Telefónica to embrace SDN and NFV with UNICA network initiative

The mobile operator plans to revamp its network infrastructure to embrace more virtualisation technologies and bring more efficiency to its backhaul.

Telefónica has announced a new project named UNICA to virtualise its network infrastructure.

The mobile operator – which operates as O2 in the UK – announced the plans at this week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, promising the improvements will enable it to design and deploy platforms and services faster and “extremely efficiently.”

Telefónica has been carrying out proof of concept work with the likes of HP, NSN, Broadsoft, Intel, Cisco and Juniper Networks and announced at MWC a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Huawei to use its products in the roll-out.

The plan is to modernise its network, deploying software defined networking technologies alongside network function virtualisation – two areas both Telefónica and Huawei have participated in when it comes to forming industry standards – as well as using other virtual datacentre solutions.

It will also take advantage of the work it has done with other vendors on standardising interfaces with existing legacy networks and interfaces between data and control layers.

“UNICA is new architecture for infrastructure teams where physical resources become virtual and are provisioned as such” said the operator in a statement. “Thanks to UNICA, Telefónica can address the logical re-grouping of resources needed to deploy a network infrastructure that extract maximum potential from new virtualisation technologies.”

“All this will reduce the time to market and accelerate the deployment of a new generation of services in the coming years, characterised by an overwhelmingly improved level of quality and personalisation given that critical mass will no longer be necessary for implementation.”

Telefónica plans to begin deployment of UNICA in June this year. However, the project will be time consuming, with the firm setting a modest goal of 30% of its new infrastructure to be in line with this new model by 2016.

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