Cool Vendors in Communications Service Provider Infrastructure, 2015

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1 G Cool Vendors in Communications Service Provider Infrastructure, 2015 Published: 16 April 2015 Analyst(s): Akshay K. Sharma, Sylvain Fabre, Deborah Kish As CSPs and large-scale enterprises move toward software-defined networking and further virtualization, new vendors appear, offering solutions for video, along with vendors offering newer mobile backhaul and mobile core solutions. CSPs' CIOs/CTOs and planners should explore these innovations. Key Findings Software-defined video is emerging as a new area for communications service providers to explore for newer services. Mobile backhaul with innovative wireless backhaul techniques is poised to become the best way for CSPs to optimally connect mobile networks, especially where fixed broadband networks are not available. Elastic provisioning of network capacity, and dynamic allocation of services to multiple CSP customers based on their dynamic needs, are coming into view where virtual mobile core network solutions are emerging. Recommendations Data center CIOs/CTOs and CSP network planners should: Analyze solutions from these vendors when developing business models based on elastic ondemand services leveraging Diameter policy-based controls. Explore newer mobile backhaul offerings with increased throughput and greater resiliency (as opposed to the legacy approaches). Look for solutions that support SDN-based control together with NFV-based service orchestration for mobile core functions, especially for newer video on-demand services. SDV may allow the provisioning and orchestration of other dynamic applications, such as video as a service.

2 Table of Contents Analysis...2 What You Need to Know...2 Affirmed Networks...3 AOptix... 4 Elemental Technologies...5 NetNumber...6 Kumu Networks...7 Where Are They Now?...8 Optenet... 8 Tail-f... 8 Gartner Recommended Reading... 9 List of Tables Table 1. Cool Vendors in CSP Infrastructure and Their Place in the Nexus of Forces... 3 Analysis This document was revised on 17 April The document you are viewing is the corrected version. For more information, see the Corrections page on gartner.com. This research does not constitute an exhaustive list of vendors in any given technology area, but rather is designed to highlight interesting, new and innovative vendors, products and services. Gartner disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. What You Need to Know Cool Vendors are those that have caught Gartner's interest during the past year because they offer innovative or high-potential technologies or solutions. In this report, we highlight five vendors whose products have an impact on communications service providers (CSPs) infrastructure and other emerging markets such as cloud-based offerings with newer software-defined network (SDN) control for elastic network services, network function virtualization (NFV) service orchestration and emerging mobile backhaul solutions. The target audience of this report includes CSPs' CIOs/CTOs and planners looking at rounding out their offerings. With CSPs and large-scale enterprises making progress toward software-defined networking and further virtualization, new vendors have solutions for video, along with vendors Page 2 of 10 Gartner, Inc. G

3 providing newer mobile backhaul and core solutions. CSPs' CIOs/CTOs and planners should examine these innovations. In the analysis of the five Cool Vendors below, it becomes apparent that mastery over several elements in the Nexus of Forces cloud computing, big data, mobile and social media and other new competencies will be required of CSPs, as CSPs transition to offer more digital services and build the market credibility to participate in this new digital era. To this last point, CSPs must become digital business themselves. Cool vendors are assessed against Gartner's Nexus of Forces (cloud, mobile, information and social), where these vendors can enable the convergence and mutual reinforcement of IT trends. Table 1 maps our Cool Vendors to these trends. Table 1. Cool Vendors in CSP Infrastructure and Their Place in the Nexus of Forces Nexus of Forces Cloud Mobile Information Vendors Elemental Technologies Kumu Networks, AOptix, Affirmed Networks NetNumber Source: Gartner (April 2015) We have focused on vendors that have an impact on the CSP networking marketplace from the perspective of various technologies and end-user needs. They offer a wide range of services from mobile cloud with software-defined video (SDV) orchestration and provisioning, to policy-based controls with subscriber analytics, to mobile backhaul innovations. CSPs' IT and network technology planners should evaluate these vendors and their corresponding technologies. Affirmed Networks Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. (www.affirmednetworks.com) Analysis by Akshay Sharma Why Cool: Current SDN and NFV solutions have been primarily focused in the data center and address network virtualization concerns within the IT domain, which now need to be delivered within the CSP's WAN, including the mobile core. Vendors are bringing new features, such as mobile packet core, voice over LTE (VoLTE) and other platform-as-a-service (PaaS) solutions, offering newer converged services (unified communications as a service [UCaaS], video delivery and small-cell control with Wi-Fi seamless roaming). CSPs are looking for an evolution away from siloed networking appliances and toward fluid and dynamic solutions that support end-to-end control. The problems with the current technology are magnified in the WAN, because CSPs require resiliency, security and high performance with agile Gartner, Inc. G Page 3 of 10

