18.1 Chapter Overview
Telecom network infrastructure under deployment is in its fourth generation of evolution, commonly known as Long-Term Evolution (LTE). This is the infrastructure that serves smart phones globally. Even as the 4G infrastructure is being deployed, the demand on network infrastructure is exploding. 5G projections indicate that growing demand will impact the network infrastructure significantly, while network function virtualization (NFV) and software defined networks (SDN) represent ways to simplify deployment and management of that infrastructure.
NFV promises significant cost savings, flexibility, and ease in deploying network infrastructure, drawing on the highly efficient data center infrastructure that powers many Internet application services, such as Google and Amazon. SDN eases the configuration, scaling, and management of the deployed networking infrastructure.
This chapter will present a basic overview of NFV and SDN followed by a design study of the cellular network infrastructure; specifically a virtualized enhanced packet core. This will allow the reader a very clear understanding of how NFV and SDN technologies can work to address the demands placed on the cellular network infrastructure by 5G.
Unlike enterprise data centers, which have fairly straightforward switching, traditional telecom networks ...