Some believe that NFV will create exciting new revenue streams for a struggling industry; others believe the operational savings are what will drive the adoption on NFV/SDN as a way of improving profitability; another group increasingly believe that NFV/SDN is just another example of technology hype and that the real benefits are limited and outweighed by complexity…
This Cambridge Wireless event will attempt to outline key business cases at all stages of the value chain and discuss whether NFV/SDN offers real benefits.
Thanks to our event sponsor Runway East - if you’re after a startup coworking space in London, you could do far worse than check out their locations here, for more info from Runway East sign up to their newsletter.
Does the business case for next generation networks work?
Many people are willing to embrace 5G and NFV/SDN as technologies that will save the telecommunications industry. Networks will become simpler, more agile, cheaper to run, easier to manage and able to support the world’s insatiable demand for an always on, always connected future. NFV/SDN will create scalable, efficient and heavily automated networks which will drive down CAPEX and OPEX. 5G has the potential to support new and exciting use cases and revenue models with network slicing allowing highly specialized and optimized networks to drive new revenue streams. Combined NFV/SDN and 5G support a strong business case of evolution.
However, others see this as technology for technology’s sake. They see these as expensive, distracting new technologies, pushed by the establishment, rather than pulled by any real customer need. Mobile operators, completing their roll out of 4G/LTE networks want to monetize that investment, leverage the recent developments of LTE-Advanced and perhaps take some time to breathe before decommissioning the 2G and 3G networks and reducing the complexity of their operations. For this group, 5G is a technology too soon, and they can’t justify the huge investment to roll out yet another network technology. Fixed and Mobile Operators see NFV/SDN as unproven, and possibly an unnecessary step from a “Cloud Native” future where multi-vendor systems can easily interoperate with no integration costs.
So the industry is at an impasse, the UK operators have already invested £1.35bn in 5G licenses, as table stakes. If you don’t have spectrum you simply can’t offer 5G Services, but many in the industry are not convinced that 5G has a viable business model. The industry are actively investigating new use cases that can only be delivered with the bandwidth, low-latency and flexibility of 5G, but use cases like Augmented Reality (AR), Automated Drone Management and Industrial Control systems while innovative may not be mass market services. Arguably the aim of the DCMS 5G trials and testbeds programme is to explore and validate these demand-side issues.
This UK5G/CW event. curated by the CW Virtual Network Special Interest Group, will look at some of the innovators and thought leaders who are looking at the business case for 5G/NFV/SDN today, and their early results from trials and early deployments of this technology. The event may not answer all of the open questions, but it will show how some organizations have addressed or plan to make money from this evolution.
Whatever side of the debate you are on join us for an enlightening discussion.
About the Virtual Networks Group
The tagline “IT meets Telecom” captures the increasing trend in building and operating of networks to separate functions from their underlying hardware. This separation allows network operators to move from specialised, proprietary hardware to general off-the-shelf computing systems, which in turn run the network functions as software on virtualised operating systems.
Technologies such as Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) as well as Software-Defined Networking (SDN) are the enablers for this transformative trend with promises ranging from decreased CAPEX and OPEX over increased fluidity in meeting demand for network services (in collaboration with application-level providers) to emulating entire systems in software only for capacity and extreme event planning as well as lowering barriers to entry in terms of new functionality being introduced in networks by virtue of merely deploying a software-realised function rather than a specialised hardware element. Such virtualization does not come without challenges though, in particular in areas of interoperability and integration as well as in scale and dealing with extreme event scenarios.
In this SIG, we want to explore these potential use cases, both from a short but also long-term perspective, separate myth from reality as well as opportunities from hype and bring together practitioners in this space to exchange their views and meet those who want to understand how the future of network operations will look like.