4 service delivery whereas the siloed solutions of the past with legacy manual provisioning are slow and prone to errors. Affirmed Networks is cool because its virtual evolved packet core (EPC) solution delivers complete 2G, 3G and Long Term Evolution (LTE) packet core support with service orchestration of newer services, along with policy controller support with online charging running in the "cloud" geographically spread and deployed closer to the edge. As more cloud-based offerings such as seamless Wi-Fi services are provided by CSPs, this distributed cloud capability will emerge as a key requirement, along with its Wi-Fi gateway control functions and policy control functions. Challenges: Cisco Systems, Nokia, Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and others have recently announced competing virtualized Evolved Package Core (vepc) offerings; and while these vendors often mention policy, service orchestration and real-time charging, this is still an emerging space. Affirmed Networks will need to show that it can provide a solution that is both vendor-agnostic and able to provide: Lower total cost of ownership, with carrier-grade reliability Agile service delivery of newer services Solutions supporting end-to-end networks and across multiple vendors Being a smaller firm may hinder its chances with larger CSPs, although it has been mentioned by AT&T as part of its Domain 2.0 program, which is a significant customer engagement. Offering its solution through partnerships with incumbent network equipment vendors will be a good strategy, as it has 20 customers and 40 trials underway, with publicly announced customers such as LG Uplus, Elephant Talk, Transatel, Fogg Mobile and TNS. Who Should Care: CTOs at mobile CSPs or CIOs at managed service providers offering managed Wi-Fi that need NFV-based provisioning and orchestration of mobile core services should consider Affirmed Networks for end-to-end service control across multiple networks. AOptix Campbell, California, U.S. (www.aoptix.com) Analysis by Sylvain Fabre Why Cool: AOptix provides a wireless solution for mobile backhaul that delivers multigigabit connectivity without having to trench for fiber. Originally created for military aircraft two-way air-toground data connectivity, the solution uses a technology called Laser-Radio to establish a 2 Gbps point-to-point data connection over distances up to 10 kilometers (km). Laser-Radio technology combines two existing technologies in a unique way, by combining laser optics communication technology via Free-Space Optics (FSO) with radio communication technology via Millimeter Wave. The solution sends redundant data streams over both transmission technologies and then combines them in real-time at the receive site. These two outputs are fused Page 4 of 10 Gartner, Inc. G

5 at the byte level via dynamic packet resourcing algorithms to yield bit error rates comparable to fiber performance. This results in creating robust connectivity with respect to atmospheric conditions such as fog, rain, snow and wind because radio signals are generally better in conditions where optical signal transmission is compromised, and vice versa. Traditional wireless technologies have inherent weaknesses in inclement weather due to specific frequency susceptibilities, and Laser-Radio technology overcomes these issues by combining two diverse yet complementary frequencies. Currently they have been deployed by a major global enterprise firm in New York City looking for a low-latency wireless networking solution, international wireless providers for mobile backhaul applications, and are now in certification with a major U.S.-based tier-1 CSP. Challenges: Being a smaller startup may provide a challenge for AOptix in winning contracts with some larger CSPs that prefer major solutions' providers. AOptix is less well known among the network and cloud services providers, enterprises and data centers. Offering its solution through a partnership with incumbent network equipment providers would be a good strategy. AOptix will need to figure out how to work with these larger players and become a part of their ecosystems and, potentially, sell directly to both communications and cloud services providers. Who Should Care: CSPs, media providers and OTT providers that are looking for a robust backhaul and high-reliability solution that is also flexible, cost-effective and rapid to deploy, should consider AOptix. This is especially significant in environments with challenging atmospheric conditions, including high winds. Elemental Technologies Portland, Oregon, U.S. (www.elementaltechnologies.com) Analysis by Akshay Sharma Why Cool: Elemental Technologies is an SDV firm, which offers high-performance video processing software that enables customers in their transition to next-generation architectures such as SDN and NFV for cloud-based video delivery. Elemental's SDV solution allows network applications to be independent of the underlying network hardware, running on a cloud-based solution with "northbound APIs" for newer services. While there are other vendors in this new SDV space, Elemental Technologies is unique in being the first to bridge the cloud, with networking supporting 4K UHD TV with deployments at cable multisystem operators (MSOs), over-the-top (OTT) providers and CSPs. Elemental's solutions enable large-scale deployment of high-performance video processing infrastructure required for rapidly growing markets such as video delivery. Its software has already been selected and deployed by companies such as Sky, Telefónica, Comcast and Telstra, as well as being a critical element of content delivery network (CDN) platform solutions for video infrastructure and data center networks. Gartner, Inc. G Page 5 of 10

