As Principal Analyst of Transport and Routing Infrastructure, Glen analyzes technology, product, and partnership initiatives of vendors who supply carrier infrastructure equipment. Specifically, focusing on vendors that produce core routers, edge switching, optical transport, data center interconnection, mobile backhaul, network management and operational support systems.
Automated network service provisioning (via SDN technologies) is an established industry norm; however, dealing with service quality assurance requires advanced capabilities such as real-time network visualization, multi-factor path computation, and the ability to dynamically handle high-scale network variations.
Service assurance benefits include optimization of network resources, increased revenue potential, and reduced operational costs, among others; achieving these objectives can yield significant operational efficiency and improved quality of experience for end users.
Operators continue to invest and scale their IP and transport networks to meet growing capacity and new use cases demands, and the need to expand automated network management beyond network element and service provisioning, as well as begin to address service assurance, has become a top priority. Experience has shown that today’s highly complex and dynamic networks rely on automation as the key to successfully delivering high-quality services. In the two most recent networking conferences (i.e., MWC 22 and MPLS SD & AI Net World), network automation demonstrations and proof of concept (PoC) presentations by vendors and network operators alike were front and center and show promise when addressing service quality assurance.
Orchestration of IP infrastructure resources will become mainstream, replacing fragmented element and network management solutions to reduce complexity and operational cost.
5G private network initiatives will go global as operators position to capture lucrative new 5G network opportunities and address the needs of multiple vertical markets.
Resource Orchestration Matures
5G services and applications are driving more routed IP traffic into the network, with the traditional role of switched Layer 2 Ethernet traffic being sidelined and replaced by more dynamic routed IP flows. This is prevalent in the mobile transport and business Ethernet services domains, which were the last frontier that could claim a cost and simplicity advantage by remaining at Layer 2. The maturation of SDN, which supports a centralized control plane and distributed data plane, has been augmented with simplified routing protocols such as segment routing and Ethernet VPN (EVPN), which minimize the need for complex node-based management and control intelligence. It is painfully clear that the telco infrastructure must be fully automated in order to avoid being crushed by its own weight. Continue reading “2021 Predictions: Three Things to Watch in the CSP Transport & Routing Sector This Year”→
• Telefonica Germany / O2 plans to build its 5G core network in the AWS public cloud, along with a host of 5G network functions to support Industrial Internet applications, beginning in 2021.
• The announcement raises intriguing questions about the future role that AWS and other public cloud platforms may be carving out in telecommunications infrastructure, and who will ultimately succeed in helping operators manage – and profit from – 5G network deployments.
COVID-19 Drives Network Imperatives: The pandemic has created a need for new and innovative contactless business applications to support a remote workforce and clients. Vendor solutions can ease the impact of COVID-19 by delivering on the following:
– 5G Business-to-Business: Support multiple new service types and provide flexible business-to-business applications which leverage automation, multi-service, and deterministic network services.
– Automation + Carrier-Grade Connectivity: Network solutions must guarantee ‘anytime, anywhere’ connectivity, with operational simplicity through solutions that automate services, freeing them from manual processes.
– Full Service Lifecycle: Deliver a diverse range of services capabilities with SLA assurance for multiple technologies, over a sliced network infrastructure supported for the full service lifecycle.
Vendor Solutions Are Here: Although part of the 5G vision from the beginning, the COVID-19 pandemic has motivated vendors to combine technologies along with business needs to deliver integrated solutions to the market.
Establishing 5G Network Priorities: 5G business-to-business solutions require agility, scale, and new service delivery and management capabilities. 5G requires a distributed architecture to bring dramatic improvements to performance, uptime, resiliency, and the ability to support innovative new business services. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a need for an end-to-end solution that can minimize people-people interactions and automate network functions for efficiency and time to market. Continue reading “Predictive 5G Networks – A Key to Business-to-Business Success”→
• ZTE and China Telecom rapidly constructed a wireless network to transmit large images (CT scans), perform remote diagnoses and remotely connect medical professionals over a 5G network.
• The project establishes a model that could be used at other “pop-up” and established hospitals to combat COVID-19 and future viruses and help protect health care workers.
The telecom industry has hyped 5G technologies as the “be all and end all” for our networks moving forward (although 6G is now being incubated in board rooms across the globe). But, just how much of 5G is ready for prime time deployments? The COVID-19 global pandemic has resulted in a sudden and widespread explosion in the need to support millions of workers and students videoconferencing simultaneously from home, and has created an acute need to deal with ballooning medical services.
The rapid spread of COVID-19 has not given the industry or the world any time to debate and test a blueprint for how to move forward; but we have seen examples in which 5G can help. When faced with the need to react “yesterday”, adding tried-and-true technologies like fiber to deliver much needed bandwidth require significant manpower, equipment, and most importantly time – all currently in short supply. Thus, demand is likely to increase deeply for wireless network solutions to address needs of telemedicine and other critical services needed to help cope with the current crisis – and quickly set the foundational elements for moving forward to address future crises post COVID-19. Continue reading “COVID-19: 5G-Connected Hospital and Wireless Network in Ten Days”→
The 5G Core Is Needed for Digital Transformation: The 5G core (5GC) is significantly different than its predecessor (4G/LTE); it is a service-based architecture designed to deliver on multiple new and emerging service types and support flexible new business models.
