Network Revolution – Software Defined Networking and Network Function Virtualisation playing their part in the next Industrial Revolution
Diarmuid Ó Briain¹ ², David Denieffe¹, Yvonne Kavanagh¹ and Dorothy Okello²
¹ GameCORE Research Centre, Department of Aerospace, Mechanical and Electronic Engineering, Institute of Technology, Carlow, Ireland
² Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
Networking and telecommunications have been spared the major changes that have occurred in computing over the last decade. The Information Technology (IT) world transformed, virtualisation, then the cloud, instantly adaptable and elastic computing. Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) are about to bring about instantly adaptable and elastic networking. SDN is being realised in the data centre today and is about to take stage in the Wide Area Network (WAN).
SDN is the extraction of the control functions from networking equipment hardware. This leaves the hardware with only data plane functionality. The control plane functions are migrated as software functions to be ran on standard industry hardware or more often than not on server instances located on cloud platforms.
NFV is a separate but complementary technology that replaces existing functions typically found on specialised hardware with virtualised versions of the same function. These NFVs can be delivered on a virtual Customer Premises Equipment (vCPE) devices that will provide virtualisation locally for the provision of NFVs and/or in concert with cloud based functions at the data centre.
This revolution will create the appearance of infinite capacity and permit the expansion of the current scientific, informatics and engineering boundaries to create a Cloud Integrated Network (CIN). CIN, the Internet of Things (IoT) as well as AuGmented Intelligence (AuGI) will come together in the future to create the perfect storm that will transform human existence in a third industrial revolution.