Harnessing the Power of 5G with Cloud Native Foundation
After taking close to a decade in the making, 5G is finally becoming a reality soon. Although fixed 5G and mobile 5G has already been rolled out by about 40 telecom operators in a few select cities a few years ago, appearance of 5G on a larger scale is expected this year. From multi-Gbps peak rates and massive capacity to ultra-low latency and more uniform user experience, 5G has a potential to transform the lives of people around the world, and is expected to deliver new levels of performance and efficiency.
5G network promises exciting new possibilities for telecommunication service providers. It is capable of significantly increasing the number of devices connecting to the network, and the availability of massive bandwidth and ultra-low latency. To support such a diversity of applications, capacity and scale of network traffic, telecommunication service providers are turning to the adoption of Cloud Datacenter and Edge Cloud innovation for carrier networks. Virtualization (NFVI), cloud- native applications in the form of Network function virtualization (NFV), Software- defined Network (SDN), Multi- Access Edge computing (MEC), containers and micro services are some of the recent technology buzzwords which will have a significant role to play in 5G network infrastructure.
Need for Cloud Native and Software defined infrastructure within 5G network
The Carrier network is already experiencing exponential growth in mobile traffic. Wireless infrastructure and mobile devices are expected to account for a high volume of total IP traffic by 2021. Additionally, the mobile network has also shown substantial growth in IoT(Internet of Things) traffic. So it goes without saying that increased traffic, an increased number of connected devices, higher demands on Edge and Core, and Transport infrastructure adds up to the operational challenges faced by the telecommunication service providers.
Communication service providers have started laying the groundwork for 5G deployment to increase the LTE capacities with multiple solutions. The reason behind the infrastructure upgrade is the scalability of mobile traffic that 5G Core and Edge will have to process shortly. While communication service providers are formulating strategies for delivering 5G services, the vision is to use cloud native and software defined technologies within 5G network.
Technologies in the cloud native environments
To bring innovative 5G customer experience and network slicing, telecommunication service providers need to turn to new technologies. The best bet lies in adopting new technologies within Edge cloud and Edge datacenters. Adopting the below mentioned technologies can enable the telecom data providers to match up to the scale and performance required by 5G network.
Software Defined Network (SDN)
Software Defined Network (SDN) is an architectural framework used to create programmable networks. It is application-aware and exposes the network capabilities through API integration. Decoupling the control plane from the data plane of network devices allows a centralized approach for managing network services. SDN can help extend service virtualization and provisioning into many existing network elements.
SDN is also a key element of 5G that can transform the network into a more effective business enabler by providing fast service provisioning, de-provisioning, and optimal use of underlay transport network.
SDN programmable network can also be implemented to ensure that the end to end connectivity is provisioned efficiently from the mobile user equipment (UE) to the datacenter or Edge services that the users are likely to consume.
Network Function Virtualization (NFV)
5G network requires Network Function Virtualization (NFV) to support each critical element in the network slicing. Network slicing requires specific network services such as firewalling, load balancing, HA proxy, and other security functions. NFV can act as an enabler for SDN by leveraging virtualization and make a transition from a proprietary physical hardware to a virtualized software- only form factor for network services. These software form factors, called Virtual Network Function (VNF), can be scaled up or down quickly based on the requirement.
NFV also supports the provisioning of network slicing services in Edge Datacenters and reduces the latency of these services and load distribution across the datacenters. It is equally essential to have the flexibility to create network services in the 5G core network. Virtualized evolved packet core (vEPC) enables flexibility in network management while maximizing the availability based on network function virtualization.
Containers and Micro service architecture
To enable the next level of flexibility in the carrier networks, communication service providers might have to turn to more recent innovations into the Edge datacenter world. Cloud – native capabilities like Containers and microservices architecture will provide a higher level of abstraction in a multi cloud environment. Container solutions like Dockers and Kubernetes have made it simpler for developers to package their applications, and deploy it on both- premise and public cloud environments. Containers allow applications to be separated from the underlying infrastructure and make them portable.
The approach of microservices architecture, on the other hand, is to break a monolithic application into a collaborating collection of components called microservices. In an application where the database is involved, there might be a microservice responsible for search and backup of the data. The goal behind this architecture is to simplify the application into many components that can be scaled accordingly to facilitate agility.
Hence, to harness the power of 5G the real deal would be to enable Scalable Network Services for 5G. Cloud native applications can be of great help in enabling future-proof telecommunication networks at a critical time when the pace of technology changes is constantly high. As telecommunication service providers are formulating strategies for delivering Edge Datacenters and 5G use cases, they should also consider deploying a cloud native approach to support distributed edge cloud deployments. With the rightly distributed edge cloud platform and Edge datacenter solutions, the telecommunication service providers can effectively deliver compelling, revenue-generating services.
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