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How NFV is Impacting Real Time Communications

April 08, 2015

The global market for network functions virtualization is expected to experience a compound annual growth rate of more than 83 percent between this year and 2020, at the end of which NFV revenues are expected to reach $8.7 billion. That means the network functions that power real-time communications will be increasingly agile, resulting in better use of network resources and more flexibility in introducing and altering services as needed.

Some of the world’s largest communications service providers have been pushing NFV forward so they can both save on infrastructure by running network functions as software on industry-standard hardware, and create new revenues by leveraging this more flexible architecture to expedite the creation and delivery of new and more granular offerings in the marketplace.

The functions that are being virtualized include control, media management, and signaling capabilities. For example, some companies now offer virtualized versions of application servers, messaging solutions, session border controllers, session routing solution, WebRTC appliances, and wireless access gateways.

These new solutions will offer network operators new flexibility not only because they can run on industry-standard hardware, but also because the software-centric architecture on which they are based lends itself to cross-vendor interoperability via open APIs. Indeed, many infrastructure suppliers are now banding together to form ecosystems that work to pre-integrate their offerings for carrier customers.

“In order to accelerate their NFV deployment and reduce schedule risk, service providers are looking for validated, market-ready end-to-end NFV solutions,” Charlie Ashton, senior director of business development for networking solutions at Wind River, recently commented. “In collaboration with our ecosystem partners, we are addressing several of the industry’s toughest NFV challenges, such as management and orchestration, security, and testing.”

These kinds of activities – and similar work on the software-defined networking side – are aimed at helping service providers realize their specific capital expense saving and new revenue generation goals, and their infrastructure providers grow their software businesses. Expect to see pilot tests of SDN in 2016. By 2020, the SDN market is expected to reach $11.3 billion, according to Mind Commerce.

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