Network Function Virtualization (NFV) provides the technology pathway to meet next-generation application needs for mobile cloud adoption. Underpinning this is the virtualization of core infrastructure, such as compute, storage, and networking. Virtualizing key mobile networking functions, such as access networks (4G, LTE, CDMA, non-3GPP Wi-Fi), transport networks (radio access network [RAN], eNodeB, content delivery network [CDN]), and core networks (Evolved Packet Core [EPC]), IP Multimedia Subsystem [IMS], VoLTE), is now reaching a phase where production-level deployments are starting to happen.
There are four key pillars of virtualization that form the basis for NFV. The focus of this paper is how NFV deployment can be achieved, using a “Common Platform” approach across access, transport, and core networks with a high-performance hypervisor for compute-, storage-, and network-level virtualization with an integrated operation management system. The software-based approach to providing logical networking functions, such as switching, routing, firewalling, and load balancing, is discussed.
From an operations perspective, this paper covers how the virtual infrastructure network will scale, provide high availability, deliver carrier-grade characteristics, and support in managing virtual network function (VNF) with operational support systems (OSS) and business support systems (BSS). Finally, the road ahead, with opportunities that need to be researched, is also presented