SDN and NFV are recognized as enabling technologies with substantial benefits for the European Union and significant technological, economic and business potential, it is essential to assess them in order to get a clear picture of the implications of these emerging technologies on the future of the telecommunications landscape and across several dimensions of European Union policies such as research, innovation, industrial and telecommunications policy.

More specifically, the introduction of SDN and NFV in operational networks is expected to enable more efficient utilization of existing telecommunication links (cables, wireless links, access lines), significant quickening of the process of introduction of new services, lower operational costs due to efficient use of infrastructure, increased customer satisfaction and ease of upgrades. Consequently, the promise is that SDN and NFV will bring significant savings in CAPEX and OPEX for network operators, but more importantly they will open a field of innovations for new parties – for example to content providers which will be able to create their own CDN (Content Distribution Network) on demand. Also, telecommunications operators may be able to provide services in new domains, because of the multi-tenancy and flexibility opportunities that SDN and NFV promise. In this study, we will focus on the telecommunications sector, but also on several other sectors and areas that could benefit from SDN and NFV.

The project sets out to fulfill the following research objectives:

  • Identify the most likely deployment scenarios including associated timelines and possible migration paths from existing networking technologies
  • Identify current and new usage scenarios of SDN- and NFV-based networks including trends and possible new services
  • Assess the impact of SDN and NFV on existing business models in the telecom sector and identify their innovation potential in terms of possible new business models with current and new stakeholders
  • Assess the general market and industrial potential for SDN and NFV
  • Position SDN and NFV within the current and future telecommunications regulatory framework and in relation to growth opportunities
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