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ETSI produces globally-applicable standards for Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), including fixed, mobile, radio, converged, aeronautical, broadcast and internet technologies and is officially recognised by the European Union as a European Standards Organisation. ETSI is an independent, not-for-profit association whose more than 700 member companies and organisations, drawn from 62 countries across 5 continents worldwide, determine its work programme and participate directly in its work. For more information please visit: www.etsi.org.
About Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV)
Network Functions Virtualisation first came to prominence in a white paper from a group of network operators published in October 2012 to coincide with the announcement of the formation of ETSI NFV ISG (http://portal.etsi.org/NFV/NFV_White_Paper.pdf).
In this paper the authors described how network operators’ networks are populated with many different pieces of proprietary hardware. To launch a new network service often requires yet another type of hardware. Finding the space and power to accommodate these various boxes is becoming increasingly difficult, and the costs and level of skills needed are rising. In addition, hardware-based appliances rapidly reach the end of their life, often before achieving a return on investment. All this is inhibiting innovation.
NFV aims to address these problems by leveraging standard IT Virtualisation technology to consolidate many network equipment types onto industry standard high volume servers, switches and storage, which could be located in datacentres, network nodes or end-user premises. NFV is applicable to a wide variety of networking functions in both fixed and mobile networks.
NFV could provide significant benefits for both network operators and users:
Network Functions Virtualisation is highly complementary to Software Defined Networking (SDN). These topics are mutually beneficial but are not dependent on each other. Network Functions can be virtualised and deployed without an SDN being required and vice-versa. NFV ISG is co-operating with other bodies working on SDN.