Unleashing the potential of premium connectivity: boosting enterprise customer satisfaction and keeping consumers happy
- Monetizing 5G networks was a major topic at MWC 2023, with a focus on optimizing core networks for latency and privacy through distributed user plane function.
- Cloud gaming is seen as a growing opportunity for CSPs to monetize 5G, with emphasis on low latency, high peak rates, and premium connectivity.
- The Ericsson Local Packet Gateway (LPG) was highlighted as a solution for enabling premium connectivity through reduced latency, low latency maintenance during traffic peaks, and data privacy on-site for enterprise and government organizations.
Monetizing 5G networks was one of the hottest topics at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2023, and it's no surprise considering the numerous opportunities it brings for both consumers and enterprise customers. At the Ericsson booth, we made our best efforts to outline how one could reap the benefits of these new opportunities by optimizing the core network to meet the new demands. Specifically, we focused on reducing latency and enhancing privacy through the distribution of the user plane function. Another significant area of discussion at the event was cloud gaming, along with other use cases, and how CSPs can best support enterprise customers. This blog highlights the most discussed use cases and questions.
Living on the edge: use cases
Our discussions primarily revolved around the exciting realm of edge use cases and how they can be made possible through the implementation of 5G Core infrastructure, particularly focusing on Ericsson's Local Packet Gateway (LPG) as a distributed user plane solution. The conversations initially centered on the driving forces behind premium connectivity, subsequently transitioning into an exploration of the technical implications for deploying 5G Core networks. Throughout these discussions, significant emphasis was placed on three key aspects critical for enabling premium connectivity: reducing latency by distributing the user plane, ensuring consistent low latency during traffic peaks through slicing and safeguarding privacy by keeping the data on-site within enterprise or government organizations.
Enable eSport – high performance network for high performance players
When it comes to monetization opportunities, cloud gaming is one of the growing areas of interest for CSPs looking to capitalize on 5G. Several leading service providers have already begun testing different methods to explore the potential of cloud gaming. This is in response to the growing demand for gaming among their customers who seek seamless and uninterrupted gaming experiences, especially in competitive e-sports.
Why are seamless and uninterrupted gaming experiences so important? Well imagine for a moment imagine you are playing dodge ball with your friends in a park, but some of your friends are located in another park on the other side of the city. All of you are wearing AR glasses. You are just about to take down one of your friends when the network glitches, and you drop the ball and lose the game.
To highlight how the edge and Local Packet Gateway ensure that players "don't drop the ball," we showcased an eSport game that enabled visitors at the Ericsson booth in Barcelona to compete in real time against opponents in Madrid. The setup utilized a stand-alone 5G Core solution located in Stockholm, along with a Local Packet Gateway deployed on a single server at the MWC premises in Barcelona. This configuration ensured a seamless gaming experience for players, providing guaranteed premium connectivity with low latency and high peak rates.
For CSPs, Local Packet Gateway is specifically designed to cater to these use cases, ensuring a fast and effortless deployment of a user plane at events like gaming tournaments. Our Local Packet Gateway incorporates management functionality that is optimized for on-premise deployments, further enhancing its suitability for such scenarios.
Cloud gaming on any device, everywhere
However, cloud gaming isn't limited to dedicated players; it caters to all consumers. A visitor at our booth vividly exemplified this when she shared her experience of purchasing a new game for her child. Unfortunately, the game didn't function properly on their existing computer due to its sluggish performance. The game provider's suggested solution was to invest in a new gaming computer..
Furthermore, her daughter expressed a desire to play games in various locations - be it at the summer house, in the car, or even in the forest with her friends.
The visitor then explained how cloud gaming could have provided them with a better alternative “ that was cost efficient and flexibile”.
Overall, a successful gaming offering should include premium connectivity, flexibility in terms of where and on which device to play the game and the ability for users to try out and change games. The 5G cloud gaming gaming (incodeconsulting.com) study confirms that there is a willingness to pay for premium connectivity.
To create such an offering requires the following key components:
(1) Access to cloud gaming repository, (2) compute, and (3) network connectivity with the appropriate bandwidth and latency.
This typically requires collaboration between the CSP, game and cloud provider. In our Mobility Report Business Review edition (ericsson.com) , it was highlighted that more than 35 operators have launched cloud gaming with gaming partners.
The benefits of cloud gaming
Locating the processing to the cloud instead of having the CPU next to the screen
Cloud gaming brings the benefit of locating the processing to the cloud instead of having the central processing unit (CPU) next to the screen. This offloads both footprint and wallet for the consumer. In the example above, the AR device used when playing dodgeball in the park can be made both lighter and at lower cost.
If the game is processed in the cloud, network latency becomes an even more important factor in guaranteeing the user experience. This is necessary to provide a sense of presence and a real-time experience, considering that sensors and processing are located in different places.
