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Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) is the ability to instantiate network functions in real time at any desired location within the operator’s telecom cloud platform. This is a critical capability to optimize resource usage and realize operational efficiency gains. It is also crucial to enable the speed efficiency and agility to support new business opportunities e.g. in IoT. NFV is a prerequisite for a successful 5G introduction.

NFV has now come to a point where leading services providers are starting to launch commercial applications like EPC and IMS based communication services.First we saw single applications come out in limited scale but now we see truly horizontal, orchestrated telecom cloud platforms with multi-vendor VNF’s.

NFV is starting to become industrialized and will serve as the platform for the 5G core.

This is the right time to invest and proceed with the NFV transformation, both to capture the benefits of today and not missing out on the upcoming opportunities in 5G and IoT.

NFV in reality with operators


First wide-scale deployment of virtual MME in a native MME pool

Mobile broadband


New level of scalability, cost-efficient expansion and service innovation

Mobile broadband

Swisscom, Switzerland: Preparing for the future

“Ericsson’s solution is designed to meet the needs of operators in the long term. Its solid foundations allow us to deploy a mobile core network capable of meeting all the requirements of 5G.” Sébastien Grognuz, Enterprise Architect, Swisscom

How to bring NFV to life – an operator’s view

NTT DOCOMO has launched a multi-vendor NFV solution, expecting gains from both a cost perspective, as well as speed and flexibility in delivering applications.

Operators are live with commercial NFV

Industry leading operators are realizing the benefits of NFV today in live commercial service with Ericsson NFV.

Operators are now using the opportunity to turn NFV into a business advantage. We see operators at the industry forefront who are deploying new services on the market in faster time to market and using the flexibility in NFV technology to quickly react to changing market conditions.

Operators are using Ericsson's virtual EPC and NFVi in live networks. All the way from capacity expansion of Mobile Broadband in Japan, utilizing a common pool of native and virtualized EPC, to small scale cost-efficient distributed Mobile Broadband in the Caribbean.

Operators are also live with new services like VoLTE, Wi-Fi Calling and IoT as an overlay, using Ericsson virtual IMS and EPC, to achieve faster time to market and service agility.

Supercharging the Evolved Packet Gateway

Ericsson Evolved Packet Gateway offers the best performance available on the market today, in both physical and virtual forms, at least doubling the ‘real-world’ performance of any other packet gateway available today.

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Turning NFV and network slicing into a business advantage

Operators at the forefront see the great opportunity to embrace the new technologies and address a broader spectrum of new business opportunities.
Using virtualization and network slicing to address new enterprise segments and industry verticals are good examples of how operators today commercially are benefiting from the new technologies. NFV is an important technology for the 5G ready core.

Network slicing offers a smart way to segment the network for a particular industry or business segment. Slicing provides isolation from other business thereby allowing each business to move at it's own pace, with minimal coordination of other businesses.

Optimizing for speed and agility by automation

NFV is all about speed and agility – making services and networks more responsive to customer needs with resources that are more elastic. This elasticity makes it possible to calibrate virtualized functions dynamically for optimal operational flexibility.

NFV enables the on-demand instantiation of functions in a format easier to load-balance, scale up/down, and allows you to move functions dynamically across distributed hardware resources in the network. This is done while maintaining service continuity and maintaining or even improving quality of service (QoS).

The architectural approaches motivated by NFV promote system consolidation and eliminate manual provisioning tasks. This means less operational errors. It also means faster coordination of resources, virtual and physical, either owned or accessed from third parties across ecosystems, for more dynamic operations. As a result of managing resources dynamically, service providers can add value to their offerings by making them on-demand, software-defined, and amenable to ecosystems involving third-party service providers.

Open for the future – driving collaboration

Ericsson is collaborating with other industry players to bring NFV to an industrial scale, providing a full suite of virtualized network applications, an execution platform, and NFV orchestration and management, combined with consulting and systems integration services.

Realizing NFV is a journey of network transformation. For our industry to succeed on this journey, we believe openness is key. This is why we are committed to driving open source collaboration. Ericsson is a platinum member of OPNFV (Open Platform for NFV).

A reference architecture established by OPNFV builds the base for an open, high-performance environment and efficient end-to-end solution. The Ericsson OPNFV certification program is designed to support our customers and partners, and to certify their NFV solutions. Ericsson is also a key contributor in other open source initiatives, such as the OpenDaylight and OpenStack projects.

The transformation journey has started – are you onboard?

During the NFV journey, we support operators in their network and business transformation. Ericsson's NFV solution strategy is based on horizontal, open and programmable design principles.

The idea is for platforms and multi-vendor solutions to interact, and for telecom network architecture to be reshaped, enabling new business and revenue streams to be explored. We believe in the potential that NFV will bring to the telecom industry in terms of technology evolution and business value. In short, it has the potential to revolutionize the telecom business.

The NFV transformation journey has begun. We are committed to enabling you – the change-makers on this journey – to succeed in the rapidly changing environment of communications technology.

We are providing the equipment, software and services needed to enable this transformation.

NFV Insights – Videos

NFV for the networked Society

NVF brings new levels of flexibility and opportunities. Håkan Djuphammar, Head of Technology, Business Unit IT & Cloud shares his view on the transformation journey.

Infonetics’ Michael Howard shares his view on NFV

Michael Howard, Senior Research Director Carrier Networks, Infonetics Research shares his view on key drivers for operators to implement NFV, and how to deal with challenges associated with the transformation journey.

Our offerings

Ericsson’s NFV offerings cover the entire range of ETSI defined architectural blocks. Ericsson provides a number of virtualized network applications today, and more will follow later this year and in 2016.

NFV Management and Orchestration Offerings

Ericsson Cloud Manager

Ericsson Network Manager

Cloud Transformation Services

Ericsson Cloud Transformation Services

5G use case and network evolution

Networks are evolving to meet the needs of new use cases with different demands on mobility, data rates, latency, reliability and device density. In the latest Ericsson Mobility Report, we explore how networks are evolving to meet these requirements.

Get updated on the latest developments