Virtualized network functions or VNFs are the software realisations of the various network functions that can be deployed on a Network Functions Virtualization Infrastructure and needed to enable the network to operate.
In this way, a virtual network function or VNF handles a specific network function that run on one or more virtual machines on top of the hardware networking infrastructure.
The individual virtual network functions, VNFs, can be considered to be building blocks and they can be connected or combined together, providing all the capabilities required to provide a complete networking communication service.
Examples of various virtual network functions can be found within all areas of a telecommunications network and they can include:
- Switching: BNG, CG-NAT, routers.
- Tunnelling gateway elements: IPSec/SSL VPN gateways.
- Traffic analysis: DPI, QoE measurementI.
- Signalling: SBCs, IMS.
- Application-level optimisation: CDNs, load Balancers.
- Home routers and set top boxes.
- Mobile network nodes: HLR/HSS, MME, SGSN, GGSN/PDN-GW, RNC.
- Network-wide functions: AAA servers policy control, charging platforms.
- Security functions: firewalls, intrusion detection systems, virus scanners, spam protection.
In this way, it can be seen that a huge number of VNFs can be run on a network using Network Functions Virtualization.
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