For this use case, the CSPs will have to make sure that the network is prepared to deliver the right network characteristics in normal operation, as well as during peak hours. Ericsson’s user plane products are optimized for distributed deployments – cloud-native design and value-added services for traffic optimization, security and data analytics function reduce both footprint and operational costs. Embedded value-added services reduces footprint, minimizes integration points and the number of entities and third-party relations needed to manage.
As many of our booth visitors stated, the main value with integrated value-added services is cost avoidance by reducing the number of vendor relationships.
How can CSPs support enterprise customers in their digitalization journey?
Looking at other use cases, one of the customer deployments that garned a lot of interest was a live remote assistance use case with automatic anomaly detection, where the local packet gateway and application are co-located at a manufacturing site. This setup successfully addresses the customer pain point of timely assistance when something breaks down or requires service at the site. The manufacturing plant has high requirements for personnel cleanliness due to the environment's sensitivity to dirt.
Hence, the time it takes for service staff to enter the plant increases the time to assistance and, consequently, significantly prolongs the time it takes to get the line up and running again. The live remote assistance is supported through the use of AR glasses that are connected to an external service assistant who provides live guidance. The glasses are connected via an on-premise Ericsson Local Packet Gateway to ensure minimum latency, and the application for the glasses is hosted on a cloud server located adjacent to it.
Apart from latency, enterprise customers may have additional requirements, particularly regarding privacy and security aspects. Live deployments have shown the value of co-locating the Ericsson Local Packet Gateway with an application to enhance the local services offered to end-customers in manufacturing and government domains. Co-locating the application with the user plane is critical for certain low latency use cases, such as live remote assistance.
Both the aforementioned cases use a hybrid network setup, leveraging the central network infrastructure and frequencies. This setup allows the CSPs to leverage their infrastructure investments, while ensuring seamless connectivity and access to normal services for end-customers. The Ericsson Local Packet Gateway is prepared for on-premise deployments at enterprise sites, while also being efficiently integrated and managed as a part of the CSPs macro network. This makes our Local Packet Gateway a complement to fully Private Networks setups for enterprises that don't need or require a fully private network. The Ericsson Local Packet Gateway ensures the privacy and security of data as it never leaves the enterprise premises
- When it comes to effectively creating your enterprise offerings, we recommend:Create an inventory where localized deployments are a suitable offering for enterprises
- Expand your network to include localized deployments to address enterprise/venue-specific requirements and needs within the public network
- Enhance the user experience by combining slicing and on-premise deployment
So how many sites do we need?
Some of the MWC visitors also expressed their interest in delving deeper into the number of sites required for edge use cases. To help facilitate these discussions, we showed them a demo tool we had created. This tool is capable of estimating the number of slices needed in a country
based on latency end-to-end (E2E) latency requirements including radio and core.
Figure 2 above illustrates an example from France, where a service coverage of 15ms requires seven regions, while a coverage of 10 ms requires 26 regions. Within each region, it is assumed that the application (e.g., gaming) is co-located with the user plane at the center. The latency limit is reached when a user at the border of a circle communicates with a user plane/application located at the center of the circle. The configuration of the user plane to be deployed in each region depends on the number of subscribers and traffic volumes, and
could be either Ericsson’s single server Local Packet Gateway or the scalable Packet Core Gateway.
Network Slicing is recommend to maintain performance during peak traffic periods. It allows CSPs to reserve resources for time-critical services, thereby avoiding delays and interruptions caused by congestion. To ensure optimal functionality, the 5G Core network should enable network slice selection, traffic steering, URSP and support for multiple slices.
Ericsson Local Packet Gateway
Ericsson Local Packet Gateway (LPG) is Ericsson’s latest product to help service providers to add versatility and flexibility to their network deployments, address the edge segment, as well as hybrid private 5G networks.
LPG has been designed end-to-end, from hardware, infrastructure, application, and lifecycle management, to result in a product that is easy to deploy and easy to manage, to minimize the operational expenses (OPEX), especially when there is a need for numerous locations and deployments.
Don't miss out on cloud gaming and on-premise monetization opportunities - Start your journey now!
In conclusion, monetizing 5G networks has been a key focus in the discussions at MWC 2023. The optimization of core networks for latency and privacy through distributed user plane function has emerged as a crucial aspect. Cloud gaming has been identified as a promising opportunity for CSPs to capitalize on 5G, emphasizing low latency, high peak rates, and premium connectivity. Ericsson's Local Packet Gateway (LPG) has been highlighted as a solution that enables premium connectivity by reducing latency, maintaining low latency during traffic peaks, and ensuring data privacy on-site for enterprise and government organizations. With network slicing, service providers can reserve resources for time-critical services, avoiding congestion-related delays. Enabling network slice selection, traffic steering, URSP, and support for multiple slices in the 5G Core network are essential for optimal performance. Overall, these advancements in 5G technology and offerings open up new possibilities for monetization and improved user experiences.
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