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Operator strategies for building 5G NFVI

Gorkem Yigit Senior Analyst, Research

"Industry failure to create virtual network functions (VNFs) that have no dependencies on specific hardware configurations has delayed the NFV project."

The slow progress towards eliminating network functions virtualisation (NFV) hardware and software interdependencies, and the lack of abstraction capabilities for managing diverse NFV infrastructure (NFVI) environments, have together led to siloed deployments of virtual network functions that limit the benefits of NFV. 5G demands a common, horizontal network cloud and three strategies are emerging for building it: NFVI standardisation (for example, the Common NFVI Telco Taskforce (CNTT) activities), on-premises versions of public cloud providers' cloud stacks, and self-build heterogenous NFVI with abstraction.


This report provides: 

  • an overview of the challenges that are hindering the progress of NFV
  • an explanation of why horizontal, common networks clouds are essential for 5G
  • an overview of the emerging paths that operators can choose from when building their 5G NFVI
  • three recommendations to help operators identify their most-suitable NFVI strategy.