Network slicing is poised to play a pivotal role in the enablement of 5G. The technology allows operators to run multiple virtual networks on top of a single, physical infrastructure. With 5G commercialization set for 2020, many are wondering to what extend network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) can help move network slicing forward.
NFV and SDN are two similar but distinct technologies that are spearheading the digital transformation of network infrastructure in the telecom industry. NFV is an initiative to provide network services that conventionally ran on proprietary hardware with virtual machines, where a virtual machine is understood as an operating system that imitates dedicated hardware. With NFV, network functions such as routing, load balancing and firewalls are delivered by virtual machines. Using NFV, resources are no longer bound to data centers, but pervade the network to accelerate the productivity of internal operations.
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