A comprehensive guide to Network as a Service (NaaS)

  • NaaS revolutionises digital connectivity by providing a cloud-based, scalable network infrastructure on-demand, allowing applications to dynamically access network services through a simple API, thereby enhancing efficiency and reducing complexity.
  • With many advantages such as flexibility, cost-effectiveness, ease of management, rapid deployment and security, NaaS has a wide range of application scenarios in the enterprise, IoT, edge computing, VPN, cloud networking, cybersecurity and mobile networking.
  • The future of NaaS will leverage AI and ML for smarter network management, extend its reach to edge and mobile networks, and enhance cross-cloud connectivity, security, and personalized service innovation, fostering widespread adoption across diverse industries.

Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) is a cloud service model in which customers rent network services from cloud providers.NaaS allows customers to operate their networks without having to maintain their network infrastructure.

Also read: Exploring 5G advanced network solutions

What is NaaS?

Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) is a cloud-based service model that provides network resources and functions to users through virtualisation technology, supplied as a service.

In short, it is the delivery of the network as a service to the user, who does not need to own the network equipment and infrastructure, but instead uses the network resources on-demand through the cloud service provider to achieve a flexible and scalable network architecture.

NaaS is a new approach to networking. It acts as a bridge between the applications we use and the underlying network, enabling unprecedented levels of communication and orchestration.

Simply put, NaaS allows applications to request the network services they need, when they need them, thus ensuring an optimal experience through dynamic network control.NaaS enables developers to write applications that run across networks and across carriers, all through a simple API (application programming interface).

This evolved architecture improves network efficiency and reduces the complexity of deploying and managing services. Offering a more flexible, scalable and user-centric approach than existing solutions, NaaS heralds a new era of digital connectivity.

Also read: Architects of network connectivity: The role of cloud engineers

Advantages of NaaS

NaaS allows users to quickly scale up or down network resources as needed to adapt to changes in business. Enterprises can dynamically adjust their network resources according to actual demand without having to invest large sums of money in fixed network infrastructure.

Adopting NaaS reduces an organisation’s capital expenditures and operating expenditures. Instead of purchasing expensive network equipment, enterprises pay according to actual usage, saving a lot of money.

NaaS also reduces the cost of network management and maintenance, with the cloud service provider managing and maintaining the network infrastructure.

NaaS leaves it up to the cloud service provider to manage and maintain the network infrastructure, including updates, maintenance and monitoring. This reduces the management burden on organisations, allowing them to focus more resources on their core business while improving network reliability and stability.

NaaS enables rapid deployment of new network services and features without having to wait for lengthy hardware purchases and installations. Enterprises can respond faster to market demands, accelerate business innovation and improve competitiveness.

NaaS providers typically implement stringent security measures, including data encryption, authentication and access control, to protect users’ data and network security. Enterprises can confidently store sensitive data on the NaaS provider’s platform, increasing data security and privacy.


Application scenarios of NaaS

In the enterprise network architecture, NaaS can help enterprises build a flexible and scalable network environment. Enterprises can dynamically adjust network resources according to actual demand to meet the needs of different departments and businesses.

NaaS can also provide secure remote access services to support employees working remotely, improving work efficiency and flexibility.

NaaS can provide connectivity services for IoT (internet of things) devices, enabling communication and data exchange between devices. With NaaS, IoT applications can be deployed and managed more flexibly, enabling intelligent device control and data analysis.

NaaS supports the deployment and operation of edge computing applications. By virtualising network functions on edge nodes, NaaS enables low-latency, high-bandwidth edge network services to meet the needs of edge computing applications.

NaaS can provide secure VPN (virtual private network) services to establish secure network connections between enterprise employees and branch offices. With the VPN service provided by NaaS, enterprises can realise remote office, data transmission and application access between branch offices, guaranteeing data security and privacy.

For cloud computing service providers, NaaS can help them extend the coverage of cloud network services. NaaS can provide users with network connectivity services across geographies and cloud platforms to achieve network interconnection and interoperability in multi-cloud environments.

NaaS can provide network security services, including firewall, intrusion detection, DDoS (distributed denial of service) protection and other functions. By virtualising network security functions in a cloud environment, NaaS can provide users with flexible and customisable security protection services to safeguard network security and stability.

For mobile operators, NaaS can help them provide more flexible and scalable mobile network services. NaaS can provide mobile users with high-speed and stable mobile network connectivity to support the deployment and use of mobile applications.

Future trends of NaaS

The future NaaS will tend to be intelligent. With AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning) technologies, intelligent management and optimisation of network resources can be achieved, improving network performance and efficiency.

NaaS will pay more attention to edge networks and mobile networks. NaaS can provide network connectivity and services for edge devices, support the deployment and operation of edge computing applications, and provide high-speed and stable mobile network connectivity for mobile users.

Future NaaS will support multi-cloud environments, enabling network connectivity and service delivery across cloud platforms. Enterprises can choose the right cloud service provider according to their actual needs to achieve cross-cloud platform resource scheduling and management.

NaaS will enhance security and privacy protection. NaaS providers will implement stricter security measures, including data encryption, authentication and access control, to protect users’ data and network security.

The future of NaaS will focus more on service innovation and personalisation. NaaS providers will continue to introduce new network services and features to meet the changing needs of users and enable personalised network service delivery.

NaaS will be widely used in various industries, including manufacturing, finance and healthcare. NaaS will provide customised network services for different industries to drive digital transformation and business innovation.

The future of NaaS will focus more on open standards and ecosystem building. NaaS providers will work with industry partners to promote standardisation and openness, build a healthy ecosystem, and drive the rapid development and popularisation of NaaS.


Yun Zhao

Yun Zhao is a junior writer at BTW Media. She graduates from the Zhejiang University of Financial and Economics and majors in English. Send tips to s.zhao@btw.media.

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