If the customised, software-defined networks needed to enable affordable 5G are to be achieved, operators’ architectures must become programmable, open and disaggregated, Ayush Sharma, Head of Programmable Network & Intelligence at Sterlite Technologies Ltd (STL), has said.
Speaking at Mobile World Congress Shanghai, Sharma told delegates that Software Defined Networking (SDN), Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) must be leveraged to improve time-to-market of innovative 5G services and business models. This, in turn, will provide operators with the means to satisfy end-users’ bandwidth-hungry needs and extend 5G networks beyond rural boundaries, bringing affordable access and new opportunities for social-economic growth and development.
“2019 has seen 5G come to fruition, with operators beginning to roll-out commercial networks worldwide,” said Sharma. “But, to understand the full potential of 5G and the use cases it can unlock, such as an immersive broadband and cloud experience, massive machine communications and ultra-low latency applications, a new vision for networking operations is vital.”
As part of this, network architectures must evolve to become programmable, open and disaggregated so they can be integrated with software via programmable and white-box hardware. New relationships between infrastructure owners – public and private networks – must be formed, including new industry alliances, to drive innovation through multiple layers through the use of open specifications and open source code.
The 5G ecosystem must be built differently, leveraging radio networks, the packet core, the cloud edge and the Internet to support high-speed, ubiquitous connectivity. With such a network, operators will be able to excel their technology, automation and delivery models – ensuring faster time-to-market. The ability to control infrastructure assets and overcome latency issues will also enable customer experience to be measured in real-time – ensuring enhanced user experience.
“This approach is already being adopted by global tier-1 mobile providers who are rolling-out 5G and Fibre-to-the-X (FTTx) networks, providing the means to deliver affordable and reliable 5G connectivity to all corners of the world,” concluded Sharma.