The introduction of 5G represents an opportunity for operators to build their networks in a more cost-efficient way. As the cost of delivering bandwidth continues to rise and the revenue generated from those services remains flat or declines, networks need a revamp. That means operators will need to deliver the higher performance of 5G at lower cost points. Much of the cost efficiencies can be gained by embracing cloud native design principles in the 5G Core network and migrating all access traffic, whether mobile or fixed, onto the 5G Core.
Containers are a hot commodity for public cloud operators and enterprises, and the rate of adoption has ramped up over the last couple of years. While most telcos aren’t among the early adopters, container technology and the supporting ecosystem are rapidly evolving to meet carrier-grade requirements. These developments look to be perfectly timed so that telcos can benefit from container technology in their 5G strategies. Indeed, 5G requires a totally new approach to building packet core networks that is essentially mandating it.
As mobile operators contemplate 5G core network strategies, applying cloud native principles to 5G core functions is the best way to achieve network efficiency, flexibility and performance. Indeed, the industry seems to be in violent agreement that cloud native is the way to go. While this is a relatively easy case to make for 5G control plane functions, it’s a more difficult sell for the user plane. At Metaswitch, we think operators can have the benefits of cloud native in the user plane too and not have to rely on specialized hardware for core network switching and routing.
Per the FCC: “On Thursday, July 11, 2019, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai will convene a summit focused on the industry’s implementation of SHAKEN/STIR, a caller ID authentication framework to combat illegal robocalls and caller ID spoofing. Chairman Pai expects major voice service providers to deploy the SHAKEN/STIR framework this year. The summit will showcase the progress that major providers have made toward reaching that goal and provide an opportunity to identify any challenges to implementation and how best to overcome them.”
There is a palpable sense of frustration with Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) these days. After nearly seven years of work on developing NFV across the industry, we’ve seen some significant changes in how communication service providers (CSPs) build networks, deliver services and challenge their existing suppliers. But many are dissatisfied with results that haven’t yet reached the height of NFV’s promised cost savings.
The network edge is generating a lot of excitement in our sector, and for good reason. The edge represents an opportunity to leverage a new kind of cloud environment where a host of new applications can be run that are likely to generate new revenues. It’s a compelling growth story for our industry.
The availability of public cloud stack software could be a boon for CSPs looking for a hybrid cloud model for deploying networking virtual network function (VNF) workloads. In the last six months or so, the market has seen the introduction of Amazon Outposts, Google Anthos and Microsoft Azure.
Public clouds like those of Amazon, Google and Microsoft are tempting options for CSPs to run their virtual network functions (VNFs). But there is a mix of technical and business challenges that are preventing CSPs from leveraging large-scale public clouds. Metaswitch has done a lot of work on getting VNFs to run in the public cloud, so we have a good understanding of these issues for CSPs.
At TelecomTV’s recent DSP Leaders Forum, Metaswitch CTO Martin Taylor discussed some of the challenges that operators face when it comes to building their own telco clouds for running virtual network functions (VNFs). In short, it hasn’t been easy.
In a sign of the times, telcos are starting to talk about finding new ways to collaborate with public cloud providers rather than trying to compete with them directly. Perhaps telcos always knew it would be a struggle to match the scale and functionality of the likes of Amazon, Google or Microsoft. They should have - Metaswitch predicted that the companies should be the best of frenemies when we first introduced our “software telco” concept, all the way back in 2012. But now with the advent of 5G, telcos are feeling extra motivation to find new models for working with public cloud providers, and a hybrid approach may be the most viable option.