Cisco Lands Altice Global Mobile NFV, Partners on Enterprise 5G with Verizon

Equipment giant meanwhile keeps steady drumbeat on security solutions for mobile networks

Altice Makes Bold Moves to Virtualize Its Global Mobile Network With Cisco
Cisco and Red Hat Join Forces to Drive Innovation

Cisco and Altice Group continue to strengthen their alliance to transform Altice’s business operations with new network architectures to help grow revenue, lower costs and improve customer retention.

Altice is a multinational cable, fiber, telecommunications, content and media company with 50 million customers spanning Western Europe, the United States, Israel, and the Overseas Territories.

The companies are collaborating on a long-term project to build a holistic network function virtualization (NFV) platform. By virtualizing key network functions, Altice will be able to speed time to market for new services across its global footprint.

SFR, Altice’s French subsidiary, has been leading this transformation of the mobile packet core infrastructure with an NFV platform architected to support multiple vendors. Co-engineered by Cisco and Red Hat, the solution is based on Red Hat OpenStack Platform, in combination with Cisco® networking, virtualization and data center compute solutions.

The virtualized mobile network platform is already helping SFR realize a series of new benefits, including:
• Operational excellence: A solution that can flexibly and rapidly scale to deliver on the virtualization promise
• Agility: Shorter solution deployment time and agility to provide new services by deploying new specific virtualized network functions (VNF) as part of an existing or new service chain
• CAPEX efficiency and cost control: Significant savings through greater automation; offering better ways to invest capital moving forward
• Improved workflows: Virtualization is allowing teams to be more agile in the way they collaborate, ending organization siloes

SFR has an aggressive roadmap in place for 2017 to virtualize additional mobile services, utilizing its Cisco-based SDN/NFV core platform.

With 50 percent of the mobile traffic already running on its virtualized platform and 80 percent planned by end of 2017, SFR is well under way in executing on its strategy.

The successful SFR implementation gives Altice the justification to consider similar virtualization deployments throughout its operating companies. This transition can also help Altice converge all mobile packet core services spanning 2G–4G networks into a single virtualized solution, and prepare a smooth transition toward 5G.

“NFV is a reality at SFR,” said Philippe Le May, SFR CTO, Altice Group. “We are focused on innovating faster and taking bold leaps to transform our network operations, providing our customers with experiences beyond mobile that no one else can match.”

“Our strategy is to enable our customers’ success at growing both profits and revenues by connecting new services and virtualized applications to networks and clouds,” said Yves Padrines, vice president, Global Service Provider EMEAR, Cisco. “Altice is wholly focused on innovation and transforming its architecture to evolve and support 5G services — and is already looking ahead to the next phase of virtualizing the evolved packet core.”

“Red Hat OpenStack Platform enables Altice to create an agile, flexible, and scalable NFV cloud that can meet its modernization goals and deliver new, differentiating services to its customers,” said Radhesh Balakrishnan, general manager, OpenStack, Red Hat. “We are delighted to collaborate with Altice and Cisco on this transformation initiative.”

Cisco is building the simplified, automated and virtualized network platform of the future based on industry-leading software, systems, silicon and services. This enables service providers, media and web companies worldwide to reduce costs, speed time-to-market, secure their networks and sustain profitable growth.

Verizon and Cisco Bring 5G Innovations to the Enterprise

As businesses increasingly digitize, mobile carriers will need the speed, low latency, and dynamic provisioning capabilities that 5G networks are expected to deliver to address increasing subscriber demands and new services trends.

Verizon is seizing the opportunity by building one of the largest 5G proving grounds in the world with collaboration from Cisco. As a member of the Verizon 5G Technology Forum, Cisco will help Verizon drive 5G innovation around the network and provide services needed to help enable their joint enterprise and SMB customers to receive the best connectivity experience that 5G can offer.

Cisco is bringing key elements of its 5G-ready mobile architecture to Verizon’s 5G pre-commercial pilots, such as:
• Virtualized, cloud-based, 5G Technology Forum compliant packet core as part of the Cisco Ultra Service Platform. This increases service velocity by providing on-boarding and operational simplification for virtual network functions (VNFs) that help enable individual applications to be delivered to customers in real-time. In the network transport space, Cisco will also bring mobile backhaul infrastructure to deliver the faster gigabit broadband speeds 5G will offer.
• Virtual Managed Services, a software platform that uses virtualization, automation, analytics and cloud to rapidly deploy security and network services, such as Cisco iWAN and threat-centric security solutions. As part of this effort, Cisco will also be deploying a pre-release version of a 5G-enabled router to deliver advanced services to enterprise, branch, and small-medium businesses.