6 With Elemental's solutions, network equipment providers and CSPs can port their applications to run in virtual machines (VMs) to support newer converged services such as multiscreen video delivery. Challenges: Being a smaller startup may hinder Elemental from winning contracts with some larger CSPs that prefer major solutions providers, although it has sold to major CSPs already and has strong channel partners. Elemental is less known among the network and cloud service providers, enterprises and data centers. Offering its solution through partnerships with incumbent network equipment vendors is a good strategy. Who Should Care: CSPs, media providers and OTT providers that are looking for SDV- and NFVbased offerings across multiple networks should consider Elemental and its partners in the network equipment provider space. SDN/NFV is gaining traction with major CSPs such as AT&T and Deutsche Telekom, among others, for savings by running on general-purpose hardware along with support of innovative services in the cloud, and SDV can be an example of enabling this transition. NetNumber Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. (www.netnumber.com) Analysis by Deborah Kish Why Cool: NetNumber is cool as it provides platforms enabling the CSPs to transition to digital services by innovating signaling control, such as subscriber profiles, Internet Protocol (IP) addressing from legacy phone numbers and policy-based control for digital services. This enables CSPs to transition faster in the delivery of new services across multiple generations of networks. Its intent is to simplify the core network and reduce operating costs. NetNumber's Transactional IP Telephony Addressing and Numbering (TITAN) platform provides a common infrastructure for delivery of real-time signaling control, policy enforcement and subscriber database services. It provides all signaling control services (ENUM/DNS, SIP, Diameter, SS7/C7 and Sigtran) over a common platform. The platform aims to provide interworking with legacy signaling management services and protocols, which enable CSPs to deliver newer digital services over newer IP networks as well as maintain the legacy circuit-switched networks. The TITAN platform also promises reduced operating expenditure (opex). It is provisioned as a common infrastructure for all signaling control services and database functions rather than relying on multiple components allowing CSPs to introduce new service control functions, with dynamic service-chaining techniques. It leverages some partnerships such as with Genband in order to gain market visibility and other partnerships collaboratively in order to drive problem-solving solutions for its CSP customers looking for ways to improve quality of service and quality of experience. For example, NetNumber recently announced a joint partnership with NetAxis Solutions, which aims to help carriers improve the quality of real-time voice and video services in the IP networks of their customers. The two companies have defined a solution for providing real-time quality of service (QoS) control of Internetwork Packet Exchange (IPX) traffic. The joint solution uses NetNumber's TITAN platform to Page 6 of 10 Gartner, Inc. G

7 access real-time QoS data delivered and provisioned by NetAxis Solutions' Nemo network monitor system. This results in IP exchange traffic being adjusted based on activity in the underlying data network to improve the quality of experience for end users, by leveraging policy-based controls in the network, which NetNumber can enable. What is interesting about NetNumber is that its competition is spread across multiple domains, yet it has no direct competitors because no other technology provider does what NetNumber does in that it has the ability to combine and collapse multiple layers of network components. Challenges: NetNumber's presence is largely within the North America region, with wins recently in Western Europe, but it lacks visibility in the global CSP market. It needs to continue to expand its partnerships to include technology providers such as it developed with NetAxis and Genband in order to expand its global reach, as well as continued expansion of its sales and marketing teams. It also needs to fully promote its value proposition in order to gain market visibility. Who Should Care: CSP CIOs and CTOs looking to simplify their network architectures and consolidate network components. Kumu Networks Palo Alto, California, U.S. (www.kumunetworks.com) Analysis by Akshay Sharma Why Cool: Kumu has developed technology that cancels self-interference, allowing networking nodes to transmit and receive at the same time on the same frequency, effectively doubling capacity. Kumu's patented full-duplex technology changes the basic assumptions on which current wireless radios are built, allowing for improved performance and reduced complexity across a variety of wireless devices and markets. Kumu's trial demos can be applied to mobile backhaul infrastructure solutions and can be one of the technologies within 5G. It has had good traction with Telefonica and SK Telecom, which demonstrated Kumu's solution at Mobile World Congress Kumu also has partnerships with large equipment manufacturers in the works. Another application for its technology is with highefficiency Wi-Fi (HE-Wi-Fi), as it is being evaluated as a potential solution for coexistence of LTEunlicensed and Wi-Fi, for a capacity increase in the unlicensed bands. Challenges: Kumu is less known among service providers and network equipment vendors, although it is in discussions with a major base station and mobile backhaul firm. Being a niche player, Kumu should also consider offering its solutions through partnerships with incumbents. Integration efforts within the existing mobile infrastructure solutions will be needed for the more large-scale deployments with CSPs. Gartner, Inc. G Page 7 of 10

