Cloud operator needs 5G wireless networks, other drivers of success

All of the wonderful software-based efforts that we hear about clearly need something for software to work: an efficient, software-centric, hardware-based cloud setup, which we call the cloud operator. Almost anything on carrier transformation goal lists can be done with carrier cloud, but the big question really is how carrier cloud will be deployed in the first place.

We have transition strategies for 5G wireless integrated current wireless deployments, but there is currently no significant operator cloud deployment. So how will carriers achieve this and what infrastructure should they operate? The answer is that 5G can play a role, and that role could accelerate the global software-based cloud transformation. While 5G may be the primary driver, other short-term drivers can help get the job done.

The virtual network model that is evolving today is totally different from the device and trunk model we have today. A rich fiber transport layer connects data centers which can host not only network layer – IP and Ethernet – functionalities, but also other characteristics, functions and even applications. Virtual junctions can be threaded through the fiber layer to create many different topologies even at the same time. And cases of virtual network functions and features can be expanded to adapt to changes in traffic. This is the vision of the carrier cloud.

One of the reasons the cloud operator plays a role in 5G deployment stories so often is that 5G networks are designed to be segmented into layers of parallel services, also known as network slicing. Each slice acts almost like an independent network, with its own elements of subscriber and traffic management; however, some slices can share components, if necessary. Obviously, moving switches, routers, and mobile devices to accommodate the creation of ad hoc network slices is impractical, so a full 5G implementation requires an extended virtual network. Without a cloud operator, you cannot access full 5G.

The big question has not been whether 5G requires the use of the cloud operator, but whether it can justify it. 5G calls for a new radio network – 5G NR – new handsets and new infrastructure. In an age of highly competitive wireless and unlimited use, it is unknown whether 5G will somehow generate new customers. Otherwise, it can’t generate a lot of additional revenue and it can’t help build a cloud for operators.

Streaming, competition can boost the operator cloud

Without a cloud operator, you cannot access full 5G.

Besides 5G, there are two short-term cloud drivers to consider. The first is video streaming. While many have proposed the Internet of Things to justify the explosion in the need for 5G, the fact is IoT does not currently rely on cellular service at all, and may never be. The main benefit of 5G today is primarily its ability to support more high-speed wireless traffic, and the most credible source of this traffic is video streaming.

For a decade now, mobile video consumption has increased rapidly, demanding higher capacity connections for mobile users. This imposes the total capacity of 4G cells and, therefore, encourages operators to look for ways to get more bandwidth per cell, as well as more bandwidth per user. The past growth of mobile video may be pale compared to future growth rates, as watching live or real-time programming grows even faster than streaming in general. Live video, especially sporting events, generates multiple synchronized viewing requirements that can easily overwhelm today’s mobile networks.

The live broadcast of TV programs is also affecting wired video, where most of the operators that provide traditional TV services are feeling the effects of Cut the rope and switch to streaming over wired broadband at home. The increased need for wired bandwidth is prompting operators to explore the combination of 5G millimeter wave radio and fiber to the node to serve urban and suburban neighborhoods instead of fiber to the home or ADSL. Some operators even believe that a form of 5G technology, called consumer fixed wireless broadband, could enable residential broadband competition without extensive copper or fiber, opening up new competitive opportunities outside their home regions.

Live video streaming requires extremely efficient content caching to reduce the impact on wireless link and metro infrastructure. Live streaming offers operators the opportunity to improve ad targeting and ad revenue generation, but only if ad selection and insertion can be managed effectively. Early users of the live streaming service said that ads were often launched late in the insert window or even missed completely, and ads suffered from buffering interruptions more often than TV shows.

The second driver of 5G in the carrier cloud is the competitive climate in the telecommunications industry. To be considered market leaders, operators are forced to adopt 5G. But in addition, operators are turning more to mobile virtual network operator agreements with other network and cable operators, handset operators like Apple and even cloud companies like Google – which already offers a service. MVNO – Amazon and Microsoft. Mergers and acquisitions in the mobile space make MVNO transactions more important for players who want to own mobile users.

Network slicing is a 5G feature which not only facilitates independent MVNO transactions, but also provides a way to separate home or mobile video streaming from emerging real-time applications such as IoT. In fact, some operators believe that growing interest in MVNO partners would prompt them to deploy virtual mobile elements in the operator’s cloud even before the full 5G Core specifications that include network slicing are adopted. Could mean carrier cloud would be useful even in 5G-over-4G non-autonomous deployments (NSA) – which means using the new 5G radio without the new 5G core – is already seeing engagement from early adopters.

How wireless 5G can meet certain technological missions

5G, political connotation of the operator’s cloud

The final relationship between 5G and the cloud operator is political. Operators have budgeted for 5G to a greater extent than for other transformative technologies, such as software defined network Where network functions virtualization. It’s easier to introduce new technology where funding is already approved than to create new projects and then try to get them.

Most operators believe the cloud operator is essential for the transformation, which is the shift of operators from a pure connectivity service business model to one that includes hosting experiences in a way normally offered by on top suppliers. While 5G alone cannot drive the carrier cloud, it can be combined with other pilots to do just that and support the ultimate goals of transformation.

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