Connectivity & Computing Are Key Pillars: A robust business enablement platform, based on multi-access edge computing (MEC), is needed and must support guaranteed anytime, anywhere connectivity with ‘plug & play’ simplicity.
The Telco Cloud Completes the Business Model: Creating an agile telco cloud supports new innovative business opportunities and enables the creation and rapid turn-up of new services. The combination of telco cloud, 5G core, and MEC supports the goals of 5G.
The Importance of the 5G Core: The transition to 5G has many moving parts and requires the full transformation of the mobile core infrastructure to embrace agility, scale, and new service delivery capabilities. Over time, 5G requires the convergence of traditional network and application environments. Naturally, 5G requires a more distributed architecture (including the core and edge) to bring dramatic improvements to performance, uptime, resiliency, and the ability to support innovative new services. As the ‘control center’ for the 5G network, the core must support all generations of mobile and fixed services, adopt relevant standards, and support open source innovations that improve interoperability and speed innovation. The 5GC uses a service-based architecture (SBA) that has evolved as part of ongoing 3GPP standards initiatives and leverages a common repository and a separation between the control and user planes in order to support distributed deployment modes. The 5G core is based on cloud-native technology, which is used to develop containerized applications deployed as microservices. The lifecycle is managed via DevOps processes supporting continuous innovation (CI), continuous deployment (CD), and hitless upgrade and testing (A/B test) of new services. The 5GC will also be expected to operate in a converged mode, where all generations of mobile traffic are supported (2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G) as a unified network. Continue reading “5G Promises Great Things – But Only with a Robust 5G Core Ecosystem”→
• Converged core software solutions promise to support all generations of network traffic, reduce complexity, and deliver operational efficiency by leveraging automation and network intelligence.
• Hardware and software acceleration can dramatically improve server performance by offloading data plane traffic from servers, enabling them to focus on computation and storage functions; and open source software contributions can add consistency and optimize software processes.
• A robust ecosystem is driving 5G deployments to support enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) and fixed wireless access (FWA) use cases, which sets the stage for sophisticated 5G applications requiring low latency and high reliability.
• The 5G device ecosystem is being driven by timely investment in new chipsets and terminals to support new services and drive opportunities – the 5G device ecosystem includes multiple form factors and end user devices, which are ready or near ready for commercial deployment.
The Well Developed 5G Device Ecosystem, Simplifies and Accelerates Deployment:
There is a clear correlation between the maturity of the device ecosystem and the time it takes for the market to deliver on the goals and business objectives. For example, the 3rd generation (3G) buildout, required five years to build a sufficient supply of affordable devices, and the 4th generation (4G) buildout, required just two years. The availability of 5G devices now, enables the market to mature in concert with the underlying infrastructure buildout. Continue reading “The Vibrant 5G Ecosystem is Shortening Adoption Cycles to Two Years”→
• Segment Routing Deployed in a Backbone Network: Cisco and China Unicom collaboration, a two year endeavor, enables the operator’s nationwide MPLS VPN network to support on-demand services. Cisco notes that this represents China’s first Segment Routing (SR) deployment and leverages its SDN technologies to provide an end-to-end solution. SR also helps mitigate the use of more complicated IP protocols (like RSVP-TE), which is a big advantage and leverages the power of SDN’s centralized management model. .
• Advanced Vendor Services Accelerated Delivery: Cisco’s Advanced Services teams provided full life cycle support and coordination with China Unicom and third-party suppliers, and tackled SDN, NFV, cloud computing, ultra-broadband networking, and related technology issues for the operator. The use of vendor supplied services has always been part of the “vendor – operator” model, but virtualized technologies pose additional time-to-market issues such as mastering new technologies and dealing with the complexity of integrating multiple components.
The announcement by Cisco and China Unicom represents a tangible example of how current infrastructure networks can be transformed to deliver flexible cloud-based services by exploiting new routing and networking techniques, such as segment routing which aligns well with centralized management and control (i.e., SDN) paradigms. What makes the solution significant is the combination of multiple technologies, SR, SDN controllers, service orchestration, and the ability to quickly compute optimal traffic paths through an IP network using a path computation engine (PCE). Individual components on their own cannot deliver the resultant end-to-end solution, which supports China Unicom’s ability to offer a range of named cloud-based services (Cloud Network Connection, Cloud Networking, Cloud Broadband, Unicom Cloud Shield, Intelligent Boutique Video Network, and Boutique Financial Network) which it noted in a joint press release with Cisco. Continue reading “China Unicom and Cisco Collaborate to Deliver Cloud + Network Capabilities”→