[Chengdu, China, June 26, 2014]: The Sichuan Branch of China United Network Communications Group Co., Ltd. (Sichuan Unicom for short) and Huawei, a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider, today announced that the world's first commercial software-defined networking-based IP radio access network (SDN IPRAN) has been deployed in Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan province in Southwest China. This is the first time SDN technology has been applied to IPRAN network, further promoting the commercialization of SDNs, guided by Huawei’s SoftCOM strategy.
With LTE licenses already issued in China, LTE network construction is in full swing. With LTE, network scale increases geometrically, various new services are launched, and customers have higher requirements on service quality. Supporting rapid future LTE service innovation, effectively operating LTE networks and improving service quality are becoming major challenges for carriers.
To cope with these challenges, Sichuan Unicom has a transformation strategy of "one core and four centers" in 2014. The one core is big data, and the four centers are high service, high operations and maintenance (O&M), flexible billing, and big traffic. The high O&M center adopts a platform-based strategy to reach a goal of reducing O&M costs, improving customer experience, and satisfying customer demands, providing better services and leading technologies. Recently, SDN technology has become an industrial focus because of its special value in network O&M, user experience improvement, and service innovation. SDN technology can effectively serve as the platform-based strategy for Sichuan Unicom’s High O&M center, thus enhancing the competitiveness of its LTE services. The application of SDN technology on the IPRAN simplifies network O&M and implements service quality visualization, which helps build a high-quality packet bearer network for wireless services. The SDN technology excites IP network vitality and restructures the IPRAN.
During the commercial deployment of Sichuan Unicom’s SDN IPRAN, deployment and service provisioning efficiency increased by 60% compared with traditional networks. Virtual management of large volumes of end devices significantly reduces the network management scale and improves O&M efficiency. The control plane is decoupled from the forwarding plane, thus implementing new service provisioning regardless of forwarding devices. This significantly shortens LTE service go-to-market periods and helps respond to market requirements quickly and supports new LTE service development and rapid future innovation. The IP Flow Performance Measurement (IP FPM) technology provides real-time service performance measuring per service per user, with precision reaching 10-6. This makes network performance visible, assessable, and predictable, helping carriers locate specific network performance bottlenecks. The successfully deployed SDN IPRAN provides a manageable, visible, and scalable O&M platform for large-scale seamless coverage of mobile communications networks and becomes a key for Sichuan Unicom to build a "UMTS+LTE" network with the optimal network coverage and user experience.
"We are glad to cooperate with Huawei in the SDN IPRAN field and successfully commercialize the SDN IPRAN. We expect these innovations to improve network operation efficiency, promote rapid innovative service delivery and go-to-market, further improve user experience in UMTS/LTE services, and create more value for our customers," said Mr. Qiao Guiping, general manager of Sichuan Unicom.
"Huawei has extensive and successful collaboration with China Unicom in many fields," said Mr. Zha Jun, president of Huawei's fixed network product line. "The first commercial deployment of the SDN IPRAN supports the implementation of Sichuan Unicom's High O&M strategy and becomes an important milestone in the industry. Huawei is ready for closed cooperation with customers in the end-to-end SDN industry chain covering technologies, standards, applications, products, and solutions, with the end goal of promoting the healthy development of the industry chain."
The commercial deployment of SDN has proven Huawei's leadership in the field. Huawei is committed to developing migration-friendly and future-ready SDN architectures, leading SDN commercialization and empowering the maturity of the SDN technology in domains such as mobile backhaul, data centers, backbone networks, and metro networks. Huawei will continue to promote SDN commercialization to help carriers excel in the SDN era.