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Juniper Networks has released new software and services it said lay the foundation of its software-defined network (SDN) play for mobile service providers.

The new services and software have been designed to bring the benefits of elasticity and “increased service velocity” and lower OPEX costs to the mobile service provider space, which vendors claim is battling with today’s network demands.

Huawei said it is also investing in the development of SDN products for the telecommunications space as part of its SoftCOM strategy as it prepares for a predicted rise in demand for SDN products in the space.

Juniper Networks software solutions division executive VP Bob Muglia said Juniper is releasing two products focused on the space that will begin what he called a four-step plan for mobile service providers wanting to add SDN capabilities.

“Mobile networks are perfectly suited to benefit from Juniper Network’s SDN approach,” Muglia said.

“Exponential mobile data usage coupled with an increasingly wide array of multi-media smartphones and tablets put enormous demands on high-performance networking.”

Juniper has identified four steps required for moving to a true SDN but said its first releases for mobile operators concentrate on the first two of these: centralized network management and the extraction of the network and security services from the underlying hardware.

It is offering the Junos Space Services Activation Director in the first half of this year for the centralized management approach.

The application allows service providers to provision thousands of seamless services, including multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) and Carrier Ethernet for mobile backhaul.

Step two – the JunosV App Engine – is already available with Mobile Control Gateway (virtual MCG, which was developed with Hitachi) which allows signaling and control functions for LTE, 3G and 2G radio access networks.

It essentially allows for the centralized development, provisioning and management of Juniper and third-party networks.

“As a virtualized network function, mobile operators can rapidly scale up and down capacity to meet variable demand requirements,” Juniper said.

Results collected by ACG Research has shown that mobile operators have the ability to accelerate deployment time by as much as 46% and reduce deployment cost by as much as 61% when using virtualized appliance in comparison to physical.

“With mobile traffic growth exploding, operators need a virtualized Mobile Packet Core for scaling capacity up and down to both increase service velocity and control costs,” ACG Research managing partner Dr Ray Mota said.

“The virtual MCG provides incremental capacity additions in 87% less time, enabling operators to address the volatility of mobile control plane traffic driven by smartphones and smartphones apps.”