Service providers today face challenges on all fronts when it comes to residential services: Demanding, connected users with multiple devices and continuously updated network environments; downward ARPU pricing pressure; and of course, over-the-top (OTT) players who are only happy to capture service revenues thanks to access infrastructure installed and maintained by the fixed access provider.
A new white paper from Alcatel-Lucent says service providers need a new approach that delivers a service creation platform, one that enables service innovation and provides operational efficiencies. The residential service delivery architecture has barely changed over the years, leaving it unprepared to satisfy today’s consumers using multiple devices and services in their homes. Alcatel-Lucent says virtualizing the functions historically implemented in the operator-provided residential gateway (RGW) is key to improving service innovation and operational efficiencies.
The current way of implementing residential services via the RGW forces providers to support multiple RGW device variants and makes it complicated to provision, troubleshoot, and quickly resolve customer problems. The paper shows that providers should create a virtualized residential gateway (vRGW) architecture by moving specific networking and service functions currently implemented in the RGW into the network cloud.
The paper, “Virtualized Residential Gateway: Driving the Delivery of Enhanced Residential Services,” outlines the main building blocks of the vRGW architecture, highlights key benefits, and describes Alcatel-Lucent’s vRGW solution.
The vRGW architecture consists of a bridged residential gateway, the virtualized residential gateway functions hosted in the network cloud, and management and control systems. The paper highlights the key requirement of each building block and how they need to relate to each other. Together, the evolved architecture creates a flexible service creation platform that enables innovative, value-added services with greater flexibility and faster time to market, as well as benefits including:
- Home visibility: Visibility for devices on the home local LAN for definition of device-specific policies can help enable presence-based services.
- Granular subscriber and device context: Enhanced granularity provides a per-device and user-level context, which makes it possible for per-user, per-device, and per-application policies and management-enabling services.
- Traffic steering: The ability to steer specific traffic flows to the network cloud, which can host value-added network functions, enables enhanced opt-in service options on a per-host basis.
- Home LAN extension: The vRGW architecture is unique in its ability to extend the home LAN towards the service provider’s network to include services in the data center for enabling value-added services, such as cloud-based home media or content storage in the service provider’s network cloud.
Additionally, ‘Residential service lifecycle’ studies conducted by Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs have demonstrated that the vRGW model can deliver operational efficiencies and significant reduction in total cost of ownership (TCO).
Read the white paper to learn more about how virtualizing specific RGW functions can help providers create an enhanced service delivery architecture and give them the edge they need to drive new services and revenues while being cost-effective and efficient.