vCPE Emerges as Top NFV Deployment Use Case

Posted by Mae Kowalke on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 with No comments

Service providers view network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) as key technologies for transforming telecom network architecture to add new revenue streams (through service and revenue agility), reduce opex (through operational efficiency), and reduce capex (through use of COTS hardware rather than proprietary network equipment).


Those findings, explored in the recently-published ISH/Infonetics report Top NFV and SDN Deployment Use Cases, bring insight to market drivers as operators begin moving past proofs-of-concept and into commercial NFV deployments.

It’s become obvious that the benefits of NFV are less immediately about cost savings, and more about better service agility and operational efficiency.  


A key finding from the report is that most operators planning to deploy NFV in the near-term are very focused on the virtual enterprise CPE (vE-CPE) use case, because business services are the most immediately lucrative area for NFV deployments.


Other NFV use cases explored in the report include:


  • Service chaining
  • Virtual network platform as a service (vNPaaS)
  • Virtual provider edge router (vPE)
  • Consumer home


The use cases each operator focuses on, research director Michael Howard notes in the report, is a balance between motivating factorsrevenue generation, opex improvement, capex reduction. Business vE-CPE emerge as the top use case in each of those categories.


As operators move ahead with NFV deployments, it’s interesting to note where they decide to locate virtualized network functions (VNFs)the placement of servers used to execute software functions that traditionally would have run on specialized network hardware.


In the IHS report, Howard notes that well over half of carriers plan to execute VNFs on CPE at the customer premises, and most of the rest on a blade in network equipment (typically a router).


For some carriers, this localized vCPE setup is a first step before moving to a full NFVI setup in a data center.


The basic three vCPE deployment options (local, centralized, or hybrid)--and why one might be chosen over another—is a topic too large for this article, but we have explored it in depth elsewhere; see Related links below.


“The main goal of operators in deploying SDN and NFV is to attain a new level of operational automation including service agility that will drive new revenue,” Howard stresses in the report.


Most operators have chosen vCPE as their top use case for NFV in the near-term, because of its ability to enable new revenue-bearing services quickly, save capex, and increase operational efficiency.


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