Since 2015, progressive telecom operators started shifting from merely planning and testing virtualized networks for managing network services to implementing them on a large scale. A number of challenges remained, however-ranging from increased competition to razor-thin average revenue per user.
In this context, technologies such as software defined network (SDN) and networks functions virtualization (NFV) have come to the fore.
Managed Cloud Services and NFV
By deploying network virtualization with managed cloud services, operators are able to architect their cloud infrastructure. NFV platforms analyses the operator’s value added services infrastructure to determine their readiness for cloud computing and to identify services that can be transitioned to the cloud.
Moreover, NFV ensures operators migrate seamlessly from a traditional environment to the cloud platform. In the process, they optimize existing applications for better performance and security when moving to the cloud platform.
Once the network elements are migrated to the cloud, NFV creates a back-up with managed cloud services. They assist the operator in managing overall health and performance of their VAS environment. NFV providers offer active monitoring of these elements or VAS applications and manage the operator’s cloud.
Industry’s take on NFV
By 2016, it has been widely accepted in the industry that NFV exemplifies the evolution of network design and holds the key to improving service delivery. It also marks a significant transition from hardware-based networks to software-stipulated networks, giving rise to two different sets of school of thought. One school of thought believes that NFV gives operators a platform to redesign themselves, moving away from being an engineering-led, network focused organizations towards the data-centric businesses. The other school of thought believes that implementing NFV leads to a fundamental change in the way the networks are controlled, which necessitates the need for a completely different approach to network and employee management.
While NFV has been anticipated to be an OPEX-saving move in the long run, operators will need to ration the cost of additional support to cover the initial implementation problems, plus spend on staff training to ensure that the workforce also makes a smooth transition from a physical to virtualized environment.
However, there are some NFV systems that only utilize selected channels without having to replace the entire infrastructure to accommodate network utilization in the existing environment. Such platforms optimize managed services in the operator’s business and take advantage of unique floating license, based on TPS and issued across channels (like SMS, MMS and USSD), which offers tremendous flexibility for distribution across multiple operators in a hub.
A recent study conducted showed a remarkable uptrend of network performance with NFV, going forward. The study pointed out that with the implementation of SDN and NFV technologies, operators will accrue the benefits of business agility to enable flexibility, scalability, automation, and on-demand services.