The incoming smart Industry 4.0 envisions fully interconnected scenarios to boost the efficiency, quality and performance of industrial processes. In this context, communication technologies play a pivotal role as the key tool that enables the interconnection among a priori isolated business processes, making the most of them and resulting in more powerful business-level applications and decision-making. In this paper, we present the application of two cutting-edge telecommunication technologies, namely, network function virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN), to the manufacturing industry, showing how these technologies can help improve manufacturing processes. We introduce the SN4I (Smart Networks for Industry) experimental facility, which is an NFV- and SDN-aware communication network that connects the University of the Basque Country with the Aeronautics Advanced Manufacturing Centre. In this regard, NFV provides a flexible way to deploy virtual services, while SDN allows the programming of network elements to interconnect these virtual services by means of virtual links or virtual networks. Both technologies guarantee full data and performance level isolation, ensuring that virtual services running over the same physical hardware or virtual links deployed over the same physical network will never interfere with one another. With the integration of NFV and SDN in manufacturing networks, the design, evaluation and deployment time of services that include computational, storage and networking resources is drastically decreased, facilitating innovation and optimizing network and hardware resource utilization.
Available at: https://doi.org/10.6036/8831