Virtualise home gateways to cut costs, Bell Labs urges CSPs

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Virtualised home gateways could help operators reduce their overall costs by up to 40 percent, a new report from Bell Labs has claimed.

The research arm of Alcatel-Lucent looked into how residential gateways are a vital means of connectivity, handling increasing levels of data traffic at higher speeds.

It said home visits to resolve gateway issues can account for more than 80 percent of costs.  

Operators could make substantial savings by shifting the likes of IP routing and network address translation, which are handled in the gateway currently, onto the cloud. It said this would ultimately lead users to install, operate and run their home networks in a more efficient way, and benefit from the quicker rollout of new services.

The biggest saving would be in service assurance, however, where costs could be reduced by two-thirds. Bell Labs said as much as 40 percent of issues are related to problems deeper in the network, not in the gateway.

Lifecycle management is also an area that could be made more efficient. While it is a relatively small part of overall costs, a virtualised gateway could reduce lifecycle management costs by up to two-thirds.

Finally, service fulfillment costs could be reduced by an eighth thanks to upgrades and activation being speeded up by remote management.

Sri Reddy, Vice President and General Manager, IP Routing & Software, Alcatel-Lucent said: “As we enter the age of the Gigabit home, and as more personal computers, consumer devices and user gadgets get connected – the digital home network is getting more complex. While costs and complexity are increasing, subscriber growth is stagnating, and average revenue per user is declining steadily.

"By leveraging network function virtualisation we can move this complexity into the network which helps reduce costs for the service provider and complexity for the end user. And both will benefit from faster trouble shooting and rapid service activation.”

Enrique Hernandez-Valencia, Consulting Director, Bell Labs, added:  “While the operating cost savings are essential to sustain profitable growth, having a well thought out VRGW architecture is a prerequisite to enable service providers to seamlessly extend the home network into the cloud.

"This is critical to operationalise the rapid introduction of new features and automate the delivery of new value added services for the home network, without having the necessity to upgrade the customer premises equipment.”