What is Network Function Virtualization (NFV)?

Network Function Virtualization (or NFV) is a process which decouples network functions from proprietary hardware appliances. This decoupling allows the network functions to run in software that’s on standardized hardware instead. Functions that may be a part of the NFV processes include:

  • Firewall
  • Intrusion prevention and other security functions
  • Deep packet inspection

The end result of network function virtualization is always the same: the functions in question are transformed into virtual network functions (or VNF). Once this occurs, anybody running software on standardized computer nodes and install, control, and manipulate them. Combined with powerful virtualization and cloud technologies, these capabilities enable industry experts to rapidly develop new network services.

These network services are often much better than their predecessors, too. They’re already primed for elasticity when it comes to scale and automation– two key factors driving many corporations’ business efforts. That means improved usability for anybody who wants it and a quicker path to profitability for the same companies who pay for digital services every month.

Those looking to understand NFV will be well-served by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute’s succinct position on its purpose. ETSI states that the ultimate goal of NFV is to transform the architecture of networks. This is accomplished through the evolution of standard IT virtualization technology with the overall aim to consolidate equipment types onto industry-standard hardware.

Where did the concept of NFV originate?

Some years ago, forward-thinking service providers began to realize that new network function and application additions often weren’t very effective. They sought to make a traditionally slow and aggravating process quicker and simpler.

It was only a matter of time before experts came to the realization that it was the hardware-based appliances which were responsible for creating absurd constraints. From here, they worked quickly to start leveraging standard IT virtualization know-how and technologies to network.

The Benefits of NFV

Increased agility

So much of NFV is built around simplifying complex processes and making functions easier to use. The best way to sum all of it up is in one word, and that’s agility. NFVs offer service providers the freedom to do away with the bottlenecks that plague manual processes; they’re also flexible enough that brand new services can be deployed on demand.

In a world where consumers are growing ever more impatient, this agility is key. Service providers can now deliver their services quicker and more cost-effectively, which means it’s easy to adapt to consumer needs and keep pace with change.

Using resources more efficiently

Whether it’s energy or physical space, it’s easier for service providers to take advantage of the resources they have access to when they opt for NVF. Less hardware means increased physical space for other things– expanded workspaces or replacements of outdated tech are always good ways to use free square footage.

Even the most basic of NFV also contributes to reduced power consumption rates. With so many companies shifting to adopt eco-friendly practices and messaging, this can make for an excellent highlight in marketing materials. Lower power consumption is good for brand image, profitability, and the environment; it’s tough to argue with that.

How Intraway Can Help

Have questions about the network function virtualization process? We hear you. Let’s talk. With over 22 million end consumers served in countries around the globe, we have the knowledge it takes to support and empower CSPs to provide the best service. We’re on a mission to unleash the full potential of networks– and that means we’re vested in your success.

Get in touch with us to learn more about the latest, cutting-edge functionalities you should be leveraging. We’re ready to transform the landscape of the traditional operator/vendor relationship. Are you?

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