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Virtualizing the network

Leveraging cloud hosting, software defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV) to create competitive differentiation.

What is network virtualization?

In short, it’s everything the old network wasn’t. Cloud-hosted managed services (Telco cloud), software defined networking (SDN), virtualized network functions (NFV), and zero-touch operations supported by big data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence.

What's more, it’s a whole new way of partnering with your customers. In the virtualized network, customers and service providers develop new, innovative services together. Rather than guessing what the next "killer app" will be, they jointly develop and refine their business needs into business enablers.

Agile services, customer managed services, DevOps development models, over-the-top (OTT) application providers, continuous innovation, and more. Gone are the days of trying to fit new service models onto existing, often outdated network and operations models.

To be successful in this dynamic environment, the virtual network requires greater visibility than ever before.

EXFO has the solutions and expertise you need to help you succeed.


The virtualized network promises to completely change the way networks are built, operated and maintained. They are software based, leverage SDN and NFV, and are highly scalable, service-agile networks that encourage open platform development with best-in-breed functionality. However, the fact they are virtual means managing them effectively will require new tools and processes that leverage automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence to address their increased complexity and dynamic nature. EXFO brings you the experience and solutions to enable greater network insight.

Network and service topology discovery

The virtual network is an invisible network. It’s a connected set of software functions residing in COTS hardware located in data centers and customer locations. Furthermore, it is an ever-changing network that scales up or down depending on demand and is continuously optimizing itself to address service and network issues. Keeping track of network and service topology has never been an easy task, but in the virtual network, it’s even more challenging.

Many operations functions require detailed knowledge of network and service topologies, and an updated view of the active inventory, to run effectively. Everything from provisioning to troubleshooting requires a real-time view of the state of the network.

Real-time, automated topology mapping provides this critical solution by continually tracing the live topology to track changes as they happen. And for a network that will rely heavily on automation to drive operations efficiency, having an accurate, up-to-date view of the topology and inventory will be critical for activities like fault correlation or capacity reservation.

EXFO has the analytics and topology discovery tools you need to see into the invisible network.

How EXFO helps

Searching for clues to infrastructure failures Real-time network & service mapping: why wait for NFV? Four steps to a higher network IQ!

Orchestrated service assurance

Automation will drive the virtual network. Simply put, manual operations will not be able to address the scale and complexity of virtual networks. A key aspect of automation is consistent, accurate and complete information to drive appropriate decisions, and this information will come from key performance indicators (KPIs) derived from most, if not all services in the virtual network.

Service management, in the virtual network, will be handled by end-to-end, NFV orchestrators, so it only makes sense that service activation testing and service assurance be included in this orchestration function. In this way, assurance becomes an aspect of the service rather than something that is applied afterwards, as an afterthought.

EXFO has the active and passive service testing and assurance solutions needed to give operators the visibility they need to build, operate and manage their virtual networks.

How EXFO Helps

Operationalizing carrier-managed SD-WAN deployments How to Improve QoS and QoE with End-to-End Service Assurance in a Virtualized SDN/NFV Network Deliver superior quality of experience through accurate one-way delay assurance. Beyond CPRI: planning for 5G fronthaul Using real-time 3D analytics to help Canadian CSP meet SLA targets

Network analytics and machine learning

Millions of services, customer-controlled dynamic bandwidth allocation, DevOps driven development, constantly changing networks and service topologies: these are just some of the features that will account for the need for automated operations in virtual networks – automation that will require sophisticated analytics to support it.

Orchestrated service assurance will help provide the KPIs needed by these analytics engines, but leveraging analytics to proactively manage networks and services will also require sophisticated machine learning engines to discover hidden issues and trends in the sea of KPI data. Virtual networks have the potential to generate billions of KPIs per day. And making sense of this volume of data and looking for anomalies or trends is beyond human capability.

EXFO has analytics tools, including real-time topology mapping, to address the ever-changing virtual network and machine learning algorithms. EXFO can enable automated and proactive operations to provide better network insight.

Using real-time 3D analytics to help Canadian CSP meet SLA targets How to Improve QoS and QoE with End-to-End Service Assurance in a Virtualized SDN/NFV Network Leveraging machine learning to eliminate backhaul bottlenecks in 5G networks