Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)
Forthcoming networks will need to accommodate a large variety of services over a common shared infrastructure. To achieve the necessary flexibility and cost savings, these networks will need to leverage two promising technologies: Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC). While the benefits of NFV and MEC have been largely studied as independent domains, the benefits of an harmonized system comprising these two technologies remains largely unexplored. In this article we first identify a set of reference use cases that would benefit from a joint use of MEC and NFV. Then, we analyze the current state-of-the-art on MEC and NFV integration and we identify several issues that prevent a seamless integration. Next, we consider a reference use case, namely Edge Robotics, to exemplify and characterize these issues in terms of the overall service life cycle: from the initial development, to deployment and termination.