Telco Systems signed a multi-year development agreement with ARM to create new ARM-compatible universal customer premises equipment (uCPE) to work with its NFVTime offering. Telco Systems’ NFVTime platform can already run on uCPE hardware that supports both Intel x86 and ARM architectures.
NFVTime includes an operating system and a marketplace of virtual network functions (VNFs) from third-party vendors. The portfolio of certified VNFs in its marketplace includes SD-WAN, vFirewall, vProbe, and vSecurity.
Now, in coordination with ARM, Telco Systems will lead the multi-year development program for uCPE devices, specifically those based on NXP, Marvell, and Cavium system-on-chips (SoCs).
With ARM, NXP, Marvell, and Cavium, Telco Systems is focusing on the development of performance acceleration, containerization of VNFs, and cybersecurity. These development efforts will also serve as the foundation for future ARM-based edge compute and IoT solutions.
Ariel Efrati, CEO at Telco Systems, said its uCPE for NFVTime is usually deployed at the customer premises or at some other edge location such as wireless base stations. “That’s the complexity as opposed to data centers,” said Efrati. “A distributed cloud service is more distant, and you have to have a lot of capabilities to run that. To make sure in terms of security no one can hack it. Usually power and cooling is not in abundance. All these things, and monitoring in the devices, have to be embedded within the operating system.”
Boosting the capabilities of its ARM-based uCPE will make it easier for third-party VNF vendors and for white box manufacturers to work with Telco Systems. And Efrati said, “Service providers have the liberty to change from one architecture to another.”
ARM is a leader in mobile phone chips. But it has stated that it wants to expand its business into servers and networking infrastructure.
Bob Monkman, director of software strategy for network infrastructure at ARM, told SDxCentral recently that the company’s IP provides improved performance per watt (PPW) and performance per area (PPA). “We can lay down cores in a much smaller area and pack more cores into a same-size die,” he said. “The amount of compute you can do in a physical space is greater, typically twice the density of x86.”
Monkman indicated that in addition to data centers, edge locations such as the telco central office are a target market for ARM. Telco operators have thousands of existing central offices, and they’re building new ones based on software, for example, the Central Office Re-architected as a Data Center (CORD). “We think we can compete in this space,” he said.
Of ARM’s ambitions in networking and servers, Telco Systems’ Efrati said, “We fall into the networking place.”