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Get a move on with NFV – Broadband Forum

The dudes running the NFV effort over at ETSI need to shake a leg and get a move on, according to the Broadband Forum CEO, Robin Mersh.

Instead of swanning around boasting about how their architectures are so open and busying themselves by theorising how to make things less physical and more virtual; Mersh says operators need to find common ground on what they need, and quickly rattle off the list of projects marked ‘to do’.

“We need to move much faster than we are currently doing so with NFV,” he said at Broadband World Forum. “There is a long list of ongoing projects which need to be done faster, and we would argue that operators haven’t gotten to a consensus view of where the industry needs to go.”

If the operator collective did so, Mersh argues, the industry could have another smartphone moment – which changed everything.

“If we could get that consensus we could get to where we got to when the smartphone changed the industry. What’s driven the industry since the smartphone was created was the manufacturers for each device – like Android manufacturers and Apple. They’ve totally changed how the industry works.

“Applications on the App Store have now reached a point where no one person could look at every single app in its entirety in their lifetime.”

That’s a pretty cool stat.

Mersh didn’t stop there, and said everyone in the industry needs to get their hands dirty, not just those involved with NFV. It was something of a call-to-arms.

“You need to get your hands dirty, you need to do lots of hard work, and not everything can be open source,” he said. “There will be pieces of software that won’t just be delivered to open source communities. The very idea of virtualization and programmable is that all of these different, stovepiped networks will combine into one. Right now fixed and wireless really do speak different languages, but that can’t be allowed to carry on.”

Early NFV use-cases started going live in 2015, but progress has kind of halted a bit this year. From sitting in on the Virtualization track at Broadband World Forum in London, it looks like one of the biggest questions overhanging the industry is “how the f*#! do we make sense of NFV?”. Presenters used lots of slides with complex topology graphics, but no one has stuck their neck out and said ‘hey guys, we solved it. Do this!’

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