NFV Could Be Your New Broadband BFF

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NFV Could Be Your New Broadband BFF

NFV Could Be Your New Broadband BFF

Network equipment has followed same model since manufactures have produced equipment.  The model of proprietary software running on proprietary hardware. The size of the hardware has significantly decreased, but the model has stayed relatively the same. Network Function Virtualization along with open hardware and open source software could be your new BFF, changing how you deploy network functions.

We are going to focus on the NFV portion of network transformation and save the open hardware and open source discussion for another article.

Why NFV?

NFV, or Network Function Virtualization, allows network services such as routers, firewalls, and load balancers to be run virtually. This also means that these services can be run on standard hardware instead of dedicated, proprietary hardware. The NFV does not necessarily mean open source software but it does mean the service or application can be run inside a virtualized host. This gives providers the flexibility to run network functions inside of server hardware. Moving the control function to a server allows for increased scalability and redundancy. A telco-grade server system can provide N:1 redundancy and allow for all NFV to operate with high availability and scale as required.

NFV Architecture

It goes like this; Virtualized Network Functions (VNFs) are software applications that deliver network functions such as routing, firewalls, session border controller and even class 5/4 voice switches These applications run on the Network Function Virtualization Infrastructure (NFVi) (think EXSI/KVM clusters) which consists of the infrastructure components used for compute, storage, and network on a platform or container management platform that is needed to support the software and run network apps.

Running a lot of applications or servers without a centralized network system could be a little daunting, so the NFV framework is created called the Management, Automation and Network Orchestration (MANO) framework. The MANO framework provides a management framework for vendors to follow to allow management of the NFV applications and the NFV infrastructure provide the hardware resources. MANO framework ties all the pieces together to create the operating system.

What Does NFV Mean for Me?

There are multiple ways NFV impacts you as a broadband provider. The first is that switching to NFV could reduce costs in purchasing network equipment via migration to software-based applications and standard hardware. The application model allows a better pay as you grow model because additional NFVi systems can be added to increase hardware capacity and software licenses can be modified to support additional capacity. NFV can also be more efficient in space, power, and cooling than standard systems. The computer systems for your NFV system could handle your BRAS, Core Router, SBC and Softswitch all in the same redundant hardware stack. NFV also has a faster time to deployment, increasing your agility. NFV also has an elastic scale up and scale down of capacity, increasing flexibility and scalability. Finally, NFV allows you to access a broad independent software community, including open source, which means you can say goodbye to having to use proprietary hardware or software.

All networks are different and NFV may or may not be a great fit for your network. The reality is most network functions can be done software, so understanding how NFV works in your network is very important.

Where to Start

Ready for a major infostructure/software change or interested in an NFV evaluation? Let the broadband network infrastructure experts at KLJ help. We have proven experience providing broadband solutions to all kinds of providers, and our team of experts is ready to help you. To get started, contact Jeremy Larson at 303-661-7520 or