Network Virtualization Holds the Key to Building Smart Networks: Nokia


Spotlight on Reinventing Networks |

At a time when global telecoms community is looking at reducing their operational costs while at the same time, managing the ever growing network complexities in today’s 5G era – they look for enabling business agility. This is where network virtualization is playing a critical role and holds the big key for building smart networks that are completely future-proof.

As part of our spotlight on Reinventing Networks – Samar Mittal, Vice President Head of Nokia Cloud Network & Services, MEA & India Market speaks with Zia Askari from about the company’s focus as an enabler for virtualisation of networks and its future plans.

With the wave of digital transformation across industries, as one of the leading players, how do you see the demand of virtualized networks going up?

Businesses and industries have understood that digital transformation is critical to their long-term success and is the only way to manage the scope, scale, cost and business complexities in line with their business goals and strategies. Enterprises are now looking at their wide area networks (WANs) infrastructure for more than just connectivity. They need to offer a flexible environment and unify their entire network to provide the end-to-end application visibility and control required to deliver a range of services, or to provide programmable security across the entire network. CSPs are looking at reducing the costs and managing the growing network complexities, to stay profitable, especially when seen under the light of 5G. They are looking at business avenues beyond connectivity. And for that, they need to be more agile, responsive and adaptable to customer needs.

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This is what is driving the need and the demand for network virtualization. Network virtualization is the key to build smart networks that can address dynamic and diverse service requirements – be it defining new service capabilities and policies that can be applied consistently and seamlessly, scaling up/ down services, or moving network functions across resources, or increasing operational efficiency with automation and cloud technologies, or making smart use of network data as a business enabler.

What are the top use cases of virtualized networks? What are some of the latest technology trends in this segment?

While the utility of virtualized networks is multi-dimensional, some of the trends and use cases that are seeing a lot of traction are:

  • Network Functions Virtualization (NFV): Allows the separation of network services from the underlying hardware, which in turn, allows to roll out new services dynamically without having to install dedicated hardware.
  • Software Defined Network (SDN): Separates the control, data and management planes so that each layer can scale independently, thereby simplifying the overall network design and making it more programmable.
  • Automation: Enables higher network efficiency and improved resource utilization, faster provisioning and roll out of services, traffic steering and routing among others
  • Edge computing: Edge computing allows the processing and computing to happen at the edge of the networks for latency sensitive services.
  • AI and Analytics: Turn network data into a powerful business enabler – driving improved performance, greater productivity, and a superior customer experience.

What are the benefits of using virtualized networks for the companies?

Network virtualization will help companies and organizations to enable faster service delivery, reduce operating expenses and provide a more secure, stable, agile, and automated network. It will allow to build a network that is both customized and responsive to your enterprise’s unique needs, without incurring the costs and complexities of a customized network. The organization can connect sites, workgroups, and applications faster and more cost-effectively and react to changes more easily owing to the inbuilt agility.

Not just that, the control – moves, adds, and changes in the network are under complete control and are centrally driven on a per-site or whole-of-network basis. The provisioning of services gets lot faster with automation along with flexibility to move workloads to the edge where needed. Further, it also allows the businesses to move away from the proprietary equipment and instead adopt a more cloud-based infrastructure that allows them to be more flexible and use commodity hardware.

How does Nokia help to maximize total network ROI and increase average revenue through virtual networks?

Nokia’s SDN and NFV solutions reduce the operations’ complexity and allow CSPs and enterprises to respond and adapt to the changing service environment, build scalable, secure and adaptive networks and realize the full benefit of virtualization. They allow the businesses to use cloud technologies, cognitive analytics, operational intelligence, machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT) and enhanced security to bring more value to their customers.

Our solutions help our customers – be it the service providers or enterprises, evolve their networks to create new markets &reinvent existing ones and be prepared for the future to support new business models and adapt to changing customer demands.

What are the leading solutions that Nokia is providing in the sector?

Nokia firmly believes in the benefits that virtualization will bring to the CSPs/Enterprise and their end-customers. Nokia offers multiple solutions that offers virtualization infrastructure and software services deploying and managing cloud native applications over it.

Nokia CloudBand infrastructure software, is a ready-to-use software solution geared towards customers who seek an easy way to build a serviceable, highly available, secure, and protected virtual infrastructure that supports NFV and Containers that is simple to operate and is easily upgraded

From connectivity side, Nuage Network from Nokia, helps service providers, web-scale operators and enterprises unleash the power of the cloud by extending it to the branch. Our Software Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) solution gives the freedom and flexibility to connect sites, workgroups, and applications faster, more securely and more cost-effectively, react to change easily and respond to growth seamlessly.

Nuage Networks Virtualized Network Services (VNS) extends the power of SDN to create a seamless WAN that connects the datacenters to the business, regardless of location – enterprises can build their own infrastructure, or purchase VNS as part of a managed service offered by service providers. It seamlessly links the enterprise locations regardless of size or geography while reducing the requirement for customized networking.

We believe, the evolution to NFV/SDN will shift the way network services are designed, delivered, and assured. With ever-increasing customer expectations as well as competitive pressures, CSPs/Enterprises must move toward closed loop services-oriented operations. It enables CSPs/Enterprises to prioritize the resolution of customer-affecting service issues in automated fashion. Nokia offers Digital Operations Center (DOC) that provides a single pane of glass to manage entire life cycle of a service i.e., Design, Deploy and Assure. Digital Operations Center brings orchestration and assurance capabilities together to enable a new slice-based innovation ecosystem and new revenue opportunities by offering digital services to new industries and is based on various industry standards like ZSM, ETSI NFV, 3GPP, TMF etc.

This interview is published as part of July 2022 issue of Disruptive Telecoms.