Key pillars of 5G and its influence in future networks
As I was thinking of writing a blog about Open source networking summit 2018 in Los Angeles, I’ve noticed the keynotes and technical sessions bringing together the forces of networking and cloud more so this year compared to previous years. This also correlates with crucial movement happening in our industry—convergence of telecom networking and cloud.
So, I’ve decided to touch upon some of the key areas of this convergence in this blog, take a stab at 5G network evolution and discuss technologies such as micro services, containers, MEC/Edge cloud that will be shaping the future networks.
Some highlights from the ONS event:
It was quite a busy event with lots of speakers and lots of vistors in the Ericsson booth. Some of the highlights from Ericsson at the event:
It started off on Tuesday March 27th with some tutorials by Ericsson. First I had a tuturial on future networks, talking about 5G and IoT use cases and how that impacts the industry
Then it was followed up by another tutorial on 5G Automation talking about the current situation and challenges.
The Ericsson booth was busy during the whole event with customer visits, here showing for example the Verizon demo tour
Listen to what some of the Ericsson staff are saying about their demos. First is Andrew Fenner talking about the ONAP demo and how it works together with Virtual network functions
And here is Farzad Lak, solution architect at MANA talking about Automation Incident Management
Mats Karlsson, Ericsson and Anil Guntupalli, Verizon had a joint keynote on Thursday March 29th, talking about network & cloud automation, NFV, SDN, Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, containers, kubernetes and the key role these technologies will play in the evolution of 5G networks and overall telecom industry transformation
5G business case:
Before I get in to 5G technologies, let us take a quick look at various possible use cases. 5G as an innovation platform will enable service providers to enter into new markets. This will create new revenue opportunities and business models that will span across all industries. 5G will offer new capabilities including low latency, higher capacity, high band width and low energy requirements for the devices.
I expect more use cases popping up that we never thought of before, will be hosted on future networks. All these capabilities of 5G platform is enabled by many underlying technologies that are described below.
Technologies shaping future networks:
5G is not just about Radio technologies, but also encompasses orchestration, automation, policy, AI/ML, MEC/Edge cloud, micro services, containers and many technologies that are emerging. Orchestration and automation provides the flexibility, network slicing capabilities, agility from service creation, deployment to life cycle management of entire service across hybrid cloud, multi cloud environments and legacy networks covering the brownfield.
Adaptive policy along with AI/ML provides the critical closed loop automation that is needed for service assurance. Automated CI/CD is key for telco cloud and next generation use cases to meet the needs of network slicing for vertical industries.
Advanced incident management using AI/ML is fundamental to tackle the massive amounts of data/alarms/events that will be expected from this complex network. AI/ML is used to efficiently analyze this data to provide key insights and to close the loop.
Benefits with microservices based infrastructure
Distributed Cloud goes beyond NFV and Edge Computing. It combines the best capabilities of
telecom and cloud for applications across multiple sites (central, distributed and edge), which
are managed and orchestrated as one solution. It is an end-to-end solution based on NFV, SDN,
and 3GPP Edge Computing, providing the cloud capabilities anywhere in the networks and
unlock networks as open platforms for telco workloads and new application innovations. Edge computing is a key infrastructure needed to deliver services that require low latency and high bandwidth. Many applications/use cases including AR, VR, CDN, smart manufacturing, transport and health care require workloads moving much closer to end users. These workloads are expected to be deployed and orchestrated in a hybrid cloud environment. 5G network and use cases require flexible architecture. Microservices/containers provide agility, elasticity, efficient utilization of resources and faster time to market. This is especially key for the distributed cloud.
With all key benefits that microservices based architecture brings to the table, it also creates complexity in managing these networks. For example, application’s business logic is broken down to small, individually scalable SW components or containers that are distributed. These individual parts of the application communicate between each other and with other individual parts of the applications across possibly in the same data center or distributed across various cloud environments and thus forming a service mesh.
These service mesh grows bigger and bigger as over all applications and networks grow. Like any other services, service mesh needs to be managed that includes discovery, monitoring, load balancing, failure recovery and access control.
Listen to Sheng-Ann Yu, Head of Solution Line Distributed Cloud, talking about Distributed cloud:
For other Ericsson sessions, please refer to ONS 18 Schedule. Visit us at Open Networking Summit ONS 2018.