ETSI ISG ENI Chairman, Aria’s Head of Research and ISG ENI Technical manager Outline ETSI ENI’s AI Use Cases, System Architecture and the China Telecom Led Proof of concept at SDN NFV World Congress in The Hague.

Over the last few years, Layer123’s SDN NFV World Congress has emerged as the best place to assess the mood and state of progressive thinking in telecom operations. So it was fitting that this year’s program included a progress report from the Experiential Networked Intelligence (ENI) Industry Specification Group (ISG) team developing a reference model for the use of AI in telecom operations.

ENI SDN NFV Blog



I’d never been to Montreal (or Quebec) until this summer, and I had the double pleasure of visiting Montreal just before my holidays, as well as soon after them. These visits allowed me to get acquainted with Quebecois summer (surprisingly warmer than back home, in Southern Spain), several delicacies (both poutine and the amazing smoked meat, and some really good microbreweries), the crowded Montreal airport (at least on Friday evenings), and the easygoing nature of a city that makes life so smooth and work so productive.

And a productive week it was indeed. It was the first meeting after I was appointed chair of ETSI NFV for a second term, an honor I really appreciate and that I can only respond to by committing to do my best to keep ISG NFV where this extraordinary community has already brought it: at the core of the radical transformation towards the next generation of networks. And the leadership team is strengthened with the re-appointment of Joan Triay (NTT DOCOMO) as chair of the Technical Steering Committee, leaving the technical management of our extensive work program in the best possible hands.

It was also a meeting for consolidating our vision for the future, defining a common view that, with all the natural differences among the diverse organizations contributing to the NFV effort, will guide us in a new two-year term for the ISG. There was an in-depth discussion about the future of the group during one of our much-loved evening sessions, and the goals for the new term were agreed and submitted to the ETSI Director General for approval, just in time to be discussed at the September ETSI Board meeting.Group photo of participants at NFV23The initial phase, in which the basic NFV concepts and the NFV architectural framework were defined, established a firm foundation for the extensive specification work required to enable an open ecosystem for this new technology. Building on this foundation, as well as climbing a very steep learning curve, required the two first terms of the ISG, with the third that is about to be completed, focused on making the NFV promise suitable for real operations, and establishing the baseline for telecommunications and enterprise networks evolution, infrastructure deployment, service development, and management automation in a software-defined networking world.

What is more, the ISG has managed to explore and enhance the consensus mechanisms required to more rapidly define standards by fostering collaboration with SDOs and related initiatives, especially open-source communities. We have facilitated fruitful practical collaboration with these communities, and the industry in general, boosting prospects for interoperability, as demonstrated by the three successful interoperability events held to date. The ETSI NFV community intends to continue consolidating, improving and evolving the NFV foundation specifications as the key enablers of an ecosystem and strengthening the cross-industry collaborative mechanisms which will boost progress and ensure an agile response to the evolving industry needs.



One problem with summer holidays in our industry (or is it a benefit?) is that one tends to let certain things slide and to enjoy more time away from work – whether it be on a formal vacation or just by working a little less than our usual “40 hours” – a very loooong 40 hours – per week. I am certainly guilty of that this summer – and one of the things I am guilty of is not highlighting some really important output from the ETSI MEC ISG. But… as they say… better late than never. So here it goes, but let’s start with background and get to the cool things ETSI MEC produced as we go.

We’ve all heard that “MEC is a 5G technology” although what that means is not exactly clear. In fact, in my very first blog posting, I highlighted that this can lead to some of my (least) favorite “MEC myths”. Here those myths are, re-stated:

  • MEC is a 5G technology, so until I roll-out a 5G network I don’t need to worry about it
  • ETSI MEC will be made irrelevant as soon as 3GPP defines its AF/NEF
  • MEC is only needed before 5G, at which point CUPS (meaning the UPF) replaces it

Side note: yes, the first and third statements are in fact mutually contradicting. But these are myths, they don’t need to be mutually consistent.

Clearly, I disagree with all of these statements, but what is the truth “according to Alex”?