“The accelerating customer adoption of a wireless, cloud based, digital paradigm is driving us toward 5G network innovation,” said Ed Chan, SVP of Technology Strategy & Planning at Verizon. “The technology partnership with Cisco is helping us accelerate the deployment of new enterprise 5G services to support our enterprise customers with improved security, scalability, and agility in their digitization journey.”

In addition to developing technologies that enable greater service agility, Verizon and Cisco will explore the connectivity and performance of the 5G network and how it can be harnessed across industry verticals.  A new set of business applications, for instance leveraging augmented or virtual reality, will require 5G’s low latency, quality of service and high capacity to be delivered across the network. This will allow both interactive and immersive experiences in ways that have never been delivered before.

“Cisco shares our vision for the network of the future, powered by 5G,” said Shawn Hakl, VP of Business Networking and Security Services,Verizon. “As part of this activity, Verizon and Cisco will use enterprise SD-WAN functions that interact with the carrier 5G network to integrate security policy and manage the performance of applications such as unified communications.”

“Cisco and Verizon are transforming how businesses can tap into the incredible potential of 5G,” said Yvette Kanouff, SVP and GM, Service Provider Business, Cisco. “Verizon is building the network of tomorrow to support 5G, and Cisco is honored to be a part of both their full architectural approach and vision to translate these new technical capabilities to the business benefit of their customers.”

Steady Drumbeat on Security With New Solutions for Mobile Networks

As mobile service providers connect more devices, data, and services, they face new decisions for securing their networks for a digital world.

Cisco predicts there will be 26.3 billion networked devices globally in 2020, up from 16.3 billion in 2015[1]. Updating security to protect the content and data running on these devices has become a new mandate for mobile service providers as they prepare for 5G, making it necessary to deploy security solutions across the entire mobile network.

With the transition to 5G, virtualization and cloud technology, the potential number of attacks and threats on mobile networks is growing. To protect against current and future threats, mobile operators need to adopt a holistic approach to achieve robust security.

Today at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Cisco is introducing its Security Architecture for Mobile Service Providers, a comprehensive portfolio of threat-centric solutions that offers multi-layered protection across the network, the endpoint (device) and the cloud.

New elements include:
• Network Security: To help service providers protect their mobile backhaul from attacks against the core network, Cisco introduces its next generation of highly scalable, physical and virtual Security Gateway (SecGW) solutions, supported by the Firepower 9300 and Firepower 4100 Series firewall appliances, ASR 900 Series routers and Adaptive Security Virtual Appliance (ASAv).
• Device Security: Cisco security on the device enables enterprises and service providers to extend visibility and device-level protection to offer the most robust mobile device platform for the enterprise.

Cisco and Samsung will deliver endpoint visibility and data intelligence to business customers via Samsung Knox, Cisco® AnyConnect and Cisco Stealthwatch solutions.
• Cloud Security: Service providers can now deliver new revenue streams by offering their customers new managed security services from their own managed cloud, or Cisco-managed cloud environments.

Today Cisco announces ‘Cisco Umbrella for Service Providers’, a new cloud-delivered security platform that helps service providers address the critical needs of their customers, while creating a new revenue opportunity for their business.

Cisco is also introducing new integration of its Cisco Umbrella security service, with the Cisco Evolved Packet Core (EPC), available to run on the Cisco Ultra Services Platform or Cisco ASR 5500 Series routers to deliver a more secure Internet experience to any mobile device.

A broad mix of these security solutions is being implemented by mobile service providers and device manufacturers including Deutsche Telekom, Samsung, Vodafone Hutchinson Australia and others, as they move with confidence toward a 5G world.

“We like the vision that Cisco has shared with us and feel that service providers like ourselves can take advantage of a cloud-delivered security platform like Cisco Umbrella for Service Providers to deliver new revenue-generating services to enable a safe and secure Internet experience to our customers,” said Dirk Backhofen, head of Deutsche Telekom Security.  “We look forward to working with Cisco and taking advantage of Cisco Umbrella in the future to deliver new innovative security services to our business customers.”

“With this new offering, we are marking another milestone in our security software on Android mobile phones,” said Injong Rhee, CTO of the Mobile Communications Business at Samsung Electronics. “Together with Cisco we are providing our customers with the best security technologies and insightful data analytics to protect sensitive information and vital business applications.”

“Security is the business enabler for mobile service providers to confidently move forward with network transformation, virtualization and pave a path towards 5G,” said Gee Rittenhouse, senior vice president, Engineering, Security Business Group. “We are focused on helping our customers see more, protect better, and respond faster with robust security to fill in the gaps and appreciate all the new opportunities that come with network expansion, without the added risk.”

Cisco is building the simplified, automated and virtualized network platform of the future based on industry-leading software, systems, silicon and services. This enables service providers, media and web companies worldwide to reduce costs, speed time-to-market, secure their networks and sustain profitable growth.

[1] Cisco Mobile VNI Forecast 2016-2020