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Benu Networks Upgrades BNG: SASE and 5G AGF Additions Bring Cloud-Native Edge to a Carrier Near You
by Ron Westfall | March 24, 2021

The News: Benu Networks upgrades BNG, designed to bring new Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) and 5G Wireless Wireline Convergence (WWC) capabilities to operator and carrier networks, dedicated to simplifying the provider edge. With this release, carriers are better able to optimize network performance and scale, rapidly deploy SASE services to subscribers, and deliver a unified experience across fixed and mobile networks. Read the Benu Networks announcement here.

Benu Networks Upgrades BNG: New SASE and 5G AGF Capabilities Dramatically Up SD-Edge Game

Analyst Take: Benu Networks upgrades BNG, bringing integration of SASE and 5G Access Gateway Function (AGF) capabilities to its Virtual Broadband Network Gateway (vBNG) fulfills the burgeoning carrier demand for cloud-native edge solutions. Now carriers can swiftly deploy SASE services to their subscribers and provide a unified experience across both mobile and fixed network environments, enabling network performance optimization and breakthrough scaling flexibility.

The COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns fueled skyrocketing bandwidth demand across networks globally, driven by massive shifts to work-from-home (WFH) distributed workforce and remote learning models, as well as substantial uptake of immersive entertainment video streaming and burgeoning 5G network builds.

As a result, carriers are prioritizing network investments that boost scaling agility and optimized user experience while reducing network and operational costs. In particular, I see carriers expanding their interest and adoption of SASE to increase revenues and boost customer retention as organizations are expanding mandates that network-wide policies executed across their headquarters and branch offices in areas such as security and QoS are flexibly implemented to the growing WFH workforce.

Carriers are investing heavily in their 5G networks and this includes bringing the 5G experience to fixed networks in 5G WWC environments, including network slicing, low-latency applications, and managed IoT and fixed wireless access (FWA) services. Currently carrier wireless and wireless infrastructures are served by disparate aggregation and core networks, using distinct control plane, user plane, authentication, and service delivery functions.

Industry standards bodies such as 3GPP and BBF are developing specifications that define the systems and services required to support WWC architectures interworking with 5G. As such, I anticipate adoption of standardized WWC technology, such as Benu’s vBNG/BGN can result in significant operational expenditure (OpEx) and capital expenditure (CapEx) savings.

The support of 5G AGF enables Benu to use the cloud-native microservices methodologies and container-based deployment approaches that are key to managing fixed line subscribers from 5G cores and across disaggregated networks which scale control and user planes separately. Through cloud-native scaling and streamlined operations, Benu’s BNG portfolio delivers the automation fabric, scale-out capabilities, and standard-based approach critical to optimizing the user experience and costs simultaneously, especially throughout SASE and WWC implementations.

The Logic Behind This Move from Benu — a Clear Differentiator and Market Advantage

Benu needed to unveil BNG support for new SASE and 5G WWC capabilities to augment its networking software SD-Edge Platform, developed to disaggregate hardware from software and control plane from user plane. The SD-Edge Platform meets fast-growing carrier demand to migrate their networks from proprietary networking solutions that limit hardware/software interworking flexibility to open source white box networking solutions that use independent control planes to assure multi-vendor and user plane agility.

I see Benu Networks’ support of SD-defined SASE services, designed to run inside the carrier network, as a clear differentiator by providing carriers the comprehensive control and ability to run organization-wide security across business sites, branch offices, and the distributed WFH workforce under a unified policy. Through Benu’s implementation of SASE at the service edge, carriers avoid VPN clients, use existing WiFi access points (APs), avoid low performance tunnels, and support all devices across the organization’s distributed network.

Moreover, Benu offers the combination of SASE with SD-LAN enabling 5G-like services for fixed connections, device-level network slicing, and streamlined CPE management. In tandem, Benu’s SD-Edge Platform and vBNG/BNG solutions provide the WWC capabilities required to unify the use experience across fixed and mobile implementations, assuring consistent treatment of business traffic through application prioritization, holistic security policies, and enterprise analytics.

I anticipate the integration of SASE and 5G ACF capabilities will bolster Benu’s differentiation against key broadband network gateway (BNG) rivals such as Nokia (7750 SR/VSR), Juniper (MX series URP/Junos OS), Cisco (ASR 9K series), and Huawei. For example, I see Benu already attaining a time to market advantage in the support of standardized WWC and 5G AGF functions, boosting mind share and potential market share gains in the cloud-native carrier edge realm.

Benu Networks BNG Upgrades: Key Takeaways

CSP demand for secure networks and solutions that deploy across converged networks is burgeoning as work-from-home (WFH), remote learning, and the rapid growth of 5G are escalating network demands and introducing new security challenges. I see the new BNG upgrades as enabling Benu Networks to power the SD-Edge, integrating SASE security and 5G capabilities as championed by the topmost influential standard forums. By architecting its products in adherence to the standards set by the MEF, BBF, 3GPP, and others, it ensures Benu’s vBNG/BNG solutions are engineered to optimize WWC by simplifying disaggregated, software-defined edge environments.

Overall, I expect the upgraded Benu BNG solution with new integrated SASE and WWC capabilities to deliver the portfolio differentiation and capabilities needed to help power carrier customer acquisition and retention by delivering consistent and unmatched user experience across fixed and wireless environments, improve revenues and margins through SD-SASE, and streamline operations with elastic scaling and management & configuration ease.

Futurum Research provides industry research and analysis. These columns are for educational purposes only and should not be considered in any way investment advice.

Other insights from Futurum Research:

MEF SASE Services: MEF Enlarges MEF 3.0 to Define SASE Services, Dramatically Boosting SASE Cause

Cisco Catalyst Portfolio Expansion: New Products Bring 5G and SASE to the WAN Edge

Juniper Acquires 128 Technology to Swiftly Differentiate its SD-WAN Portfolio but Must Prove Market Readiness

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