Network Function Virtualization Research Group NFVRG


Network Function Virtualization (NFV) is a key emerging area for network operators, hardware and software vendors, cloud service providers, and in general network practitioners and researchers. This area requires exploring new directions and working collaboratively on how to create network services that utilize a virtualized infrastructure. Network functions that are traditionally implemented in dedicated hardware appliances will need to be decomposed and executed in software elements running on cloud-based infrastructures. One essential goal of this new approach is to reduce capital and operating expenditures for future deployments for networks and associated services. Another important goal is for the network operators to be able to offer value added cloud services to their customers. Finally, new business models will open for the provision of network services.

The technologies enabling the virtualization of network functions (NFs) are currently in an early stage, and they need researchers to develop new architectures, systems, and software, and to explore trade-offs and possibilities for leveraging virtualized infrastructure to provide support for network functions. The Network Function Virtualization Research Group (NFVRG) will bring together researchers and grow the community around the world in both academia and industry to explore this new research area. Beyond the direct activity through the IRTF collaboration tools it will organize research group meetings and workshops at premier conferences (such as IEEE ICC, IEEE GLOBECOM) and inviting special issues in well-known publications.

The NFVRG will focus on research problems associated with NFV-related topics and on bringing a research community together that can jointly address them, concentrating on problems that relate not just to networking but also to computing and storage aspects in such environments. It is hoped that the outcome of the research will benefit research efforts in other groups within the IRTF (and especially the SDNRG) and standardization activities of IETF WGs (like the ones going in SFC). Specific results can also spawn activities via IRTF & IETF BoF meetings and/or provide useful input to other related efforts in the ETSI NFV ISG or other standards bodies.

Areas of Interest

  • New network architectures based on virtualized network functions (VNFs), including NF building from virtualized components
  • NFV challenges in various cloud architectures (e.g., VNF intra- and inter-cloud mobility)
  • Network and service function chaining: architecture and implementation (e.g., automation of VNF chain building, chaining of VNFs and non-virtual NFs)
  • Autonomous orchestration and optimization
  • Requirements and mechanisms to ensure reliable virtual network functions and services, in particular in what relates to failure characterization and representation
  • New operational models associated with NFV
  • Infrastructure and NF description and programming (languages, APIs, frameworks for combined processing, network and storage programming, policy languages, etc.)
  • Coexistence with non-virtualized infrastructure and services
  • Virtualized network economics and business modeling
  • Security, trust and service verification
  • Performance modeling
  • Real-time big data analytics and data-centric management of virtualized infrastructure
  • New application domains enabled by virtualized infrastructure and services, including use cases across heterogeneous infrastructures (wired, optical, cellular, satellite)
  • End to end and system-wide optimization of compute, storage, network and energy efficiency
  • Exploration of infrastructure and service abstractions enabled by virtualization
  • Real-time and novel monitoring techniques (for performance guarantees, error and anomaly detection, smarter auto-scaling and optimization in general, etc.)

The group will report progress through its wiki and presentations at IETF and IRTF meetings. Relevant information and research developed by the research group will be submitted for publication as Experimental or Informational RFCs.


The NFVRG is chaired by Diego Lopez ( and Ramki Krishnan (


Sarah Banks ( acts as group secretary.

Mailing List

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Web Page

Additional NFVRG information is available at


The NFVRG was chartered on 2015-1-20.