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Executive Summary

The telecommunication industry is in the midst of a major transformation both in terms of business models and technology. 

Entirely new markets are being created by significant technology transformation drivers, including:

    •   Virtualization                        

    •   Cloud computing                      

    •   Mobility

    •   Big data analytics   

                                                                                                These drivers are making it easier to assure that communication provide five nines reliability availability, thereby driving network optimization, superior customer service, and new revenue generation.

Programmable networks that move network intelligence into the software layer in turn require a new management and operational approach to support advanced services.                                                

Virtualization of the Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) is a priority for many communication service providers (CSPs) based on our research of ongoing proof-of-concept trials and early deployments of the technology.

The economics of virtualizing the EPC enables CSPs to do the following:

    •   Cost-effectively scale the mobile network

    •   Satisfy increased demand for mobile broadband services

    •   Rapidly introduce new services

This report will explain how virtualization of the EPC creates challenges using traditional measurement and monitoring tools. Physical probes which have been used for more than two decades to monitor critical links in the signaling and data session network are not suitable for assuring voice, video, and data services in the virtualized EPC. Physical probes are also used as the source for analytics applications that support operations, customer care, and marketing groups, all of which increasingly want to use real-time data to improve business outcomes.

 This report will show how integrated virtual probes — virtual probes that are co-located with Virtualized Network Functions (VNFs) — solve the challenges of traditional tools by making it possible to probe geographically distributed VNFs in a scalable, cost-effective manner, without loss of network visibility or performance impacts.