ETSI Announces Network Function Virtualisation Release 3 Standard, 5G Partnership Improvements

New release adds support for network slicing in NFV, management over multi-administrative domains, and multi-site network connectivity, all highlighted by ETSI as of benefit to 5G networks thanks to its partnership with 3GPP.

The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) has announced a new revision of its Network Function Virtualisation (NFV), NFV Release 3, including collaboration with the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) to support the growing number of 5G deployments.

Founded in 2012, the ETSI NFV Industry Specification Group (ISG) is responsible for a standard which aims to decouple service delivery from dedicated hardware, allowing for a white-box approach capable of adapting to multiple roles – ending the single-function approach the Group describes as “tedious to maintain, slow to evolve, and [which] prevent service providers from offering dynamic services.”

As the telecommunications industry begins taking 5G New Radio out of the lab and into the field with commercial launches worldwide, the ETSI NFV ISG has announced a third revision to its network function virtualisation standard – developed, as with the second release, in partnership with the 3GPP.

Key features of NFV Release 3 developed with 5G roll-outs in mind are highlighted by ETSI as: support for network slicing in NFV; management over multi-administrative domains; and multi-site network connectivity. “These features are essential to address the variety of applications expected to run on top of a 5G system,” the organisation says, “whether using distributed resources over multiple sites, centralised, or a combination of both.

“ETSI and 3GPP collaboration has been key throughout the specification work of ETSI NFV Release 2 and 3, to ensure interoperability between management systems – covering upper orchestration and management layers, such as network management or application management,” ETSI’s announcement continues. “The 3GPP-defined management system interacts with ETSI NFV Management and Orchestration (MANO) system to realize the resource management for virtualised Core Network (CN), virtualised Radio Access Network (RAN), and network slicing.

“More specifically, in the NFV Release 3, an external touchpoint between the NFV’s Network Service and network slicing was defined – in which the Network Service becomes a composite element of the 3GPP SA5 network slice subnet construct – enabling market implementations to easily combine the 3GPP SA5 Network Resource Model (NRM) with the ETSI NFV Information Model.”

More information on ETSI NFV Release 3 can be found on the official website.