Network Virtualization Twin

22 February, 2023

Not only has the number of smart (home) devices been significantly growing worldwide due to the increasing number of available gadgets, we also see an increase of devices per household which leads to further complexity for networks. With that, the need for a fast, robust and easy configurable network exists.

But also corporate LANs are getting more and more complex and expensive due to expensive proprietary hardware and maintenance contracts and the need for skilled IT resources. Both cases show that efficient and virtual solutions for network planning, configuration, and operations are needed

Functionalities of network virtualization

  1. User-friendly, individual setup of network structure
  2. Management of network
  3. Integrated network security

Your expert for questions

Thomas Aichberger - PwC

Thomas Aichberger
Director at Strategy& Austria
Tel: +43 1 51822909

Network Virtualization Twin for Consumers and Corporates

Use Case Consumers

Increasing size and complexity of home networks
Home networks will grow in size as the number and variety of devices is significantly growing, e.g., smart home devices, Network Attached Storage, connected TV and HiFi. With that, home networks become more complex, demanding individual tailoring needs by end users. In addition, increasing bandwidth demand by different services used in parallel, e.g. gaming, video, bears risk for overall decline of network performance.

A virtual network plane allowing for efficient setup and a holistic management across the whole privat home network is the solution for home customers. Examples for possible applications are:

  • Network planning and configuration
  • Data consumption analysis and management
  • Alert mode in case of cyber attacks or any abnormal behavior of the network
  • Temporary remote access
  • Seamless integration of smart devices into network
  • Temporary access for guests to network resources, e.g. printer, TV, HiFi etc.

Use Case Corporate LANs

Expensive hardware and maintenance contracts and highly skilled IT workforce

Corporate LANs consist of proprietary hardware components, forcing vendor lock-in and requiring white-listed pluggables – both leading to expensive investments. Also, expensive maintenance contracts are required for bug fixes, software updates, security patches, repairs and spare part services. In addition, a highly skilled IT workforce is required that needs to be trained, certified and supported to run the network.

Network Virtualization Twins enable affordable and effortless planning, configuration, and operations of all corporate networks, allowing for a tailored setup and a holistic management of network solutions for the whole enterprise. Examples for possible applications are:

  • Seamless integration of smart devices, IoT, home offices, Campus 5G, and digital manufacturing platforms into the network
  • Hybrid cloud and Multi Edge Cloud integration
  • User management / access control
  • Data consumption analysis and traffic management
  • Service oriented network planning, e.g. for video conferencing
  • Cyber security, resilience and business continuity management

Solution: Network Virtualization Twin

The Network Virtualization Twin (NVT) is a replacement of traditional Local Area Networks and an upgrade to Software Defined Networks. The solution consists of a live system, with a physical plane (1) built of Bare Metal Switches and a virtual plane (2) hosting the Network Function Virtualization, the Digital Network Twin (3), a control layer (4), and an application platform (5).

The interaction with the endpoints, e.g. clients, server or IoT devices, is realized through Bare Metal Switches (BMS), which consist of fast forwarding and powerful traffic monitoring, but no routing, analytical or intelligent control function, such as traffic engineering, servers, etc.

The intelligent function of the switches/routers is built using the software of the Network Function Virtualization (NFV).

Digital Network Twin holds multiple software copies of the “live system” to allow testing and simulation of different network configurations, network services, cyber security settings, etc.

The Network Twin Virtualization Controller manages and controls the Digital Network Twin, evaluates tests and simulation results, consolidates requests from the application platform and creates a “single truth” to be downloaded from the Digital Network Twin into the Live System.

Network control and management applications platform houses all apps creating a great UX and offer 3rd parties room for innovation. It is structured into two classes of applications:

  • Process and Function Oriented Apps, such as device configuration, user management, access control, service management, etc.
  • Use Case Oriented Apps, such as “allow temporary access to printer”, “increase bandwidth for CCTV devices on the shopfloor”, “cyber attack alert – switch network to maximum security mode”

“The solution – a digital network twin and a suite of user friendly apps for network configuration and operations in combination with network function virtualization – reduces the complexity of Home Networks, increases the efficiency of Corporate LANs, and significantly improves cyber security for both types of customer premise networks.”

Werner Ballhaus, Head of Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) at PwC Germany
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Contact us

Werner Ballhaus

Werner Ballhaus

Global Leader Entertainment & Media, Partner, PwC Germany

Tel: + 49 211 981-5848

Thomas Aichberger

Thomas Aichberger

Director, New technology services and infrastructure, Strategy& Austria

Tel: +43 1 5182-2909

Jens Niebuhr

Jens Niebuhr

Partner, PwC Germany