If the last decade was about providing mobile and internet services, the current era is all about consolidation. With internet penetration reaching almost 35% pan India, mobile and telecom companies are now focusing on expanding their network to sustain for excessive load on their networks while offering on demand value added services.
Network Function Virtualization or NFV as it is popularly known is today the go to tool for all major public utility enterprises as well as government and private telecom and broadband operators. Network Function Virtualization allows enterprises to offer enhanced network support without escalating physical hardware costs. Instead of investing in hardware appliances like routers, switches, etc. for a network’s growth, enterprises make use of virtual machines based on industry specific servers. As a result enterprises are able to offer value added services, on demand services with faster timelines, lower downtimes ensuring higher consumer loyalty in the long run.
The day may not be far when a telecom or a broadband internet operator may offer pan India services without having any physical network. The road from a physical network to a software based virtual network may be a long one but the first steps have already been taken by major global and Indian enterprises.
Evaluating how Network Functions Virtualization is a game changer
The name of the game especially in the world of telecom companies and broadband operators is agility. Enterprises offering agile services are the ones that are likely to retain a higher chunk of customers. Consumer retention is based on customer service along with offerings like on demand services. Gone are the days where enterprises like public utility companies in India in the past took weeks if not days to offer a new connection or consider for a change of plan. Today consumers seek immediate results for connection activation deactivation, change of plans or seeking on any valued added services like video on demand, etc.
With NFV service providers like telecom operator can run various services like firewalls without having to invest in additional hardware or routers, etc. This allows for substantial cost saving for the enterprises while the virtual server allowing them to offer newer services on the existing virtual network instantly. NFValso allows enterprises to spread base in areas where they have no physical network with an agile system in place that is secured and faster with almost zero latency.
NFV helps operators add the x-factor
The growing competition between various telecom operators in India means that operators that offer newer, faster services are likely to have better revenues in the long run. With telecom operators spending high amounts of acquiring various spectrum acquisition licenses, NFV allows a cost effective option with a dual benefit of network expansion without escalating costs.
The challenges of managing NFV
While Network Function Virtualization or NFV ticks all the boxes as a new generation tool that is the future for public service utilities, it comes as a set of coherent challenges. Firstly, being a relatively newer technology there are still no set industry standards for NFV. As a result the management of various virtual networks using related application programmable interfaces or APIs can have discrepancies.
Secondly, the multiple advantages of NFV functionality are too good to ignore for enterprises. This can mean organizations adopt it in a haphazard manner instead of a planned execution from a physical network to a virtual network. Having hybrid networks which are a balance between older physical networks and newer virtual networks can also result in compatibility issues needed strong technological support for minimal downtime or latency.
Need for NFV consultants in the Indian market
The movement from traditional physical networks to virtual networks through Network Function Virtualization is akin to a complete change in work culture. Just like a transition from traditional work culture to an agile DevOps operation, such a move requires services of experienced NFV consultants. NFV requires downsizing of multiple silos within the organizational structure along with the technological upgrade. There is a strong need for consultants well versed with the Indian ecosystem to ensure the transition is smooth and effective.
Conclusion: Network Function Virtualization is finding increasing role across various enterprises in India as increasing internet penetration means enterprises seek network expansion. The popularity of NFV in India is just beginning to peak.