Overcoming the 5G Network Connectivity Challenge
Preparing Your Network for the Transformation
5G promises to change the way we live our lives, with unprecedented services and unparalleled user experience. To facilitate the experience, mobile network operators (MNOs) need to build an underlying connectivity infrastructure that is capable of delivering on demands like massive machine connectivity, ultra-low latency and hyper-flexible bandwidth. Preparing for these changes will require a whole new way of thinking and working for many mobile network operators worldwide.
There’s already significant activity globally by MNOs to develop and commercialise 5G technology. In fact, there are significant trials and pilots going on in almost every major region. We also see major carriers in the US, Europe and Asia all planning initial 5G launches in 2018, based on a 5G NSA architecture. These initial deployments, will be localized to specific geographies and will focus on the radio technology and the associated UEs (user equipment).
While mass implementation is expected in 2020 and beyond, many operators are already beginning to introduce 5G NSA (non-standalone) network solutions using new 5G radio specifications in tandem with a 4G core network. However, providing more sophisticated services based on the concept of network slicing will require a full 5G connectivity fabric and 5G standalone (SA).
These days the majority of 5G discussions revolve around the required changes in the radio network. However, 5G is not just another G, nor is it simply about radio, rather it will change networking as we know it. This is where the 5G connectivity fabric comes in. The 5G connectivity fabric will link the Radio Access technologies, the core processing capabilities, the gateways, and the applications and services.
As opposed to today’s 3G/4G logical hub and spoke architectures, for 5G to truly succeed, the 5G transport network requires a fundamentally different set of architectures. The 5G connectivity fabric will need to extend implementation of self-organised networks in the radio into the connectivity fabric. The fabric will need dynamic intelligence to meet each individual service autonomously, with network resources instantiated across physical and virtual resources when and where required. In effect, creating an assured virtual private dedicated network for each service.
So what are the most critical aspects of the 5G transport network?
And what will be required in terms of slicing, edge computing and the need for openness and interworking?
ECI’s newest white paper will attempt to address each of these aspects properly. This white paper explores in some detail the challenges and possible solutions for 5G network connectivity. In particular, we will be discussing:
- What factors and demands will influence the infrastructure design
- The impact of 5G on connectivity infrastructure and network requirements
- The optional technological solutions and preferred solutions