Having selected Ericsson as its Network Function Virtualisation partner, Vodafone Egypt has gone live with the first commercial virtual network function in the Middle East. Since October 2016, Ericsson’s virtual Serving GPRS Support Node – Mobility Management Entity or SGSN-MME, has been serving and managing commercial mobile broadband traffic on the Vodafone Egypt network.
The Serving GPRS Support Node, Mobility Management Entity is a network management tool designed to support packet-data switching as well as improve session and mobility management.
The Ericsson virtual SGSN-MME supports multi-access technologies such as GSM, WCDMA and LTE, and interworks with Wi-Fi. It provides full feature parity, and is agnostic to the underlying cloud system with support for both Open stack and VMware. Based on the leading Ericsson pooling concept, Vodafone Egypt network runs using a combination of virtual and native SGSN-MME in the same pool, supporting efficient capacity expansion.
Ericsson has experience in the deployment and operation of commercial LTE-EPC networks, having built and operated more than 300 networks worldwide that include either a native or virtual SGSN-MME. Evolved Packet Core is a framework for providing converged voice and data on a 4G Long-Term Evolution network.
This technology is continuously evolving to incorporate new functionalities, creating new business opportunities for operators and reducing costs. The Ericsson SGSN-MME network capabilities meet aggressive traffic growth predictions. It provides scalability and capacity so that operators can optimise their operations and manage increasing volume of traffic from mobile broadband.
Osama Said, Vodafone Egypt Technology Director, says: “We are happy to be working with Ericsson to take forward steps towards our Network Function Virtualisation. The virtualisation technology will enhance the speed and efficiency of services we provide to our customers. which will in turn support our main goal to reach customer satisfaction. We are excited to continue working on this Core Network Technology Evolution with the support of Ericsson.”
Rafiah Ibrahim, Head of Region Middle East and East Africa at Ericsson, says: “Utilising the virtual SGSN technology will be the first step in Vodafone Egypt’s journey towards virtualisation and cloud transformation. Operators are looking for ways to increase capacity and achieve efficiencies; today’s agreement will enable Vodafone Egypt to achieve these goals.”