Subscriber awareness is not a new concept but providing subscriber-level information to every function in a network has been difficult to implement in traditional networks. However, NFV/SDN framework has made it possible to obtain this information more easily. Subscriber awareness in the network layer interconnecting virtual network elements benefits operators by:
- Providing unprecedented visibility into the network across elements interconnected using the SDN fabric
- Enabling delivery of personalized services by leveraging functions in the network
- Improving security and diagnostics by identifying and isolating subscriber flows as needed
To understand these benefits it is essential to look at this in a context of particular use cases. Subscriber awareness for service function chaining (SFC) refers to the ability to associate traffic with a customer while making appropriate, traffic-related networking decisions. SFC has gained a lot of interest due to network virtualization and it addresses networking challenges created when middle-boxes like firewalls, spam filters, DPI elements, etc., are virtualized.
An important example of SFC in operator networks is the Virtual SGi/Gi-LAN use case. SGi/Gi interface connects the mobile packet core and packet data networks (PDN) which are typically implemented on racks in middle-boxes, which can be hard to manage, update and modify. SFC with subscriber awareness creates a programmable Gi-LAN by:
- Dynamically allocating network resources on a per subscriber/user basis
- Automatically provisioning traffic forwarding path through the service chain
- Supporting elasticity of functions
- Providing capabilities, such as load balancing, high availability, and monitoring, eliminate the need for these functions duplicated in each VNF
This session will dive deeper into how OpenDaylight-based SFC is a carrier-grade solution and can provide these benefits to the mobile operators.