Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN) will have extensive implications for operators as they progress toward an All-IP networking - as part of their digital transformation strategy. It is paramount that they leverage proven technologies to minimize risks of service disruptions as they adopt new processes - a given for the transformation. Managing new processes and new products concurrently is challenging for everyone and telcos are no different.
The three areas where deployment of SDN and NFV will take place are virtual Customer Premise Equipment (vCPE), telco's data centers (internal), and their public networks. Requirements for each are different and success in one deployment does not equate to success in another environment. Public Networks are much more demanding.
A safer and measured approach is to first virtualize their network and service platform. Start with vCPE and data center and fine-tune processes. Only then move to tackle public network while relying on proven technology.
Some of the areas to consider include:
- Support for third-party Virtualized Network Functions (VNFs)
- A cohesive service offering that combine physical and virtual network elements
- Open APIs for multi-vendor interoperability - Open source is always preferred for more flexibility and extensibility
- Integration with cloud management and orchestration systems (e.g., NFV MANO compliant)
This can minimize the risk as telcos navigate through NFV transformation.
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