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Network Operators Set to Increase NFV and SDN Deployments

By Michael Guta June 22, 2015

The growth of data traffic is increasing at such a rate, network operators are having to constantly reevaluate the capacity of their infrastructure. This has led operators to start deploying intelligent solutions to manage the incredible amount of information crisscrossing global networks. Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) are some of the solutions carriers are deploying to introduce agility and flexibility to their infrastructure. The latest report by Radiant Insights Inc on the NFV and SDN market sees the segment growing, which according to the company is being driven by the promise of TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) reduction.

In order to appreciate the amount of data being generated one needs to look at the numbers. According to the latest Cisco visual networking Index (VNI) released in May 2015, there will be 3.9 billion global Internet users by 2019, an increase of more than 51 percent of the world population. Additional numbers of this report that indicate the challenges networks are facing and will face include:

  • Annual global IP traffic will surpass the zettabyte threshold in 2016, and the two zettabyte threshold in 2019,
  • Global IP traffic will reach 1.1 zettabytes per year or 88.4 exabytes (one billion gigabytes) per month in 2016,
  • By 2019, global IP traffic will pass a new milestone figure of 2.0 zettabytes per year, or 168.0 exabytes per month,
  • By 2019, there will be 24 billion networked devices and connections globally, up from 14 billion in 2014,
  • Globally, the average fixed broadband connection speed will increase 2.2-fold, from 20.3 Mbps in 2014 to 42.5 Mbps by 2019, and
  • Globally, IP video will represent 80 percent of all traffic by 2019, up from 67 percent in 2014.

No matter how you crunch them, those are some incredible numbers, and they could be much higher if developing nations keep adopting information and communication technologies (ICT) at faster rates, which they are in many parts of the world.

The NFV, SDN & Wireless Network Infrastructure Market: 2015 – 2020 – Opportunities, Challenges, Strategies and Forecasts report highlights the cost of doing business for telecoms. As the global wireless CAPEX continues to increase with the deployment of LTE and HetNet (Heterogeneous Network) infrastructure, the demand for high-speed mobile broadband connectivity is also increasing. To effectively manage the spiraling costs, operators are lowering or all together eliminating their reliance on expensive proprietary hardware platforms.

Image via Shutterstock

That is where the role of NFV and SDN start to come into play. With these technologies in place, operators will have lower OPEX, because it will take less space, man power and energy consumption to run and manage their infrastructure.

The investment by operators will reach close to $21 billion by the end of 2020, and according to the report, the investment will focus on mobile core/EPC, policy/IMS services, RAN (Radio Access Networks), OSS/BSS, data center, backhaul and CPE/home environment. The report also forecasts NFV, SDN, wireless network infrastructure, small cells, Wi-Fi offload, DAS (Distributed Antenna Systems), C-RAN (Cloud RAN) and mobile backhaul equipment from 2015 to 2020 at a regional as well as global scale.

When you take the time to look at the amount of data being created today, it really is astonishing. While NFV and SDN will give operators time to catch their breath, new solutions will have to be introduced quickly as 4K, 8K, cloud, mobile and the Internet of Everything bring another deluge of data. 

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

Contributing Writer

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