.

Manish Gulyani says the new approach to virtualisation will meet the increasing demand for meeting new services, either by telcos themselves, their customers or third party app developers, “introducing more communication services into the web platform itself”.

Phone companies that used to connect us up so we could talk to each other and now getting entwined in a very sophisticated world of applications, big data, automation and M2M communication. Will virtualised network functionality help them rise to the challenge?

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