The ZSM interim#1 meeting was hosted by Ericsson on 9-12 July, 2018 at their headquarters in Kista, Sweden, in a meeting room which was named after Hilda, the wife of Ericsson’s founder. The meeting was a good opportunity for the ZSM team to discuss additional scenarios, advance the ZSM architecture work and demonstrate the first ZSM PoC.

ZSM 2018 Interim 1

As described in great-strides-made-by-technical-brainstorming-at-zsm-3, the ZSM architecture supports the separation of management and automation into different areas of concern, i.e. management domains. At the ZSM interim#1 meeting and in follow-up conference calls, agreement was reached on the high-level architecture inside a management domain (depicted in Figure 1 below). Each domain includes functional components (FCs) that perform specific task(s) and expose one or more management services via service interface(s). Some of the services are internal services and can only be consumed by authorized functional components inside the domain. Other services can be exposed and also consumed by authorized functional components outside the domain (including those contained in the E2E service management domain and the digital storefront). The management services within the management domain are assembled into logical groups, such as domain control services, domain orchestration services, domain intelligence services and domain assurance services. The architecture is designed to enable closed-loop automation (connecting assurance and fulfillment processes) where the automated decision-making mechanisms (e.g. self-optimization and automated service assurance) can be bounded by rules and policies.



The ZSM ISG reached a significant milestone, agreeing on the baseline for the ZSM architecture

The third ZSM meeting was hosted by Huawei on June 04-08, 2018, in the fascinating Chinese city of Shenzhen.

The meeting was particularly special because of the intensive and fruitful ad hoc technical brainstorming that took place during the week, enabling thorough consideration of the requirements, architectural principles and design. By the end of the meeting, the ZSM group had agreed on the baseline for a service-based, end-to-end management architecture (depicted in Figure 1 below). The architecture enables automation at scale and allows all operational processes and tasks – delivery, deployment, configuration, assurance, and optimization – to be executed automatically.

The architectural principles and requirements were agreed on with the aim of shaping the architectural baseline and guiding its further development during the standardization process. The architecture is modular, flexible and extensible. It allows deployments that can be adapted to different volumes of managed entities and/or to various scales of the geographic distribution of these entities. Modules can be independently deployed and scaled. The functional components of the architecture will also be designed for failure – so that management services can cope with failure of themselves and of the infrastructure without or only with modest service degradation.

Infrastructure Resources visualised in chart


Figure 1: ZSM Architecture



As I flew to Sophia Antipolis for the twenty second plenary session of the ETSI NFV Industry Specification Group (ISG), I reflected how far we had come since publication of the now famous white paper introducing the NFV concept.

Until that moment in October 2012, the term “Network Function Virtualisation” did not exist, it had emerged from a meeting of the founding group in Paris in the summer of 2012 to distinguish the topic from SDN which by then was gaining momentum. We were all experienced telecommunications R&D leaders who knew that our goals were ambitious and would be highly disruptive to the industry, so we would need to be extraordinarily diligent to bring all the industry players on board, large and small, and with everyone able to be heard and to contribute their energies and expertise.

We chose ETSI to host the effort for many different reasons, but perhaps the most important ones were transparency of governance proven by many years of global standards development, and open membership for small players, especially independent software vendors whom we felt would be important contributors. We have never regretted the decision to come to ETSI who have provided fantastic support, and the rigorously consensus-driven decision-making process has kept us grounded.

leadership-NFV22-2018All of that seemed so long ago and I couldn’t have imagined that along the way I would move to the United States and start a new career in the cable industry while retaining my role as chair of the ETSI NFV Network Operator Council. After a 40+ year R&D career in BT, it was a seamless transition that was as unlikely as it was life changing for me.

Looking back over the past six years, there have been moments of great pride, such as when agreement was reached in a late-night session on the ETSI NFV Architectural Framework, interspersed with moments of doubt as strident voices from the world of software repeatedly criticized our efforts.

