Microsoft's Grab of Affirmed Networks Boosts 5G Mobile Wares
Microsoft is buying Affirmed Networks to boost its software-defined networking (SDN) support, particularly for mobile operators.
The move comes as 5G next-generation wireless technologies are being rolled out in initial stages. The announcement characterized the SDN approaches offered by Affirmed Networks as being more flexible than hardware solutions used by mobile operators.
"Previous generations of wireless networks have been based on purpose-built hardware," Microsoft said. "We believe that with innovation in software and by making use of broadly available cloud computing platforms like Microsoft Azure, operators can deploy and maintain 5G networks and services more efficiently, more cost effectively, more rapidly and more securely."
Affirmed Networks' Web site says it has deployed more than 100 cloud-based solutions for mobile operators in 76 countries. Customers include AT&T, Orange and Vodafone.
Company President and CEO Anand Krishnamurthy suggested in an announcement that the partnership with Microsoft would accelerate the use of its cloud-native solutions by 5G mobile operators.
"We have been their partner of choice as they prepare for fifth generation (5G) networks and infrastructure," Krishnamurthy wrote regarding mobile operators. "Now, the combined technologies of Microsoft and Affirmed will further accelerate this momentous shift."
Affirmed Networks offers a number of software-defined, cloud-based solutions for mobile operators. A main offering is its Virtual Evolved Packet Core technologies, which are used for delivering various services, including "consumer, IoT, private LTE, Wi-Fi, GiLAN, VoLTE, CUPs, fixed wireless, edge compute and 5G services."
The company also offers Affirmed UnityCloud 5G Core technologies for automating network functions. Its Affirmed Cloud Edge technologies let enterprises host applications and keep the data locally stored. Other Affirmed Networks offerings for mobile operators include:
Microsoft's announcement suggested that it would continue to support existing mobile operators and partners with the acquisition of Affirmed Networks.
"To ensure the success of our customers, we will work closely with existing suppliers, emerging innovators and other stakeholders around the world including in Europe, Asia, the U.S. and other markets to help make this vision [of 5G connectivity] a reality," Microsoft said.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.