Achievement Award

Commercial Deployment of NFV Technology Enabling Multi-vendor EPC Software

Hiroyuki Oto, Yasuyuki Uchiyama, Kazuaki Obana

  The exploding popularity of smartphones is driving continued growth in mobile data traffic. Businesses from different industries are choosing mobile networks as a means of providing their services, such as SNS, video streaming, e-commerce and smart meters. As the era of 5G and IoT looks set to begin, these trends are expected to gain further speed. There is a dire need to build a network that is reliable as a disaster-resistant social infrastructure and serves as a communication infrastructure that provides uninterrupted service at reasonable costs, supporting industrial digital innovation. This is the challenge that most mobile operators today are facing. As a solution to this challenge, the award winners have developed Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) technology for telecom carrier commercial networks as shown in Figure 1. NFV is a technology that logically aggregates/partitions hardware resources (CPU/memory/HDD) as resource pools and enables various telecom software applications to run on shared common hardware. NFV technology brings a lot of benefits with it: improvement of service connectivity by automatically adding network resources for increased capacity during congestion; high reliability even at hardware failure by enabling the network to automatically restore redundant operation; rapid service provision without the need for hardware procurement for new service introduction; and CAPEX/OPEX reduction by allowing the utilization of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) servers instead of dedicated hardware .
   The award winners have promoted NFV international standardization at ETSI ISG NFV, contributing to the completion of reference architecture for the management/orchestration of virtual networks and releasing related reports. More than 350 contributions they presented have been approved, contributing greatly to the release of specifications for Stage 2 (8 specs) and Stage 3 (2 specs). At OPNFV (under Linux Foundation), they played a pivotal role as top-level members, driving forward the reference implementation of NFV platforms.
   Toward the adoption of NFV technology for commercial operations, the award winners successfully verified its technical feasibility through proof-of-concept (PoC) trials with individual vendors and a combination of multiple vendors. Then they defined the specifications for NFV implementation in compliance with international standards to run multi-vendor software applications. Finally, they successfully completed the development of the worldfs first NFV technology for commercial services in March 2016 that can run Evolved Packet Core (EPC) software from multiple vendors.
   Their achievement has become the first case of commercial NFV deployment in the NFV market, which is expected to grow annually by about 40-50 percent from 2016 (Signals and System Telecomfs survey report in May 2016; ABI Researchfs media release in May 2017). They have become a role model for innovation at carrier networks. Through the achievements mentioned above, the award winners have made remarkable contributions to the mobile communications community. The outstanding achievements of the award winners make them highly deserving of the Achievement Award.


  1. Khan, Kurebayashi and Obana, gStandardization Trends of Network Function Virtualizationh IEICE Technical Report, vol. 116, no. 146, NS2016-67, pp. 89-92, July 2016.
  2. Oto, Fukae, Uchiyama and Obana,, gApplication of Virtualization Technology to Communications Networksh NTT DOCOMO Technical Journal, Vol.18 No.1@Jul.2016App4-10
  3. Kurebayashi, Khan and Obana, gActivities toward NFV Standardizationh NTT DOCOMO Technical Journal, Vol.18 No.1 Jul.2016, pp11-19
  4. Kamada, Kuno, Tamura and Iwamiya, gPractical Implementation of Virtualization Platforms in the NTT DOCOMO Networkh NTT DOCOMO Technical Journal, Vol.18 No.1@Jul.2016, pp20-28
  5. Okazaki, Kitade and Yoshida, gIntroduction of SDN Technology for Achieving NFVh NTT DOCOMO Technical Journal, Vol.18 No.1@Jul.2016, pp29-35
  6. Ito, Harada, Kikuta and Uchiyama, gA Study of Maintenance and Operation Functions in SDN NW for Delivering On-Demand NW Serviceh, the 2017 IEICE Society Conference B-6-17CSep. 2017
Fig.1 NFV Technology
Fig.1 NFV Technology