What is The Role of Network Functions Virtualization in Telecom?

Baris Yegen, VP Presales

What is NFV in Telecommunication Industry?

As the telecom industry rapidly transforms, mobile operators are seeking ways to prepare for the business demands of the future and increasingly investing in scalable and flexible next generation network infrastructures. Eventually, the service plane will be migrating to NFV/SDN infrastructure with 4G and 5G.
Operators aiming to expand into new business areas need to provide services that go beyond voice and data. They need to embrace new markets and services such as enterprise cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, and Business Intelligence to create novel opportunities for increasing their revenues. They need to transform their IT systems from internal supporting systems to business enabling systems.
NFV stands out as a concept that enables a more agile network infrastructure with reduced costs and increased efficiency. As one of the infrastructural pillars of 5G, network function virtualization lies at the core of the transformation strategies of many communication service providers. Nowadays, operators are increasingly adopting NFV technology and automation in their networks while vendors offer an ever-increasing number of NFV compliant products and applications.
Network functions virtualization (NFV) is a network architecture concept where network appliance hardware is replaced with virtual machines. Within this architecture, network services that have conventionally been run on proprietary hardware are packaged on commodity hardware as virtual machines (VMs). As one of the primary components of the telco cloud, the commodity hardware enables service providers to run their network services on standard servers rather than proprietary hardware. Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) offers service providers a new way to design, deploy, and manage network services and applications. By decoupling the network functions from proprietary hardware appliances, service providers can accelerate the introduction of new services quickly and cost-effectively. NFV enables service providers to reset the cost base of their network operations and create the flexible service delivery environments they need to drive revenue and reduce costs.
Simply put, NFV decouples and moves network functions to virtual servers, eliminating the need for having dedicated hardware for each network function. This results in enhanced scalability and agility, which translates into accelerated service deployment for network operators.

How Does Network Function Virtualization Work?

NFV utilizes conventional IT virtualization techniques on commodity hardware (compute, storage, and networking) to consolidate network applications onto industrial high-volume servers and storage. Basically, Telco & IT network functions including core network, access network, and value-added services are performed by software components rather than conventional hardware components. This approach allows service providers to reduce their costs and benefit from the innovation dynamics of conventional IT.
NFV adoption starts with running network applications on common off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware and virtualization. The following stages include automated elasticity (ability to scale in and out dynamically) and centralized management of infrastructure, resources, and applications.
With NFV, the virtualized network functions can be run on a single server, allowing the consolidation of resources. Reducing the dependency on dedicated hardware appliances, NFV enables service providers to deliver new network services and applications faster and without the requirement of additional hardware resources. With improved scalability and customization across the entire network, NFV offers a flexible, highly automatable, and modular network architecture where VMs can be utilized dynamically. This way, network operators can also test the value of new services with reduced risks.

What are the Advantages of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) in Telecom?

Unlike conventional hardware-based networks where devices are manually configured, NFV reduces the need for dedicated hardware by utilizing software that can be managed from anywhere within the service provider’s network. It thus enables time, space, and energy savings, as well as hardware and maintenance cost savings while rendering network upgrades easier.
Among the major advantages of NFV is the fact that network functionality can be changed on demand since it runs on easily managed VMs. The capacity can be flexibly scaled up and down. This results in shorter time-to-market for new or updated products, as well as greater resource efficiency. While reducing or maintaining the requirements associated with power consumption and cooling, this architecture enhances workload capacity. In other words, network operators can accomplish more with less.
The agility enabled by NFV also provides a significant advantage to service providers as they can quickly adapt to changing demands or market conditions and seize new opportunities.

The Benefits of Fully Virtualized Telenity NFV Applications

Recent advances in hardware, virtualization, cloud technologies, and new network models such as NFV/SDN have created new opportunities for consolidating multiple products and services on a single platform.
Building on top of a virtualized infrastructure that utilizes common off-the-shelf (COTS) components, and shared industry-standard media and signaling servers, Telenity Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) enable a bottom-up transformation of mobile operator services. Eliminating the dependency on specialized network appliances, the Telenity platform delivers a flexible and cost-effective environment based on an NFV-ready design paradigm.
The benefits of fully virtualized Telenity NFV applications can be summarized as:
  • Faster time-to-market
  • On-demand scaling/descaling
  • Improved OPEX and CAPEX
  • Simplified integration and optimized daily operations
  • Configuration-driven integration of operation and maintenance functions
As an established and proactive player in the NFV and 5G domains, Telenity supports communication service providers in their digital transformation. Its overarching goal is to become the preferred partner and NFV applications supplier for innovative VAS Consolidation, Digital BSS, and RCS Business Messaging solutions for communication service providers. With Telenity’s market-proven software products, operators significantly improve the operational efficiency of their service offerings and seamlessly migrate them to Virtual Network Functions.

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