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The Importance of Network Function Virtualization for Operators

NFV offers a new method of building complex IT applications. It helps in decoupling the network functionalities from the proprietary hardware devices, to run in software. It aids in virtualizing the whole class of functions into building blocks that can be chained, connected to create different services. It applies to different control plane functions as well as data plane processing in both wireless and wired settings.

The key features

Orchestration and service chaining are the two crucial aspects of NFV. In service chaining, various virtualized network functions are used in a sequence in building more complex services. For supporting several VNFs NFV needs, the network to be capable of instantiating VNF instances, repair them, monitor them and then bill for the rendered services. The orchestration layer is used for complex tasks; thus, they ought to be capable of managing all the VNFs regardless of the used technology in the VNF.

The Main NFV Values

NFV virtualization of the network services through software will make network operators reduce the costs of buildings networks through supporting the pay-as-you-grow model in eliminating extravagant overprovisioning; it helps in lowering the operations costs through reducing network services management and equipment requirements and accelerating time-to-market through allowing simple trials and evolving services in determining the best practices.

The Connection with Software Defined Network (SDN)

NFV is very complimentary to SDN though not dependent on it. The goals of NFV can be achieved through non-SDN techniques. NFV is capable of supporting SDN by offering the infrastructure that can be used in running SDN software. Additionally, NFV supports SDN objectives to use commodity switches and servers. NFV is particularly applicable in the service provider and telecommunications industries.

The above-highlighted advantages can be achieved after NFV is adopted throughout the industry. Industry professionals predict the fact that NFV has a very long way to go before it is a reality. It faces a diverse range of challenges like business model challenges, security issues, technical challenges, industry-wide adoption and network stability concerns. Therefore, although the NFV future is not clear, there have been several use cases of NFV.

Several VFNs share physical hardware in the form of virtual machines. Extra hardware pooling leads to an agile and massive sharing of NFVI resources. Most of the enterprises today are following ineffective methods in deploying different services at the branch offices. Faced with the many security issues, most of the enterprises are searching for outsourced options. Operators can offer their VFNs like services to such enterprises allowing them to virtualize their Access router and other operators’ network elements.

Operators can make s suite of applications and infrastructure like platforms on which different enterprises can deploy network apps. With such a platform, the enterprise can develop network services depending on business needs. Network elements like Mobile Core Network, mobile base station, IMS and home environment are the best candidates for virtualization. Consolidation of the features on one hardware pool can assist in reducing Total Cost of Ownership.

As time goes by, it is expected that NFV will show how it can enhance the telecom industry or revolutionize mobile networking through increased performance and efficiency, provide elasticity and cost-saving, and create newer business models.

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