DALLAS -- Small Cell Forum (SCF) has today published Release 8, a practical working guide detailing technical and commercial best practice for operators planning to deploy Network Function Virtualization (NFV). Small cell virtualization will be a key enabler of 5G HetNets, enterprise services and the Internet of Things (IoT), offering significant benefits including scalability, agility, cost reduction and network slicing.
In Release 8, SCF combines unique experience of real-world deployments of NFV technology today with small cells at the network edge, which will be invaluable in building out the networks for the future.
Virtualization allows network functions to be separated from the radio, and run on commodity hardware, including the Cloud. This allows resources to be scaled dynamically according to the number and type of mobile services in use.
This provides a stepping stone to network slicing, which allows virtualized network resources to be readily carved up and assigned on-demand, enabling new wholesale connectivity business models, or multi-operator sharing.
To date, industry approaches to RAN virtualization have mainly been vendor proprietary, risking fragmentation and delaying progress. These documents from SCF offer a unified set of guidelines, interfaces and specifications allowing operators to approach virtualization in an efficient, interoperable and future-proofed way.