As with all things, time is a great leveler, five years on the NFV Architectural Framework has withstood the test of time and is being deployed at scale, and open source groups have begun to realize that the telecommunications networks environment is very different to the enterprise IT environment. Telecommunications networks are critical national infrastructures that underpin global commerce and security and as such demand analytical rigor and auditability that only implementations based on high quality specifications endorsed by the key stakeholders can provide.

Even as we took a page from the open source book and opened our draft specifications for external scrutiny and feedback and continually sought ways to speed up our work. And we founded OPNFV to enable open source groups to collaborate and provide feedback to ETSI NFV.


What is Edge?

2018-05-14 Posted by Alex Reznik, Chair of MEC ISG 4029 Hits

Recently, one of the ETSI staff folks pinged me an e-mail that said, “Someone asked me ‘What is Edge’ and I could not quite reply. Can you help?” Well, come on! The answer is simple. 

Edge is… and this is where I got stuck. Really, the answer depends… well… on who you ask and when or where you ask them. And this, really, is how some blog posts are born.

Let’s start with examples. Amazon seems to have a clear definition of what edge is – just look at Greengrass.

Microsoft more or less agrees with them, ergo Azure IoT Edge  or AzureStack.

So there we are – the definition of the edge. Take your favorite cloud provider, one with the foresight to “extend” their cloud to on-prem deployments either on IoT devices or otherwise and that’s the edge. Well, that is an edge, and, perhaps in the world of Enterprise IT computing it is the prevalent type of edge, but in Telco (i.e. in the world of MEC) it is not – it’s just an edge.



Let’s start at the beginning, as the saying goes; and in the case of this blog that seems to be the question of what the group I work in – ETSI MEC – does, what it produces and how it fits into the overall Edge Computing ecosystem.

Coincidentally, this is related to one of my favorite myths, which goes something like this. “There are soooo many standards, industry bodies and open source groups working on MEC. With all of these organizations competing with each other, it’s not clear which one to choose. I think we need to wait for the dust to settle before doing anything in MEC.

Like most myths, this one has a not-so-small core of truth. It is true that there are quite a few standards, industry bodies and open source groups working on Edge Compute related topics. And, it is certainly true that this has created a certain amount of confusion in the marketplace.



A blog about MEC? Well, as the chair of ETSI’s MEC ISG for a year now, I wondered what was there about MEC that could be said in a blog format; that would be of real interest to the community; that would have some chance of making me the social media superstar of edge computing?

This took some sleeping, but one fine sunny morning in Shanghai (during our very successful 13th plenary), I hit on an idea. One of the privileges of chairing a standards group is that you get to represent that group in various public events. And so, over the past year, I’ve been doing a good amount of public speaking on edge computing in general and MEC specifically. I’ve also been doing quite a bit of “private speaking” of a similar kind, as part of my day job at HPE.

Thinking back over all that speechifying on that fine sunny morning in Shanghai I realized that much of it is spent addressing the MASSIVE CONFUSION that exists around MEC – and that much of what I say is constant across the various venues and audiences. And so… why not use the tools of social media to get the message out and try and dis-spell some of that confusion.



Photo of participants at ZSM2 in HelsinkiThe second meeting of the ETSI Zero touch network and Service Management (ZSM) Industry Specification Group (ISG) was hosted by Nokia at its Båtvik Training Center in Kirkkonummi, Finland, on March 13-15, 2018.

Forty-nine experts participated in the meeting and more than one hundred contributions were submitted and discussed. The meeting started with key notes presented by Lauri Oksanen, VP Research and Technology at Nokia, on “the automation imperative” to transform economy and society and to create time.

Klaus Martiny, the ZSM ISG Chair, continued with his perspective, highlighting the steady growth of the ISG which has seen a 56% increase since the kickoff meeting. Fifty organizations have already joined the group (see the List of Members and Participants), underlining the importance of the ZSM work for future network and service automation. The fact that the ZSM experts come from different backgrounds (e.g. Telco, IT, Enterprise) is a positive development, since the ISG strives to bring these worlds together, utilizing the best that each can offer. However, this may create a slow start, since all the members need to speak a common language.



