Network Service Chaining (NSC) is a service deployment concept that promises increased flexibility and cost efficiency for future carrier networks. NSC has received considerable attention in the standardization and research communities lately. However, NSC is largely undefined in the peer-reviewed literature. In fact, a literature review reveals that the role of NSC enabling technologies is up for discussion, and so are the key research challenges lying ahead.
This paper addresses these topics by motivating our research interest towards advanced dynamic NSC and detailing the main aspects to be considered in the context of carrier-grade telecommunication networks. We present design considerations and system requirements alongside use cases that illustrate the advantages of adopting NSC. We detail prominent research challenges during the typical lifecycle of a network service chain in an operational telecommunications network, including service chain description, programming, deployment, and debugging, and summarize our security considerations. We conclude this paper with an outlook on future work in this area.