A majority of service providers responding to a recent survey said they expect network functions virtualization (NFV) to bring opex and capex savings, and 80 percent of those surveyed already are in or will be in some type of production or lab trial with NFV during 2014.
The survey conducted by telecom equipment vendor Dialogic was a small one--only 12 U.S. service providers responded--but does provide insights into where the nascent NFV industry may be headed.
According to Dialogic, 70 percent of survey respondents said they expect NFV will make them more operationally efficient, while 67 percent indicated NFV projects are a better way to invest capital.
Likely areas for virtualization. (Source: Dialogic "2013 Ready for NFV Survey")
A majority of respondents see NFV first being applied to unified communications, followed by 4G. Nearly half, or 46 percent, felt that the LTE evolved packet core (EPC) would be a likely place to start moving functionality to the cloud. Only 14 percent of those responding thought that the 3G core was a highly likely target to be virtualized
Regarding challenges to NFV implementation, 56 percent of survey respondents indicated that implementing security in a virtualized environment is a significant hurdle. Further, half of respondents thought scalability of signaling plane traffic is a key issue.
In addition, 81 percent of respondents foresee a diminishing role for the central office, but 53 percent said they do not expect hardware to fade away and indicated that they think virtualization will never replace purpose-built hardware for some applications.
- see this Dialogic release and this survey landing page
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