The NFV community met for the 21st time (NFV#21) from February 26 to March 2, in a familiar setting:

ETSI-snowflakes-NFV21-2018ETSI headquarters in Sophia Antipolis, France.

The flawless organization, the friendly faces greeting us, the countless wonderful coffee machines, everything was normal. What was less familiar: it snowed. On the Cote d’Azur. Twice(!). For a total of approximately 15cm. This is very rare in this region. Apparently, the last time it snowed was during NFV#1, back in January 2013. While we are solving the challenges for NFV, the weather is telling us we can easily deal with another one!

Despite the predictable flight delays resulting from the frigid European weather, the event was well attended by over 80 members of the core team. And it was a busy, productive week.

Work on Release 3 is well under way. There are currently 17 new features being actively developed, along with 15 active work items related to Release 3. In addition, multiple Release 2 deliverables (13 as of now) are being currently propagated to Release 3 (with their corresponding work items). At NFV#21, a third maintenance cycle for Release 2 work items was also approved, so the maintenance work will continue for the first half of 2018. That’s a lot of balls up in the air at the same time, and it’s a remarkable achievement that this highly focused group can pull this off.

The results of the 2nd ETSI NFV Plugtests were center stage at this meeting: the findings were presented to the plenary and discussed within the TST working group who will incorporate the feedback into their documents going forward. Clearly the industry is progressing with more energy compared with just one year ago. The Plugtests results will be summarized in a separate blog post and presented at upcoming conferences.

Two new working group leaders were elected since the last plenary meeting: Julien Maisonneuve (Nokia) and Ulrich Kleber (Huawei). Julien brings extensive leadership experience, while Uli brings new perspectives including valuable open source experience. These roles require a lot of personal commitment and long hours across multiple time zones. We are very grateful to both of them.



Almost every packet on a digital network is part of a "flow", a sequence of packets from the same source to the same destination. These flows are of two types:

  • they either carry a continuous stream of data such as an audio or video signal
  • or transfer information between processes running in computers, as in a TCP session

We can think of the former as "AV" flows and of the latter as "IT" flows. For many applications, AV flows are sensitive to "latency", which is the time between a packet being transmitted by the sender and received at its destination; in a phone call, for example, longer delays make it difficult to have a natural conversation. New applications proposed for 5G, such as those involving augmented or virtual reality, or tactile feedback, will have even more severe requirements. For IT flows, if latency is important at all it will be the average over time that matters, whereas for AV flows it is the delay for the slowest packet.

Current-generation networks were originally designed as IT networks, carrying IT flows, and have had various features added to assist AV flows, which increase complexity but still do not provide the best service for these flows.



With the publication of ETSI GS NFV-SOL005, the specification of the RESTful APIs exposed by an NFV Orchestrator (NFVO) towards operations support systems (OSS), the ETSI NFV Industry Specification Group (ISG) has successfully met its objective to deliver a full set of API specifications enabling an open ecosystem where Virtualized Network Functions (VNFs) will be interoperable with independently developed management and orchestration systems, and where the components of a management and orchestration system are themselves interoperable.

Encouraging interoperability within an open ecosystem was a key objective for ETSI NFV when it was launched in late 2012 by global carriers.

These API specifications are the result of a wide industry consensus. Compliance to them permits a wide range of multi-vendors deployment scenarios. For example, a VNF can be managed by a generic VNF Manager (VNFM) function (stand-alone or combined with an NFVO), an NFVO can consume the services of a VNF-specific VNFM, and the services exposed by an NFVO can be consumed by higher-level service orchestration functions.

Furthermore, the ISG has completed revisions of two previously published API specifications which detail the REST APIs between an NFV Orchestrator (NFVO) and a VNF Manager (VNFM), and between a VNFM and a VNF or its Element Manager, respectively ETSI GS NFV-SOL 003 and ETSI GS NFV-SOL 002, completed in July 2017. Revised versions have been approved in December 2017, the main change being the support of a TLS-based option for controlling API access authorization (as an alternative to the use of OAuth 2.0).