8 Who Should Care: Kumu's solutions could be used by network architects at network equipment providers (NEPs), which are responsible for doing proof-of-concept studies, prototyping the transition to newer network architectures, and acceptance testing, especially for newer technologies such as 5G, LTE-U and high-efficiency Wi-Fi. Where Are They Now? Optenet Madrid, Spain (www.optenet.com) Analysis by Akshay Sharma Profiled in "Cool Vendors in Communications Service Provider Infrastructure, 2011" Why Cool Then: We identified Optenet as cool because it has deployments at major Tier 1 CSPs offering security as a service (SecaaS), leveraging deep packet inspection (DPI) technologies with cloud-based algorithms for things such as parental control of content. Where They Are Now: Allot Communications (a leader in the DPI space) acquired Optenet in February Tail-f San Jose, California, U.S. (www.cisco.com) Analysis by Akshay Sharma Profiled in "Cool Vendors in Communications Service Provider Infrastructure, 2014" Why Cool Then: We identified Tail-f as cool because its solutions allow CSPs and data center CIOs to control networks using SDN concepts. It also allows them to orchestrate virtual functions using NFV concepts in the cloud while supporting legacy network management functions. Where They Are Now: Tail-f was acquired by Cisco in July Page 8 of 10 Gartner, Inc. G

9 Acronym Key and Glossary Terms CSP communications service provider LTE NFV OTT SDN VM Long Term Evolution network functions virtualization is a European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) term with the aim of transforming the way that network operators architect networks, by evolving standard IT virtualization technology to consolidate many network equipment functions onto industry standard high-volume servers, switches and storage. over-the-top software-defined networking is an emerging networking architecture that separates the control plane from the data plane in networking equipment so that network intelligence and state are logically centralized and the underlying network infrastructure is abstracted from the applications. OpenFlow is the key protocol for SDN. virtual machine Gartner Recommended Reading Some documents may not be available as part of your current Gartner subscription. "Predicts 2013: CSPs Need to Focus on the Nexus of Forces" "Ending the Confusion About Software-Defined Networking: A Taxonomy" Evidence This research is based on existing Gartner market forecasts, discussions with analyst colleagues and numerous interactions with major industry participants. It is also based on our observations of the market trends in telecom and adjacent industries. Gartner, Inc. G Page 9 of 10

10 GARTNER HEADQUARTERS Corporate Headquarters 56 Top Gallant Road Stamford, CT USA Regional Headquarters AUSTRALIA BRAZIL JAPAN UNITED KINGDOM For a complete list of worldwide locations, visit Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Gartner is a registered trademark of Gartner, Inc. or its affiliates. This publication may not be reproduced or distributed in any form without Gartner s prior written permission. If you are authorized to access this publication, your use of it is subject to the Usage Guidelines for Gartner Services posted on gartner.com. The information contained in this publication has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information and shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in such information. This publication consists of the opinions of Gartner s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. Although Gartner research may include a discussion of related legal issues, Gartner does not provide legal advice or services and its research should not be construed or used as such. Gartner is a public company, and its shareholders may include firms and funds that have financial interests in entities covered in Gartner research. Gartner s Board of Directors may include senior managers of these firms or funds. Gartner research is produced independently by its research organization without input or influence from these firms, funds or their managers. For further information on the independence and integrity of Gartner research, see Guiding Principles on Independence and Objectivity. Page 10 of 10 Gartner, Inc. G

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