In Wipro’s view, CSPs have an opportunity now to get ready for the launch of 5G network and services. Explained below are some of the solutions that can be built while the 5G NR in SA (Standalone) or NSA (Non-Standalone) mode is being inducted.
There are a lot of dependencies on the transport network for the launch of 5G. While backhaul and aggregation bandwidth need to be augmented using fiber or millimeter wave radio technologies, there are other areas of interventions required. All-IP transport network, migration to IPv6, software-defined network at the transport layer, optical + IP convergence etc., are some of the requirements to be implemented.
Some of the interventions are:
- Bringing in VNFs for core network components like voice platforms, EPC, PCRF etc.
- Building a converged NFV infrastructure
- Orchestration platforms for cloud, SDN and NFV
- High performance network analytics to support data from high device density
- Adoption of cognitive automation (AI/ML)
- Zero-touch network operations
Mobile Edge Computing (MEC)
To take advantage of the low latency and high performance offered by 5G Radio technology, network operators can bring in edge computing solutions. Building micro datacenters in the RAN or Cloud-RAN site and enabling edge computing with local breakout will enhance content and applications performance even in high device density scenarios. An appropriate content caching, distribution and delivery solution is required in addition to the MEC setup. Similarly, an appropriate solution for distributing, hosting and managing customer applications is needed as well.
IT Support systems
There are many areas of improvement in IT systems. High-speed real-time data rating and charging is just the beginning. Owing to the large number of applications and services expected to be launched over the 5G network, a scalable product catalog and a robust order management system are required as well. Among other things, the following are required:
- An adaptive and active inventory management system which uses a unified data model, federation of inventory databases, real-time reflection of operational network, and one that supports both physical and virtual network devices.
- A complete digital assurance solution which runs on top of a high-performance real-time network analytics platform, supporting network, service and customer assurance.
- A hybrid network management solution that supports both legacy and new-age network elements and abstracts the network using common data models and works with SDN-O using standard configuration protocols.
An end-to-end security solution is needed beyond information security, which covers the security of the network all the way up to the network edge. This is because the entire network is now on TCP/IP and creates new avenues for vulnerability. In addition, the security perimeter has to extend all the way to the customer network as applications like IoT and cloud interact and create additional vulnerability with the provider network.
5G network RoI is highly dependent on new ways of network modernization. This is possible only by extending the reach and offering services from the partner ecosystem. It is also imperative that the CSP exchanges information about various configuration parameters, network slicing and performance data with the partner, to enable zero-touch. To onboard new partners, exchange information and offer services from/to them, a suitable partner management and a good B2C/B2B/B2B2C marketplace is also essential for 5G readiness.
In conclusion, in the run-up to 5G, CSPs have to prepare themselves with many technological interventions, both big and small, while planning for large-scale deployment of the 5G NR SA or NSA network. It would be a good idea for CSPs to have a coordinated and well-orchestrated plan to manage all the readiness programs, which could cut across multiple departments and suppliers.