One of the main drivers for the formation of ISG NGP was operators' need to make more efficient use of spectrum. While New Radio allows more bits to be carried, by some estimates half of those bits are unnecessary overhead. NGP is investigating how these overheads can be reduced, while at the same time providing the kind of performance (such as lower latency) that the new services proposed for 5G will need.


ETSI NFV industry adoption survey

2018-02-07 Posted by NFV support 1814 Hits

The ETSI Industry Specification Group on NFV is developing a set of specifications and reports with the goal to enable an open NFV market, where Virtualised Network Functions (VNFs) are interoperable and packaged in a way that is independent of the vendor supplying them or the service provider consuming them, are interoperable with independently developed management systems, and are operable in a manner that is independent from the underlying hardware.

Since its creation the ISG has produced over 60 specifications and reports. It is of paramount importance to the ISG to make sure that the specifications it produces meets the expectations of the industry.

The ISG has created a survey to help understand which of these specifications are the most useful to the industry. Should you wish to participate to this survey, please follow this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NFV_Industry_Adoption



The ETSI NFV Industry Specification Group (ISG) met on 4-8 December 2017 for its twentieth plenary meeting (NFV#20) at ETSI Headquarters in Sophia-Antipolis, France. This time, the breezy and sunny Provence & Cote d’Azur in the spring changed to a rather chilly and icy setting, but nothing that our brave ETSI NFV ISG delegates could not handle perfectly with heated discussions and some extra coffee (or tea).

As reported in previous posts, the NFV ISG has been planning and progressing the set of Release 3 feature reports. The latest interim NFV Announcement report provides an overview of the progress made by the different NFV ISG working groups until and up to NFV#19. At the NFV#20 meeting, a significant step forward was achieved with approval to create the related normative work items. But this meeting wasn’t all about Release 3, as the working groups were also very busy completing the second round of Release 2 maintenance work.

Describing all the great work performed by the working groups and NFV ISG delegates worldwide is not an easy task. The meeting venue was again the perfect setting for many intense interactions and discussions. As Technical Manager, my sincere appreciation and thanks go out to all the delegates for the work achieved as well as the excellent collaboration between the working groups.

Among the many highlights at NFV#20, there was one shadow; NFV#20 was the meeting in which, unfortunately, we said goodbye to Yun Chao Hu (EVE WG Chairman, Huawei), a long-standing NFV contributor from the inception of NFV. Yun Chao has worked exceptionally hard to help our work. An award for Yun Chao’s outstanding work and support to the NFV ISG was delivered by our ISG Chairman, Diego Lopez (Telefonica). We wish to Yun Chao “all the best in your future professional tasks, and hope to see you again in other places”.

Photo of Yun Chao Hu and Diego Lopez at NFV20

Anyway, let us highlight a few relevant achievements from NFV#20.



NFV-19-1smallLast week in Denver, CableLabs hosted over 130 delegates from all over the world to the 19th plenary session of the ETSI NFV Industry Specification Group, the cradle and main playground for the Network Function Virtualization technologies that are bringing radical transformation to the telecommunications industry. With over 300 member companies including 38 global network operators, ETSI NFV is the leading forum developing the foundation international standards for NFV.



This blogpost provides a snapshot report on the progress of ETSI NFV standardization.

Home-of-NFVThe ETSI NFV Industry Specification Group (ISG) has completed an essential step towards enabling an open ecosystem where Virtualised Network Functions (VNFs) will be interoperable with independently developed management and orchestration systems, and where the components of a management and orchestration system are themselves interoperable.




Pierrre-LynchI'm the Vice-Chair of the Testing, Implementation and Open Source (TST) Working Group at the ETSI NFV ISG.

In the test industry for the past 20 years, I have been working at Ixia for the past 11 years, always in the product management team for wireless test products. Most of my experience has been with mobility testing: GSM, UMTS, LTE, etc.

ETSI, through its Center for Testing and Interoperability (CTI) recently held its first ever NFV PlugtestsTM event in January. In addition to the wise decision to hold it in Leganes, Spain, just outside of beautiful and sunny Madrid, I would qualify the event a technical success. I explain why below.