Service providers around the globe are moving toward NFV, which the latest NFV strategies study by IHS Markit bears out.
These carriers believe that NFV and its software-defined networking (SDN) companion are a fundamental change in telecoms network architecture that will deliver benefits in automation; new, more agile services and revenue; operational efficiency; and capex savings.
Many carriers in 2016 are moving from their NFV proof-of-concept (PoC) tests and lab investigations and evaluations to working with vendors that are developing and productizing the software, which is being deployed commercially.
IHS Markit sees the carrier mind-set toward NFV is changing quickly. In 2014, there was one standout barrier — operations and business support systems (OSS/BSS).
In 2015 and 2016, the top barriers — integrating NFV into existing networks and non-carrier-grade products — show that carriers are very serious about deploying NFV.
The vast majority of early NFV deployments in the next year, and overall, will be for business virtualized enterprise customer premises equipment (vE-CPE), also known as vBranch or enterprise vCPE. Growing in importance over the last several years, business vE-CPE can assist with revenue generation because it allows operators to replace physical CPEs with software so they can quickly innovate and launch new services.
The industry is still in the early stages of a long-term transition to SDN and NFV architected networks.