NFV as the 5G platform – progress, learnings and call to action
The initial 5G offerings are targeting enhanced Mobile Broadband and Fixed Wireless Access, but looking ahead, a majority of service providers will use 5G to provide additional services for consumers and enterprises on top of increased speeds, which will allow them to charge a premium for 5G over 4G. NFV is a foundational enabler for new services, so in the middle of the 5G roll-out, what have we learnt about the challenges, and what is the service provider call to action now?
NFV challenges and how to address them
Most service providers want to use a multi-vendor environment in their networks using applications, infrastructure software and hardware from different vendors. It is natural to work with several suppliers due to technical and commercial reasons, but this also adds complexity to the network and its operation. This is especially true for integration of products and solutions into the operator environment, lifecycle management and fault management. In addition, automation – where removing errors and being cost efficient are crucial – becomes more challenging to accomplish. To be fully ready for 5G, these challenges need to be solved efficiently and Ericsson does so by focusing on three areas:
- Cloud native application and edge computing support for 5G readiness.
- Openness and end-to-end automation, for example, through a partner VNF certification program and VNF automation program.
- System-verified NFVI solution for faster and smoother deployments.
Making NFV work and being fit for 5G is far from only being about requiring the right technology, deploying it and setting off. Service providers (and vendors) need many new capabilities going forward, covering business, technical and operational aspects. In the business dimension, service providers must be more partnership driven in the new ecosystems emerging for edge computing and IoT, for example. In the technical area, SD-WAN for fixed and mobile will be increasingly important to connect a vast number of sites across wide geographical areas, and in operations, software pipelines using CI/CD is a key capability. But there is a lot more than these examples, obviously. Inma Rodriguez, VP Core, Cloud and OSS for Europe & Latin America gives an update in this webinar summarized below.
One of our offerings for 5G is Ericsson Edge NFVI. This solution is based on our successful system-verified NFVI but optimized to handle distributed workloads requiring high throughput and to inject applications into the mobile network. Edge sites are distributed out in the network topology and there can be 100s and even 1000s of them. With our solution it possible to manage all these sites from a central location to be in full control of infrastructure and services. Ulf Jönsson, Head of NFVI Portfolio Strategy Management, presents an overview of what this solution is all about – drivers, key features and values for service providers.
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