Harnessing the Power of 5G with Cloud Native Foundation

Published Date

March 5, 2020


5 minutes

Written By

Balamurali V

5G promises exciting new possibilities for Telecommunication service providers. 5G network will bring a large-scale increase in the number of devices connecting to the network and the availability of massive bandwidth and ultra-low latency. To support the 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 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 experienced exponential growth in mobile traffic. Wireless infrastructure and mobile devices will account for a high volume of total IP traffic by 2021. Also, the mobile network has significant growth in IoT traffic. Increased traffic, an increased number of connected devices, higher demands on Edge, Core and Transport infrastructure leads to more operational challenges to telecommunication service providers.

Communication service providers are 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. By adopting below mentioned technologies they can provide the scale and performance required by 5G services.

Software Defined Network (SDN)

SDN is an architectural framework to create programmable networks. It is application- aware and exposing to 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 a key element of 5G that transform the network into a more effective business enabler. It provides fast service provisioning, de-provisioning, and optimal use of underlay transport network.

SDN programmable network can also be implemented to ensure that end to end connectivity provisioned efficiently from the mobile user equipment (UE) to the datacenter or Edge services that they are likely to consume.

Network Function Virtualization (NFV)

5G network requires Network Function Virtualization to support each critical element in network slicing. Network slicing will require 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 move away from 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.

It is 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. NFV support the provisioning of network slicing services in Edge Datacenters and reduce the latency of these services and load distribution across the datacenters.

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- premise and public cloud environments. Containers allow applications to be separated from the underlying infrastructure and make them portable.

The approach of microservices architecture 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.

Conclusion: - Enable Scalable Network Services for 5G

Cloud native applications can help future-proof telco networks at a critical time when the pace of technology changes is constantly increasing. As Telecommunication service providers are formulating strategies for delivering Edge Datacenters and 5G use cases, they should consider deploying a cloud native approach to support distributed edge cloud deployments. With the right distributed edge cloud platform and Edge datacenter solutions, Telecommunication service providers can effectively deliver compelling, revenue-generating services.

About the Author

Balamurali V

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