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Nokia IP/Optical Networks promote Nokia's global leadership in IP and optical networking; providing networks that are scalable, flexible, fast and made for service providers in the cloud era. Telecom Review spoke to Zouheir Naciri, Head of Regional Business Center (RBC), ION, MEA, Nokia, who discussed his role with us, as well as Nokia's strategy in the cloud era, the benefits of Nokia's acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent and how Nokia is assisting with the challenges operators are facing in IP/Optical Networks.

Can you tell us about Nokia's IP/Optical Networks portfolio?
Nokia's IP/Optical Networks business group helps any organization with carrier-grade needs to meet the challenges of evolving their network infrastructure. Our comprehensive portfolio of IP and optical networking solutions addresses all major applications including mobile packet core and transport. Our innovations in software-defined networking, virtualization and video are enabling networks to respond faster and deliver more value to our customers than ever before.

What details can you share about your role as head of IP/Optical Networks in MEA covering all the Regional Business Center (RBC) activities in the market?
The role of Head of IP and Optics Networks in MEA is to enable strategic solutions, bridging technologies and ensuring that our customers develop state-of-the-art wireline network infrastructures. Nokia IP and Optics portfolio is very wide and comprehensive; hence the aggregation of all strategies, integration of defined tailored solutions and offering customization is a very challenging but extremely interesting and motivating experience. In IP/ON RBC, we thoroughly understand our customers' needs, engaging with them in rich and quality dialogs. Then together with our business development leaders, we ensure the right engineering solutions and a smooth delivery through our well-defined ION Customer Delivery processes and practices.

Can you elaborate on your responsibility for ION Customer Delivery Operations in the region in accordance with Customer Delivery scope?
As the world around us evolves fast, so does our IP and Optics product portfolio for which our services are constantly evolving, morphing into unique best-in-class delivery structures. In this context, the IP and Optics network Customer Delivery Operations structure sits with the MEA regional geographical cluster distribution strategy of Nokia Customer Delivery. Even though IP and Optics are fundamentally different technologies, they complement each other well. Our well-defined organizational structure ensures that all delivery elements (solution architecture, network design, customer engineering, field network operations services, etc) are properly addressed and managed for our customers. Quality and professionalism remain our key guidelines in ensuring customer satisfaction for our IP and Optics delivery services, constantly contributing to maintaining our well-known reputation in the market.

What is Nokia's strategy to provide networks that are scalable, flexible, fast and made for service providers in the cloud era?
Nokia IP/Optical Networks is investing heavily in the massively scalable systems, software and services to build the dynamic, high-performance IP and optical networks that provide universal connectivity to the cloud. A few notable examples include:

Virtualization: Our aggressive, early investment provides performance leadership more than four times greater than competitors as measured by EANTC, an independent laboratory. We offer solutions for mobile network operators across all key elements of the NFV with a full IP services portfolio spanning residential, business and mobile packet core applications. All functions use the same software independent of implementation in x86 servers or dedicated hardware, allowing operators to deploy the appropriate mix and match of virtual and physical functions that best meet their needs at different points in their networks. Nokia started virtualizing key mobile networking functions and enabling them for the cloud. That includes Evolved Packet Core (EPC) and IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS).

Software Defined Networks: Our internal SDN start-up, Nuage Networks, is a leader in datacenter automation and SD-WAN. Combined with our Carrier SDN offer, the Network Services Platform, we offer a complete, end-to-end SDN solution from datacenters to CPE and spanning multi-layer IP and Optical wide area networks.

What benefits will Nokia's acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent bring to the table for Nokia's IP/Optical Networks?
This is a good evolution for Nokia. ION, which is primarily comprised of the former Alcatel-Lucent technology, brings extensive experience in building big IP and optical networks that our customers can rely on. The combined companies present an incredible opportunity to create a true powerhouse of networking at a time of profound global technology change, with 5G clearly on the horizon. It has brought together the two companies to generate new opportunities in geographical reach and portfolio application, with two incredible R&D engines capable of phenomenal innovations.

The acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent has brought to the table a flourishing business which holds global #2 market share in Service Provider Edge Routers and Optical Transport, reflecting continuous investment and a heritage of innovation. With this, Nokia is the one that now has the most advanced IP and optical technology in the market. Recent breakthroughs include the Photonic Service Engine 2 (PSE-2) silicon and its establishment of a new industry benchmark for 100G and beyond optical capacity, distance and flexibility. We announced the dual carrier, 200-Gbit/s PM-QPSK super-channel designs that can also operate at 400 Gbit/s using a shorter optical reach PM-16QAM modulation.

Moreover, Orange's network is now the first commercial deployment of a 400-Gbit/s super channel that uses the Nokia 400G Photonic Service Engine (PSE). In the IP market, our new core router, the 7950 Extensible Routing System, has now been shipped in more than 1,000 units to over 55 customers including eight of the world's 10 largest service providers.

What are the challenges operators are facing in IP/Optical Networks and how will you help them overcome them?
The shift to cloud-based applications and IoT is putting tremendous pressure on our customers' business models and networks. They are responding by scaling their networks bigger and faster to meet their customers' needs. Operators have now started using dynamic cloud technologies to manage and allocate their network resources faster and more easily, launch new services more quickly and enable on-demand consumption - all at a lower cost per bit which means network infrastructure evolving quickly for the cloud, IoT and soon, 5G. With our heritage of continuous technology and product innovation, customers can be confident in our long-term commitment to their success.

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