By 2025, there will be 100 billion connections, 6.5 billion Internet users, and eight billion smartphones around the world, according to estimates from Huawei. Such a fully connected world will require reconstructing communication networks as we’ve known them. Increasing numbers of operators today are laying the groundwork for the overhaul with network functions virtualization (NFV).
A new paper from Huawei looks at how NFV is driving the transformation of communication networks. The paper highlights operators who already are using NFV to shift the core network toward a robust, cloud-based model, and it looks at how NFV development will shape the core network of the future.
The pace of NFV development is increasing rapidly as NFV deployments prove their value in terms of new revenue and cost savings. Consulting firm IHS Infonetics found 35 percent of telecom operators planned to deploy NFV in 2015, and it forecast the global NFV hardware, software, and services market would increase more than tenfold to $11.6 billion in 2019 from $0.95 billion in 2014.
Leading operators also are bringing NFV to Long-Term Evolution (LTE) networks, another innovation designed to enhance efficiency and reduce costs. By the end of 2015, it is estimated around 460 LTE networks will serve more than 100 million voice over LTE (VoLTE) subscribers, and more than half of these VoLTE networks will use NFV.
As operators find ways to achieve the scale and flexibility a fully connected world requires, their networks must continue to provide carrier-class services and open architectures. The paper highlights Huawei’s CloudCore NFV solution, which uses an advanced cloud-based software architecture design that ensures 99.999 percent carrier-class reliability for NFV. The paper offers real-world examples of how CloudCore NFV provides:
- Cloud-based architecture to reduce opex
- Flexible and convenient network capabilities
- Improved ability for telecom operators to support industry-specific markets
NFV can help providers lay the groundwork for networks with ultra-high bandwidth, ultra-low latency, big data, context-based policy control, network slices, and layered and distributed deployment.