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China Unicom and ZTE sign cooperation agreement to develop SDN/NFV technology
Announced Date: 3/24/2016 Published Date: 3/30/2016

ZTE announced that that it has entered into a strategic cooperation agreement with China Unicom in the area of software defined network (SDN)/network function virtualisation (NFV).

Under the terms of the agreement, the two parties intend to build on current SDN/NFV network development trends through collaborative innovation, implementation of SDN/NFV applications and the promotion of next-generation network designs to address the evolving requirements of China Unicom's customers as they seek to transform their networks and offer new services.

Last year, China Unicom published the New-Generation Network CUBE-Net 2.0 white paper, which outlined a decoupled network architecture based on dual centres - a user centre and a data centre. The white paper also established the basis for future networks designed to enable enhanced service capabilities and productivity using multi-resource collaboration.

The decoupled architecture is also intended to offer flexible deployment via the dual centre model combined with capabilities such as 3-dimensional decoupling of service functions, logical functions and deployment functions.

China Unicom noted that it has been involved in the development of SDN/NFV technology through initiatives including a voice over LTE (VoLTE) service project based on virtual EPC (vEPC) and virtual IP multimedia subsystem (vIMS) architecture. Sponsored by China Unicom, the NFV proof of concept (PoC) was completed in October 2015. This project served to verify SDN/NFV-based end-to-end VoLTE services and implemented the network as a service (NaaS) concept advocated by China Unicom.

As part of the CUBE-net initiative proposed by China Unicom, supported by the new strategic cooperation agreement between China Unicom and ZTE, the parties will work together leveraging open-source technology, application scenarios, product requirements, service applications and developments in SDN/NFV technologies to explore future network requirements as well as lay a foundation for long-term partnerships.

Specifically, China Unicom and ZTE will work with open-source communities, requirement analysis, solution and product development, test verification/PoC and commercial pilot office deployment for SDN/NFV. In addition, the companies will continue research and propose draft standards and patent applications, jointly apply for and undertake national key research projects, and share achievements in the SDN/NFV field.

Following the SDN/NFV-based network reconstruction strategy for next-generation networks, with the aim of creating an elastic, cloud-based and open network, ZTE has proposed its ElasticNet architecture and solution integrating the cloud and pipe.